How to handle your past, present and future for a happier you

When I think of the past, present and future, three things (or movies I should say) immediately come to my mind: The Lion king, Groundhog Day and A Christmas Carol. Random yes, but very significant. The Lion King tells the story about a young lion named Simba who has a painful past who learns to accept it. In Groundhog day there is a man who is stuck living the same day on a loop needing to re examine his life and priorities.  Lastly there is a Christmas Story, which shows us how a bitter old miser transforms into a kind, gentle man.  What is the common theme here? They all represent how the past, present and future has an effect in making or breaking a person.

These realities encompass our everyday lives. The past is where we’ve come from and what we’ve done, the present is who we are now and the future is who we want to be. Putting it that way makes it seem simplistic, but overall these three realities can be troublesome to everyone.  Here are tips on how to handle these three realities and how to live a happy successful life.

Your PAST

  1. Let go

The past definitely plays a huge role in our life as it’s our story. It dictates where we came from and what we’ve been through. Although it’s your story, it shouldn’t define who you are now. Having memories and mementos is nice but if you are constantly looking to your past in a negative regretful way you will never be at peace. The past is done, it cannot be changed. This is why it’s important to accept it and move on.

  1. Learn from your mistakes

The wonderful Nelson Mandela said “I never lose, I either win or learn”. This is something we all need to keep in mind when we make mistakes. Things may never go our way and we may make bad decision in our lifetime but we shouldn’t feel guilty or constantly think about the mistakes we’ve made. The important thing is to learn from it and move on.

  1. Have self-compassion

We are all human which means we are not perfect. We make mistakes all of the time, but in addition to learning from our mistakes we must have self-compassion for ourselves.  Everyone is always concerned about treating others well but then they forget about ourselves. We are our own worst enemy at times and forget to cut ourselves some slack.  Yes loving others is important but we need to love ourselves first.

Your PRESENT

  1. Live in the now

People are always reading about how they can be happy in the future, but the truth is you can be happy right now in this moment .  Life is what we make it, so why not live in the present and truly enjoy every moment without worrying about the past and future.  Mindfulness is an important practice everyone should encompass in their everyday lives. I highly recommend reading books by Thich Nhat Hahn as he has great insight on how to be mindful in everyday activities and how to truly live and be happy in the present.

  1. Don’t take anything for granted

Be grateful for what you have. Hyman Schachtel said “Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have” and this is so true. We often take for granted what we have because it becomes part of our daily routine, but it is important to stop and appreciate all of the things you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. It will truly change your outlook and allow you to be more positive

  1. Applaud yourself for who you are now

We’ve come a long way to be who we are today. Sure we haven’t been perfect but there must be times that we have succeeded and overcome obstacles. Applaud yourself for your success and be happy about who you are. If you’re not happy about who you are, look for ways to change.

Your FUTURE

  1. Write down your hopes and dreams

We all have dreams, and by writing them down allows us to plan for our future with the hope of making our dreams a reality. One way people do this is write a bucket list of all the things they want to do before they’re 100. I highly recommend doing this with another person, it always makes for a good conversation!

  1. Set goals

Goal setting is very important for everyone to do. Without concrete realistic goals to achieve we can put ourselves in a rut. Instead of a New Year’s resolution for the year, have 1-3 goals you want to achieve each month. You can even try to have a long term goal but the key with goals is you need to have a deadline and they need to be realistic. Keeping a journal or your goals and tracking your progress is helpful.

  1. Be organized

 

You can’t accomplish everything all at once, but by being organized and having a plan you can be successful in achieving your goals and dreams. Look to others to help keep you motivated, and look for opportunities as they arise.  If you’re organized you will more likely accomplish your goals and reach your full potential. You don’t want to look back on your life regretting what you did not do, so plan now and organize your life and your priorities. You will be happy you did.

 

We all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences but all and all we all want the same things, a happy fulfilled life. Simba, Phil Connors and Ebenezer Scrooge all found a way to accomplish their goals and find success and we can too. It’s all about changing perspective and taking advantage of all opportunities that come our way.

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Going your own pace to find personal success

dont-go-fast

As kids we were exposed to many Aesop fables that all had a moral at the end of the story. One that I’m sure most are familiar with is the story of the Tortoise and the Hare. The two compete in a race and in the end the tortoise wins. The moral of the story was that slow and steady wins the race. This moral has recently grabbed my attention because this is key to anyone who is trying to accomplish their goals.

