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Appreciation Adjustment: Stop Deferring Happiness

Many of us suffer from the “I’ll be happy when …” syndrome. When I get over my divorce, lose weight, get a better job, finally meet my soul mate, retire—whatever it is, it stands in the way of being happy right now. But it doesn’t have to.

If you’re constantly deferring your happiness until your life looks a certain way, you are playing a risky game with yourself. We are only guaranteed this moment. Fortunately, your happiness is less dependent on a new future state of affairs than on your ability to appreciate today.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t go for your dreams. You most certainly should. But, if you learn to focus on the joy and meaning that can be found in what’s already here now, you will enjoy all the stops on the road to accomplishing your goals.

A good first step is to actively become aware of all that is already joyful and meaningful in your life right now. You can start a simple practice of reflecting on your day and noting what you liked about it. At the end of the day, choose one or more of these questions to ponder:

  • What worked out well today?
  • What did I learn about myself today?
  • In what ways did I enjoy using my gifts and talents today?
  • What experiences did I find fun, inspiring, interesting and/or satisfying today?
  • Who did I like connecting with today?
  • How was I of service today?
  • What challenges did I overcome today?
  • In what ways was I loving and kind to myself today?
  • What can I make sure I do tomorrow that will bring me joy?

These questions have the power to change the way you perceive your reality right now. You will start to focus more on the beauty of everyday events than on what’s lacking. The answers may not be grand. A hug from a child, an opportunity to help someone out, a job well done or a belly laugh with a friend—with focused attention and intent, these small daily experiences can provide epic joy which is cumulative.

The goal is to appreciate your present even if you’re also working to change your future.

Deb Purdy, is a transformation coach, speaker, workshop leader and author of
Something Gained: 7 Shifts to Be Stronger, Smarter and Happier After Divorce.

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