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Who is Defining Your Happiness

Thank you for reading this week’s Operation Melt update.

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives.

I am trying to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Amuse Bouche

My amuse bouche for you today is a light “dad joke” to entertain your mind before we get down to business.

So, I love to tell dad jokes, but I don’t have any kids. Does this make me a faux pa?

Like any other amuse bouche, you may have hated it, but it was worth every penny that you paid for it, right?

Goal Success by Choice

We can choose to be successful with our goals if we make the right daily choices, build the right habits and behaviors and adopt the right mindsets. Goal Success by Choice shares lessons about the choices we can make that can either move us closer to our goals or hold us back. I hope this post helps you get a little closer to crushing your goals.

Message From The Universe

One of my favorite podcasts, Clarity on Fire, occasionally does a theme episode called Message From The Universe. These episodes feature the hosts Kristen and Rachel doing a reading from a deck of tarot cards. I didn’t really think this was my thing but it has always been interesting. Lately, a couple of the episodes have hit really close to home and have made me think. A good reminder to always keep an open mind. 

A recent episode was the last straw in a series of messages that the universe has sent me telling me to write about today’s topic.

In Whispers, Voices, Screams, Bricks I shared an Oprah quote about how the universe speaks to us. Well, she was talking to me pretty good over the past couple of weeks. This topic is something I had been thinking about for a while and just not acting on. Recently, there have been multiple signs from the universe (podcast topics, books I have been reading, things that people have said to me, etc.) that it is time to take the next step and write about this.

So, I hope the universe was sending me these signs because somebody out there needs to hear this.

Ways I Have Failed

Last week, in An Unproud Moment, I talked about a recent “failure” I experienced with my writing and how I published something I wasn’t proud of. But, how did I define failure? Well, I was writing at a time when I was feeling no kind of flow, but I have done that before. The real way I defined this as a failure came from my grammar and style checking app. Because I saw this:

An app, using a completely secret formula told me that my writing was bad and I considered this post a failure in my mind. I ignored lots of positive facts about my writing and instantly internalized these external measurements.

But the story doesn’t stop there… I have other failures too.

By all objective evaluations, my weight loss journey was a success. I lost over one hundred pounds in less than a year and have changed my life. However, the scale has ticked back up a bit over the past year or so. I know that a lot of this has been driven by packing on the muscle and my body finding its “normal” after years of change. But, when I step on the scale and the numbers are higher, my brain immediately sees failure.

This applies to the finances side of the world too. When I see our bank balances or net worth decrease, my brain immediately thinks “failure.” It doesn’t stop and consider that net worth is volatile based on the performance of the market and this could be a one-day decrease. It doesn’t consider what big investments we may have recently made. And my brain doesn’t stop to consider the journey instead of looking at a single point in time.

The same evaluation of “failure” also applies in my career. If my income hasn’t gone up year-over-year or my title isn’t increasing, I have conditioned my brain to think I am failing.

And, don’t get me started on social media likes, weekly email open rates and other “failures” that I evaluate each day.

Who is Defining Your Happiness

All of these sources of “failure” have something in common, I am allowing some number or other external measurement to define my happiness with myself.

Whether it is a secret algorithm in an app, the performance of the stock market, the numbers on a scale, or measurements in a fitness tracker, I am giving a lot of power to things that are not in my control. Plus, in the grand scheme of life, do these things really even matter?

I am relying on external validation to tell me if I am happy or not.

To make it worse, sometimes my brain tries to speak up and say “but wait, is that right?” Then my brain argues with itself and says “shut up, that’s what the numbers say, we have to trust them!”

My big ah-ha is that I haven’t been trusting my own self to tell me if I am happy so I have been turning to external validation. It doesn’t have to be like this.

Take Control of Your Happiness

Numbers are important, but they don’t define your happiness.

Happiness lives inside of you. It doesn’t require numbers or external validation. But it does require a little introspection, self-honesty and some trust in yourself.

It is time to flip the numbers vs. happiness equation on its head. Instead of looking at the numbers and then saying “I’m not happy,” let’s look inward first and then go to the numbers.

Are you happy with your life the way it is? It is time for some self-evaluation.

Reflect on each facet of your life (health, relationships, career, finances, spirituality, etc.) and ask yourself the most important question. Are you happy with that part of your life? Is it bringing you joy or discontent?

Honesty is key, so be honest with yourself when you answer. Dishonesty will backfire and will cause you not to trust yourself. That will send you running back to external validation.

If you can honestly answer that you are happy with an area of your life, trust that. Let yourself be happy. There is no need to go searching for some reason that you should be unhappy.

If you find an area where you are not happy, we have some work to do. It is time to dig deeper.

Why are you unhappy with this part of your life? What would make you happier? 

Spend some time here and don’t rush it. You are worth it!

Then Take Action

Figuring out what will make you happier is just the first step. Next, we have to take some action.

What do you want to do to improve your happiness? Do you want to lose weight, get healthier, save more money, make a job change or something completely different?

Whatever it is that you want to do, it is time to commit to a goal. And, if you are setting a goal, you know that it needs to be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Once you have committed to a goal that you are trying to achieve, this is when the external measurement comes into the picture. Measure your progress towards each of your specific goals daily.

Goals can be measured, happiness cannot.  Setting SMART goals will help you measure your progress towards a specific outcome.

But you can’t apply this approach to your happiness. There isn’t a number that measures how happy your life is. The only way to know if you are happy or not is to ask yourself tough questions and answer them honestly.

If we learn to trust ourselves, we can spend less time relying on external validation and we can let ourselves be happy.

Good luck and let’s crush some goals together!

Suggested Resources

Here are some other resources related to today’s post that you might want to read:

Did You Like What You Read?

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Published inGoal Success by Choice

Disclaimer: The Operation Melt website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.

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