Everyone wants happiness in their lives. As difficult as it may be to think about, even your worst enemy wants to be happy. After all the wishes on stars for materialistic things when we were kids, the wish I hear almost every adult say now is how they want to be happier. But what is happiness? It may mean something different for each of us but what happiness really comes down to is our expectations. Once you decide to make happiness a priority in your life the hard part is managing the expectations you have. I tend to relate happiness to losing weight- if you decide to go on a diet and then expect to be 15 pounds thinner right away, you have unrealistic expectations.  It is a similar mindset with happiness. Sure you can decide that you want to focus more on happiness and you may even put in the work to get there, but happiness won’t just happen overnight. In fact, just like losing weight, there will be days when you slip up on your diet, aka happiness habits/routines. So when you feel like you aren’t reaching your goals fast enough, like your expectations aren’t getting met, like you’ve tried and slipped up, here are a few things to remind yourself to help in the management of your happiness expectations.

 Self-instigated Change Takes Time

While change is a part of life and can even take seconds to happen, in most cases of self-instigated change it can take a lot of time and hard work. Knowing you are in it for the long haul can help you manage the expectation and desire for immediacy.

Some Progress Is Good Progress

Change takes time but even if we accept that, we expect our progress to be quicker or better. We often set our expectations so high that we miss the journey while looking at the destination. It's always helpful to remind yourself of the little milestones and realize that some progress is better than none at all.

No One Is Perfect

I think we see others around us and assume everything in their lives are going well. Then we turn with a judgmental eye to ourselves and pick out all the flaws, all the things that prove we aren’t perfect. Then we set the expectation the perfection is happiness and if we aren’t there…. we are failures, thus leading to a mindset that breeds unhappinesses and can set back all of our hard happiness work. When it comes down to it, no one is perfect and you shouldn’t expect to be either. The best you can do is live each day trying your hardest and moving towards the change you want and the small accomplishments. Even setback days can prove to be learning experiences and turned into an area of mental progress.

Remember you are capable of having happiness abound.

Photo by Ales Krivec