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How to Stay Happy While Pursuing Your Dreams

advice anxiety blog depression dreams goals growth habits happy how to how to stay happy life mental health mindset motivation self help Oct 01, 2022

Our dreams are beautiful.

They are gifts given to us in life to fulfill our purpose and achieve our highest level of joy. Life gave us these dreams, and we give back by bringing them to life.

However, many lose their enthusiasm for their desires in pursuing the goal, feeling like a slave to their vision. What once filled us with electric eagerness has now turned into a dreaded chore. This experience makes the voyage to our destination painful and exhausting.

The trick is to reframe the process.


The Journey

The journey — the process — has to be enjoyable.

The majority of your life is on the journey.

You can’t live for crossing the finish line. That only lasts a second, and then poof! It’s gone.

You spend all that time — potentially years — training, studying, sweating, and preparing for one moment, feeling dissatisfied until you get it.

Most discover that achieving the “thing” didn’t bring them the joy they sought.

That’s because you’ve unintentionally practiced a habit of being unfulfilled. You have rehearsed “getting to the goal” so much that you don’t know how to enjoy the now.

You think the goal will bring bliss, but it won’t. It brings a temporary, fleeting satisfaction that quickly dissipates after completion.

The moral of the story is this: You have to learn to be happy on the way.

 “A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people don’t allow the happy moment, because they’re so busy trying to get a happy life.”

— Abraham Hicks

How to apply it:

Practice gratitude more.

Keep a gratitude journal next to your bed. Right before you sleep, write down five things you’re grateful for and why you’re thankful for them.

This exercise was a game-changer for me. It helped me not take my days for granted and kept my impatience from getting the best of me.

It changed my inner dialogue from agitation to appreciation for whatever happened to me that day.

Keep the Goal but Reevaluate the Method

When we want something with a burning desire, and it isn’t backed by the faith that we can achieve it, it can be a living hell.

Many wind up either lowering their targets or giving up altogether. Both choices are mistakes.

Never lower your target or give up on your dream. Go back to the drawing board and change your approach.

If pursuing your dream feels heavy and fills you with dread, you may need to reevaluate your process.

Before doing that, though, change your mindset from the start. Recognize that results don’t come overnight, and this will take dedication and time.

You will accept in the beginning that success isn’t linear, and it’s not a straight ascension to the top. Instead, it’s up and down.

Knowing this at the start can prepare you to be flexible. You will try, alter, test, polish, and refine your process hundreds, if not thousands, of times.

In this case, you need to look at your work ethic. Not only how much you’re working but how you’re working.

How to apply it:

Change your mindset from the beginning.

Reframe how you look at your journey. When you adopt the mindset that this will take time and dedication, setbacks won’t destroy your disposition or progress.

Remember the Tony Robbins quote:

"Life happens for you, not to you."

When you can remember, during the trials and tribulations, that they are happening for you and your growth, you can embrace them and move forward.

Frustration Is Your Friend

Maybe you’ve been doing the same method too long. Frustration can set in from not seeing any progress. Perhaps the agitation tells you that you may need to alter the approach.

It’s possible that you also think you’re working hard, but in reality, you’re only thinking about it a lot and not taking enough action.

I was a pro at thinking about my dreams so much that I burned off all of my fuel. I felt exhausted, even though I hadn’t taken any physical action.

A good rule of thumb is to ask the question:

“Is what I’m doing effective?”

And then, look at your actions and results objectively. Answer the question honestly, then adjust accordingly.

This process is a healthier way to look at your efforts. It’s making peace with the fact that what you want is possible. It’s just going to take a bit of time.

If you conclude that you’re thinking too much and not taking enough action, then you must change.

Overthinking can cause a chain reaction of thinking about all things. Specifically, the negative and how your dream is still out of reach.

This way of thinking makes our minds wander off course, and we waste precious moments — time we will never get back.

How to apply it:

Frustration is a signal.

It’s telling you that you are focused on the result too much. If you’re focused on the outcome, you aren’t putting your work in right now.

If you were working as hard as you claim, then you wouldn’t be complaining at all. You’d be working.

Take a breath, and just get back to work.

Life Happens Right Now

Overthinking can be counterproductive and, at times, damaging.

Taking action yields the motivation to keep doing. Thinking, especially about what’s lacking, can spawn worry.

Worrying about the future creates anxiety, just as recalling the past can invite potential regret.

True happiness comes from doing our best to be present and being fully here at this moment.

As a performer, I’ve learned the best actors go moment to moment. If they are not present, their performance feels forced and not genuine. Being in the moment allows them to listen and then react accordingly. If they are on autopilot, it’s fake. If they anticipate or telegraph the other character’s dialogue, it feels generated and diminishes the value.

What a beautiful lesson we can apply to our lives: Live moment to moment, doing our best not to anticipate the future or relive the past.

The past has passed. It’s over, and it’s never coming back. Make peace with what has happened, learn the lessons, and come back right now.

Living and being in the now will pave the way to a happy future. Please, stop making worrying a habit because the future we create comes from our repetitive actions. Like the worrying, you might be doing right now.

How to apply it:

All of our power to create the future we desire is now. Now is all we have.

What are you going to do with it?

Will you continue you worry about what hasn’t happened yet? Or, will you start to shift your inner dialogue to the present moment?

You can’t expect to live a positive life or achieve positive results with a negative mindset. Worrying will fill you with nothing but negativity and rob you of your time.

Shift your thinking back to now, and choose a different thought.


Final Thoughts

The journey for your dreams is, in itself, a gift.

It isn’t life or the universe being against you. You aren’t cursed, and you certainly don’t need to sell your soul or have a lucky rabbit’s foot.

You only need to remember and practice these four steps more often:

  • Exercise gratitude
  • Reframe your journey by changing your mindset
  • Frustration is a signal and not who you are
  • Trade worry for positivity

Life happens on the journey. Enjoy it as much as you can.


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