Feeling Lost? It might be time to analyse your happiness

It’s that time of year again, everyone is setting goals and being super positive and hyped up about how well they are going to do in 2019, which is an amazing attitude to have, and definitely the right one, but please know that’s it’s also easy and okay to feel the exact opposite. Don’t let the pressures of social media get to you, and don’t feel like you have to join in with the goal setting and knowing what you want from 2019 right now.

The chaos of seeing out another year and trying to finish up work and projects for the new year is draining enough, not including the mayhem of Christmas and the New Year, travelling from one place to the another and never having much time to rest. Take some time to recharge in January, think about your goals but don’t pressure yourself to set any until you’ve had some rest and thinking time.

Are you currently doing what makes you happy?

Right now, are you doing what makes you happy? Or are you doing something because you think that it makes (or will make) you happy? A lot of people, especially creatives, have the misconception that to get to the same place as their idol, they have to follow exactly the same path, and although there are certain things you might need to do or have, it doesn’t mean that you should do everything in the same way, because at the end of the day, that person already exists, you can’t and shouldn’t want to be a copy.

Chances are that person has got to their dream job or achieved big things because they worked hard and were passionate about what they are/were doing. The creative industry is constantly evolving and it’s much more common now to be hired for the work you do for fun or your ‘personal work’ rather than your previous client projects.

So you have to ask yourself; are you doing what makes you happy? If not, what does make you happy? Do that. If you’re not sure what makes you happy anymore that’s actually a great thing, because it means you can spend time experimenting with different things, discovering new passions and finding yourself all over again!

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

Have you given yourself too much to do? I have a really bad habit of setting myself way too many goals and it’s something I’ve had to learn not to do so much over the past 2 years especially. I used to set myself probably around 25-30 goals a year (and don’t get me wrong most of them were really small with a few big ones) but it was just too much to keep on top of over the space of a year.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s probably a good idea to sit down and look at your current goals and write down every project or commitment you have at the moment. Are there things you can cut out and maybe save until a later date or better yet, cut out altogether? If it’s not helping you reach your goals then don’t do it, it’s just wasted time. The less you have to focus on over extended and short periods of time, the quicker you will improve and the higher quality work you will produce in these areas.

Check your habits

Your habits play a huge part in how your day plays out, and I personally have some really unproductive and bad habits, those kind of habits you know aren’t at all helping you, but you just can’t seem to stop, so that’s something I want to be a lot stricter with this year. It’s important to be able to recognise these kind of things, so if you aren’t sure what your bad habits are, that’s the first step.

So for example, are there certain habits you have that give you a short burst of happiness but have a negative impact on your life overall? These are the kind of habits that are hard to get out of but you would benefit massively from changing, helping you to reach your goals quicker and to not feel guilty about the way you’re living your life. Some examples might be:

  • Struggling to get out of bed in a morning - Try to not using your phone after 9PM, set your alarm for the morning and put your phone to the other side of the room, that way you have to physically get out of bed to turn your alarm off.

  • Using/Checking social media too much when you’re working - Try having distraction free periods through your day where you put your phone in a different room and turn the Wi-Fi off on your computer. There are also website blockers you can use for when you do need Wi-Fi on but want to make it hard for yourself to be able to check social media sites!

  • Being unhealthy resulting in you always feeling tired - Start eating a better diet, eat more fresh foods and prepare meals as much as you can to save time. Start your day with a walk or do it in your lunch hour instead if you can’t afford the gym, nature can do you the world of good and exercise itself has a ridiculously strong impact on your mental health!

  • Not actually working towards your goals - It’s easy to write goals down, think you’re doing what you can to achieve them and then realising months down the line you’re no closer to them. You need to make sure that you schedule your goals into your day so you’re consistently working towards them. It’s a good idea to devote the first hour or 90 minutes of your day to your main goal. So for example I dedicate an hour every morning to my 50 sharks project (a habit I stopped doing towards the end of 2018 so I’m starting to do it again this year). So even though I only do an hour a day, I’m making daily progress. It’s also really important to check in on your goals, once a month ideally, which is something I need to start to do this year.

Know what works for you

I had a really hard time releasing this for myself, especially when it comes to my working hours. I’ve never really been a morning person, I really struggle to sleep before about 11PM/12AM which means I don’t get up as early as some people. I used a read about a lot of artists who get up at 4/5AM and start their day and it made me feel really bad, like I wasn’t doing enough. Eventually I came to realise that just because they got up earlier than me, didn’t mean they were doing any more than I was throughout the day, that’s just when they’re most productive. I’ve seen a lot more artists recently saying they don’t even wake up until 9/10AM which is later than me, and these are people I seriously look up to and respect, so clearly the same doesn’t work for everyone.

You have to realise what works for you and take advantage of that, something I heard Dina Rodriguez say in one of her Youtube videos was something like ‘If you’re free to choose your working hours, why wouldn’t you choose to work when you’re most productive?’. I found this really relatable and it definitely reinforced the idea of doing what works best for you.

You also have to know what doesn’t work for you, for example, I get extremely easily distracted, especially if I’m doing something tedious or complicated. Due to me paying attention to my habits, I know why and when I get distracted so I now know to do certain things to combat that such as making sure I have a lengthy playlist set up before I start on a task and turning my phone onto silent and then putting it where I can’t see it.

I hope this has helped at least one person, some of these things may seem simple to some, but it’s easy to look past them when you’re swamped with negative feelings. Also a massive thank you for all of your support throughout 2018, I wasn’t that happy with my 2018, so here’s to making 2019 so much better!