In my case, I started university in 2008 and ended up taking ten months off due to being ill with mononucleosis. Doing this made me feel frustrated  because I wanted to finish my degree the “normal” way (in four years), like my friends were doing.  Once I recovered from mono I ended up transferring schools and starting a new program, which basically meant starting from scratch. In addition to starting a new program, I enrolled in the co-operative education program which meant prolonging graduation in order to complete 3 work terms. Then on top of that I decided to study abroad in Sweden for six months.

Yes I took six years instead of four to complete my degree, but in the end I gained so much. Transferring schools and switching programs from History to Human Resources was smart as I wanted to study something that was in demand and that I could get a job upon graduation. Completing three work terms allowed me to gain real life work experience in my field and the professional world, which helped me to obtain the position I currently have. Studying abroad opened my world and gave me a new perspective and allowed me to meet new friends. Taking six years didn’t burden me at all, it did the opposite. I gained so much success by going at my pace and not worrying about what others were doing. Everyone is different and everyone has different circumstances. Doing what is right for you, in your own way is all you need to focus on.

I feel everything happens for a reason, and we need to take what life gives us and learn from it and use it to our advantage. I seized every opportunity that came my way and worked hard to be where I am today. The next time you feel down on yourself because you haven’t accomplished your goal don’t fret. Take the time to make a plan and stick with it. Ignore what others are doing and see the bigger picture. Forward is forward. We all live our own lives, and we should do what is best for us. There should be no normal way. Keep going and eventually you will find success.

photo credit http://speakingautism.ca/slow-and-steady-wins-the-race/

3 keys for a successful happy life

We go through life everyday all wanting the same thing. Whether we are rich, poor, overweight or thin, we all wish for one thing – a happy, fulfilled life. This is something that is not easily achieved as life throws us many challenges through every stage of our lives. But how do we overcome the obstacles, make the right choices and be successful and happy? This is something I have been thinking about for months now.

It all sparked when I read an article from the weather network that spoke about happiness and the percentage of Canadians that felt “pretty happy” with their lives. It got me thinking and wondering about my life and what I could do to lead a happy life. There are many things that can be challenging to a person that can make it difficult for them to feel happy. Whether its mental or physical illness, grief, rejection, failure; how do we see the big picture and realize what we can do to put a smile on our faces?

After months of reading, researching and self-reflection I’ve come to realize it’s all about perspective, perseverance and defining your potential.

First, we need to change our perspective. Sure we may be unhappy now, but we have the power to change that. It all comes down to the mono perspective. Life is what we, as individuals make it. You can’t always know what life is going to throw your way, but by developing a positive mindset, we can accomplish anything. The next time you have a frown on your face, force yourself to smile, I can guarantee you will feel better and be able to reflect on the situation and find a solution for yourself.

Second, no matter how hard things get we need to persevere. It sometimes is so hard to keep going and reach our goals, but once you accomplish that goal it’s the most amazing feeling. A study was done in New York recently where researchers asked people on the streets what their biggest regrets were. The people all had different things to say, but the one thing they all had in common was that they more so regretted things they DID NOT do rather than the things they did do. That says a lot. We need to seize every opportunity that comes our way, and if the opportunity doesn’t present itself, we need to make the opportunity for ourselves.  Sometimes the reason we don’t do something is because we lack confidence, or the time, money or even the strength to do it, but this is where perseverance comes in. Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio would have gotten where he is today by giving up? Acting is an extremely hard profession to be successful in, but these people persevered. They didn’t give up no matter how many rejections they got, and in the end they came out successful. Anything is possible if you have positive thinking and perseverance.

Lastly, is defining and reaching our full potential. We need to define for ourselves what our true potential looks like. We don’t have to sit on the sidelines and let life decide. We have the full power to make our future our own. In order to do this we have to have confidence in ourselves, be positive, set goals, and define our hopes and dreams. By doing so we will make a life for ourselves that is happy and successful. Having success doesn’t mean you have to have the biggest and best of everything. It means that you accomplished realistic goals that fit for you and your lifestyle. As long as you are happy with yourself and your results by the end of your journey, that is all that matters.

So put your life right now in perspective. See the good there is in every day, and realize life is what you make it. Persevere and set goals for yourself so you have no regrets in life. Reach your full potential by realizing what your hopes and dreams are. Doing these 3 things will help you find yourself and in the end hopefully make you the happiest you could ever be.

 

Helpful Links on how to be positive, persevere and reach full potential:

http://www.wikihow.com/Persevere

http://www.wikihow.com/Achieve-Your-Full-Potential

http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Positive

Interesting Articles

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/survey-most-canadians-pretty-happy-see-whos-happiest/63052

http://aplus.com/a/clean-slate-blackboard-experiment