How to Be Happy (The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Less Obligation & More Joy)
How to be happy? The question we’ve all pondered. Can it really be that elusive? I say no and I’ll tell you why.
Have you ever noticed how many things in life make us unhappy but we obediently do them anyway? We hate doing car registration, but we do it. We hate mailing thank you cards, but we do it. We hate exercising (us normal folk), but we begrudgingly drag our fat asses to the gym. We despise our job, but it pays the bills.
Why do we do things that don’t make us happy? It wasn’t something I’d thought too much of until recently. I’d been yo-yoing on my exercising commitment. I’ve done everything in the book to keep myself motivated. I wrote reasons why I wanted to exercise, I tried a variety of fitness formats, I tried to find partners.
Cake > Bicycle Crunches
But ya know what made me happier than getting on the elliptical 40min, 4x a week? A piece of cake 3x a week. Yep. No, I’m not saying “fuck exercise.” Well, I am kinda. But I’m not saying “fuck being healthy.” Because we wanna be healthy to have a good life and take it for all its worth.
But what I realized was how much time I was dedicating to something that didn’t make me happy. In fact, quite the opposite. It would depress me. The act of jumping on my rebounder or pulling out a workout video or following a stupid list of reps to do was depressing and time consuming. I wanted to do other things. And fuck, it was hard when I wasn’t seeing results with all of this “simply burn more calories than you take in, easy” bullshit. It is NOT that easy.
And so exercising became a wonder to me. I knew I still wanted to try to be healthy, but I wouldn’t dedicate any more of my precious time toward doing something that didn’t make me happy. Which meant my exercise needed to be something that made me happy.
Now for you, this would likely mean finding an active hobby or sport! Instead of getting on the treadmill, go hiking. Instead of hitting the machines, go kayaking this weekend. Love baseball? Join a league. You have so many options when it comes to making exercise a perk instead of the main event.
But yours truly has shit knees. Like utter shit. The fancy name is Chondromalacia Patella. In a nutshell, it means I have little cartilage behind my kneecaps and it is wearing away everyday. So I can’t squat, run, jump, kneel, crawl, sit for too long, walk up/down hill, and do anything that bends my knees past 90 degrees.
What the actual fuck, right? Yeah so, finding an active hobby or sport wasn’t in my cards. I tried. Honest. I love kickboxing, but the act of kicking twists my knee and screws it up. Love baseball, but can’t run. Like hiking, but those hills do me in after 20 min.
Happiness Finds A Way
This meant finding ways to be active in my daily life, making healthy food that was yummy, and replacing frequent snacks with a less-processed alternative. It meant walking to the movie theaters or dinner, taking a walk after dinner with our dogs, using the manual car washer instead of the drive-through, going to the park on free days. I took up photography, which has gotten me out of the house much more, even though it’s not exactly “active,” it does get me outside and moving.
The point is, I’m not getting tons of exercise, but I’m also not unhappy or stressed about it. Because even if I had seen results, would it have been enough to keep going? Would the hours lost doing reps be worth it? And so we come to the focus of this post.
Find Your Source of Misery, and Kick Its Ass
What? It wasn’t on exercise? Nope, sorry. I was making a point with one common example. But this applies to all things. I realized I’d rather do more of what makes me happy instead of only the things I “should” do. Because fuck that. So what do I do? I make sure to have dessert every night, because life is too short. I speak my mind with people more. If I don’t want to do some obligatory family thing, I won’t. If I know I should practice my ukulele that I bought, but I just don’t feel like it, you guessed it! I won’t do it.
This may seem lazy, immature, undedicated, and irresponsible. But guess what? I’m happier and less stressed than ever, so judge if you must. Because I no longer make myself do things I don’t want to do.
Now this methodology won’t get you out of getting your car registered, but it will make you evaluate your own life. It should make you look at your day and ask how many hours you spent happy.
Do you like your morning routine? Do you like your breakfast? Your job? Your marriage? What about your house makes you happy? What about your state/country? How much of your time is filled with joy?
So your challenge: throughout your day for a week, take note of anytime you are doing something you don’t want to do. Write in detail what it was. Like grocery shopping, working in general, making dinner, etc. If you dread doing it or are actively miserable, note it.
Making the Mundane Tolerable
“Great Shelby, the dishes are a ton more fun now that I’ve identified how sad they make me.”
Hey friend, I’m not done! Let’s take the dishes example. This takes time, is done daily, and makes you unhappy. Unless it doesn’t, in which case, go screw yourself you weirdo. Just kidding. I’m jealous. But for the rest of us, you must do one thing. Make it enjoyable.
Make…dishes…fun? That’s right. You can try a few different things to accomplish this, and the solutions will vary for each daily chore/obligation based on your relationship status, living status, etc.
Try playing your favorite music really loud! Do it with your partner or friend and make it a game. Who can wash the most dishes? Winner gets to pick the movie you watch after. Or maybe have a beer or devil’s lettuce (depending on laws of your state) first so you don’t care so much. Maybe listen to an audio book so your mind is elsewhere doing something you’d prefer and you aren’t “wasting time” on those damn dishes. Or learn a new language and listen to that instead. Arrange a reward for yourself after – like a bubble bath or trip to the movies.
Boom. Ladies…we just made dishes fun.
Life is Fucking Short – Be Happy
My point is, many of the things in life that feel like time drains, that depress us but we have to, or that stress us out, can be made better. And many can just be ignored all together and the world won’t fall apart.
If you want to know even more about yourself and your dreams, download my free Self-Discovery Workbook: Who the Fuck Are You? And What the Hell Do You Really Want?
Personally, since not making decisions based on other’s, I’ve been incredibly happy. You wouldn’t get married or change careers to please people, so why have a baby, or go to craft night if you know it would bring you misery? Don’t just do things for other’s happiness. Don’t just do things because you’re “expected to.” Either say no or find a way to make that obligation not feel quite so much like an obligation.
Truthfully, this is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you. Comment below! Tell me what things you hate that you need to make fun! Or tell me something obligatory that you made a little less horrible or stopped doing all together!