Last week I wrote about the trap of "if only" and began to discuss how to break free of that trap and build upon the life you have now to have happiness. This is a continuation of that post: 

Think outside your norm.

After you find gratitude for what you have, it's time to think outside your normal circumstances to build towards your happiness. For example, let's say you have a large amount of debt and you are living paycheck to paycheck. The normal thing to do would be to think about getting a second job and yes, that's a great option. But what else could you do? Maybe rent that empty mother-in-law apartment in your home that has a separate entrance? It's not the normal way of building up wealth and paying off debt but it's a relatively low-hassle way to make a residual income off a space you own that isn't being used. It's not your first thought and it's not your normal everyday life situation, but it will do. 

Sometimes going outside your norm is tough. It's hard to spend nights at a second job, share your home with strangers, or miss out on activities with friends. But sometimes you have to go outside the box and hit some rough patches to reach your goals and live your dream.

Live consistently.

I'm pretty sure I've harped on consistency being the best indicator of happiness in about a hundred blog posts by now but just as you have to think outside your normal circumstances to build on your life, you have to live consistently. Fitness is the perfect example of this. Without consistently eating healthy and working out, you won't see results. Without getting yourself out of the "if only" mindset through gratitude and working to your dreams by thinking outside of the box (consistently), you won't be able to fully get to where you want to be. Which brings me to the real question when it comes to building on your life:

What are you willing to give up to reach your goals?

The truth is that you can build on your life and you must. You must get over the "if only" mindset to reach your goals, dreams, potential. But sometimes, most times, you have to also give something up in your current life to be happier, to reach your goals. If you were completely happy, you wouldn't be reading this blog and you wouldn't consider needing to change your life for the better. But you are reading this and you do want to build on your life. That means you need to ask yourself, what are you willing to give up to reach your goals? How much are you willing to think outside your norm? How dedicated are you to living in gratitude? How consistent are you willing to be?

Photo by Sudarshan Bhat