Earlier this week, Facebook showed me a picture that I shared a few years ago. It happens to be one of my favorite pictures of myself in existence, and it’s awesome for three main reasons:

  1. First, it was taken at my grandmother’s old house; the place where I fell in love with the water.
  2. Second, I was jacked and I knew it. You can totally see me ‘mirin’ them gainz.
  3. Third, is in the moment that picture was taken, my biggest worry in life was what we’d be having for dinner.

At that age I mostly ate, played, slept, and smiled. How AMAZING does that sound right now?!

SimplerTimes1

Unfortunately, most of us move away from that mindset as we get older. We’re less happy, more stressed, worry about what other people think, go into careers we don’t love, and we spend money on things we don’t need because we think they’ll make us happier. (News Flash: They usually don’t.) Wow, when I put it that way, adulthood doesn’t seem that fun. I have good news, though. It’s not too late for us to make simple changes that can make a profound impact on our overall quality of life!

Since I’m a visual person, I’ll share a quick list of things you can start doing today that will get you on your way to being happier more often:

  1. Identify 3 People that make you really happy
    • Make it your goal to interact with them at least once every two weeks. If they’re in the same city as you, schedule a lunch, dinner, or a walk on a weekend. If they’re not, schedule a time for a phone call of Facetime with them once every two weeks. Once a week becomes too hard to maintain for most of us, and once a month simply isn’t enough to connect with the people we love.
  2. Identify 3 Activities that make you really happy
    • Ideally, they’re activities that you can do with little preparation required. While SCUBA diving in the Maldives may have made you really happy, it’s unlikely that most people can just “up and go” to their favorite place. Instead, if being outside makes you happy, give yourself time to go for a walk or a hike every few weeks.
    • Do you like live music? It doesn’t need to cost you hundreds of dollars to travel across the country to see your favorite band. You don’t need to pay $50 for a ticket and then another $40 in service fees to go that big local venue, either. Most cities have free live music all over town, every night of the week. It just takes a little research and an open mind that’s excited to see new bands you’ve never seen before.
    •  Do you just like spending time with friends and unplugging for a few hours? That doesn’t need to look like a big expensive night out with a fancy dinner and cocktails. Have one of you pick one night per month where everyone gets together, brings one meal or side dish each, and you just sit around talking, playing games, and laughing together.
    • Pro Tip: To make this night even more special, try putting all cell phones in another room so everyone is more engaged. I’m working on getting better about this myself. Be. Present. More.
  3. Identify 3 Foods that make you really happy
    • As with the two sections above, this doesn’t need to be a seven-course steak dinner at Morton’s. Maybe you’re like me and love Macaroni and Cheese. Perhaps ice cream or raw cookie dough straight out of the fridge are treats that make you really happy. (Also me.) If you plan a meal that you really look forward to eating (maybe even cooking yourself), it can make the monotony of our “day to day” grind a bit more exciting.
    • For a lot of us, the foods that make us smile the most are the ones that we probably shouldn’t eat all the time. So, while I don’t want to call them “cheat meals” (since I think we should eat whatever we want, whenever we want, as long as we accept the outcome of those choices), I think indulging a little here and there is a required part of life!
    • Besides, if I ate tater tots and drank IPAs at every meal, they might not be as special for me all the time. They probably would be, but they might not!

By identifying these 9 simple things, I’m suggesting that you’ll live a happier life. The best part, is that every two or four or six months, you can reevaluate the list and change it up. You control how often you decide to go through this process!

SimplerTimes2

For me, the key is to try and PLAN FOR and SCHEDULE these things. If there’s one thing I’m learning the older I get is that if I wait until I “have time” to do something, it’ll never happen. We lived in simpler times when we were kids. Now that we’re older, if you schedule your fun like you schedule that conference call for work next Tuesday, you might find that you just start making time for more fun!

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Comments
  1. Eric Marshall says:

    This is so true! Thanks for posting. Next step: Write down three priorities you have right now. Then check your bank account and see if your spending aligns with what you write down (living expenses aside). It was eye opening for me. We prioritize what we spend our money on.

    • Smashby says:

      Eric, you’re absolutely right! We’ve been working on being more aware of goals vs actual spends vs unnecessary purchases. If nothing else, it can be an unbelievably valuable exercise to see where our money ACTUALLY goes! Thank you for sharing, friend.

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