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Make Sure Your Happiness is NOT Optional

The question I want to ask you today is how adaptable are you? I speak and write all the time about the importance of planning and scheduling and tracking and controlling, but what do we do when our wonderful plan doesn’t work out? The problem often times with things not going to plan is that we can give up. For example, a healthy eating plan: one chocolate bar or one meal off plan – that’s it. The diet’s ruined and many might give up. Now, the diet is not really ruined; the setback is actually an opportunity for us to reflect on why we did what we did (ate what we ate…) and get back on track.

One month of overspending is all the more reason why you need to plan your finances – it is not a reason to give up. A month of overspending is the reason we need to plan in the first place. Our mindset (yes, mindset again!) about “failures” and setbacks is incredibly important. This is a kind of leveraging – finding opportunity in every experience – that truly creates wealth.

Turning lemons into lemonade is certainly possible even in seemingly hopeless or overwhelming circumstances. With all that said, learning to be adaptable is a crucial skill in ensuring that the life that you want to live stays the life you want to live. And if along the journey you decide that what you thought you wanted at the beginning is different from what you want now, that’s okay. You can adapt.

What happens if something goes wrong or drastically changes and you start to go off plan? You don’t get that weekend away or suddenly finances change and you can’t afford the gym membership? What if you need to move house or your relationship changes and along with it your expenses and income and property? Let’s brainstorm some ways we can respond when life gets real and the plan needs some adjustments.

I love to travel. Think about a holiday that makes you happy; you mapped out the days that you wanted to travel, you mapped out the location that you wanted to visit. You haven’t booked it yet, and now for whatever reason, you realize you can’t take the break after all. And if it is because of a financial reason, then that’s fine; maybe you can move it to later in the year when you can save up for it, you could adjust the duration or level of accommodations; you could even alter the destination to a more affordable one.

If the holiday is off because you have time constraints or unexpected responsibilities you may need to push the holiday forward. That’s one way of adapting it; simply move it to another location, but make sure you don’t wipe it off the calendar. You could also still take that break by recreating the feeling of being on holiday. So, what is it about a holiday that makes you feel happy? Is it being relaxed? Is it being near water? Is it sunshine? Trying new foods?

You may not have time or funds right now to fly across the globe, but could you go for a walk down by the river or the lake? Would that satisfy you? Could you go to the coast for the day? Is it being with a group of people? Could you plan a day where you are with people? Eating a particular cuisine? Find the best Thai or Italian or Mexican takeaway you can and enjoy it! Is it simply doing nothing? Do nothing!

Maybe you don’t need to go to another location; could you have a holiday at home? I did that when I was planning some of these “happinesses” into my calendar. Right at the beginning, we’d have our holidays mapped out, we’d have our weekends mapped out. Some of my holidays didn’t involve a plane ticket or hotel at all – I just needed a little break from routine.

For me relaxing and not thinking were things that I wanted to do for a while so I put in my diary that I was on holiday, but I literally didn’t go anywhere. And I used that time so that each morning I would get up and I would ask myself “what do I want to do today?” Because I had nothing planned, I enjoyed that freedom that comes with a holiday.

One day I might just have a long bath, and another day I might go for a walk and another day I might plan to meet a friend. So, you’re getting that holiday feeling in a way that doesn’t break the bank and doesn’t require the same time commitment. That is how you can adapt if something else goes wrong with that plan.

Exercise makes many people happy; what happens if you can’t access gym membership or golf clubs or dance lessons? If your schedule conflicts or finances are tight – perhaps the gym or club simply closes down – what could you do to maintain this happiness in your life? If the difficulty is more about money, (maybe a golf club membership is very expensive or the gym’s put its prices up) are there day rates, day attendances? Could you build a home gym? Can you go for a run in the park? What about buying a secondhand bike? Dance tutorials online? There are many other ways that you can get exercise.

What is it about the exercise? What is it about the golf club or the gym that is also giving you other pleasure other than the adrenaline from the exercise. A golf club is more social, whereas a gym is more focused on the exercise. So again, really dig into where you are getting your specific happy out of that event. Join a local walking group or other free social exercise group in your community to get the socialization without needing an exclusive membership. Get creative and don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and family for ideas and resources that can help you adapt to the unpredictability of life.

There is no end to the ways that you can be adaptable. In this article, I wanted to give you some ideas of how you can ensure that the happiness plan that you create is something that you are both successful at and find easy to incorporate in your life, even when times get tough. Setbacks are not moments to give up; they are moments to learn and grow and create something new that enriches your life. Make sure your happiness is not optional, but guaranteed.

If you are interested in learning more about creating a wealth plan, make sure you listen to my podcast A Wealthy Life, and look at the free resources I offer like the Readiness to Retire Wealthy Audit. Almost nothing that is worthwhile comes without effort. Planning your happiness is excellent, but learning to pivot and adapt is crucial because life is truly what happens when you’re busy making other plans. For more impactful wealthy life tips, please visit my website, listen to my podcast here and here, or schedule a free call with me.