One of the most, if not the most, important aspects of being happy is following your dreams. Everyone has things they want in life, goals they hope to achieve, secret desires they hide from others and possibly even from themselves.
What are yours? Do you know? Don’t write the question off as silly or immature. “Only kids have dreams. I’m an adult. I have responsibilities, bills to pay, people to care for…” Yes, and? You also have hopes and dreams. Everyone does. They aren’t silly, either. They’re what your heart and soul really want.
Psychologists who study happiness have conducted many end-of-life surveys with elderly people in nursing homes and terminally ill younger people. The happiest among them are all the ones who went after what they wanted from life, who actively pursued their goals and chased down their dreams.
What about the less happy? What’s their biggest regret? It’s rarely something they actually did; rather, the biggest regrets most people have at the end of their lives are the things they didn’t do -the dreams they let fall by the wayside, the goals they didn’t pursue, the lives they could have lived but didn’t.
You don’t want to be one of these latter people. You want to live a happy life, not reach old-age full of regrets and might-have-beens. So, what are your dreams? What do you want from life?
Take out a sheet of paper and an ink pen. If you’re sure what your dreams are, that’s great. Write them down. If not, it’s time for a brainstorming session. What would you do with your life if time and money were no obstacle? If you could do anything -anything at all -what would it be?
Don’t censor yourself. It doesn’t matter how silly or ridiculous it sounds. Write it all down. Be honest -don’t write “buy a nice house and a fast car” if that’s not what you want deep down. Write what you want, not what society expects you to want!
If you’re still having trouble with this, think back to the little kid you once were. What did that child want, back when there were no limits, and the world was full of possibility? Write those things down. Again, don’t judge or censor.
This activity might take you just a few minutes, or you might have to come back to it over several days. But when it’s done, you’re going to have a good starting point for what you want from life. Your next step will be converting those dreams into goals.