Finding happiness – How setting smart personal goals and finding your self-confidence can help you do just that
2020 was a tough year for all of us, our mental health, our physical health and our relationships. So a common new years resolution is to work on how to be a happier you. But where do we start? How do we do that? Here, Edwin from We are FK talks about what finding happiness means to him and some practical steps to help you chart your own path. P.S. if you love this, this love their online magazine too.
Edwin chats Finding happiness
I would suggest that the first step we all take is to find out what happy could mean for us as individuals because as grandiose and amazing as the statement “I want to be happy!” sounds, it can actually mean very different things to each one of us. Defining happiness as a term can be as unique as we are as individuals. And because of this what works for one person might not work for you. To help you make your own mind up about what being happy means to you let me share with you my own personal definition and how then self-confidence ties into achieving it!
Happiness to me is to find and be in an emotional state or mindset whereby I like who I am; where I act and make all my decisions based on the ideal person that I want to be. Although this isn’t necessarily possible to do all the time, I want to make sure I can do this more often than not and I’d be “happy” with that as a result.
So how would this work in practice? For example, after reflecting on the “me of 2020”, I feel that sometimes I can be a bit dismissive of people without hearing them out completely and might even talk over them, so they don’t even have a chance to elaborate further. That is a trait I have noticed about myself that I really dislike and something I find undesirable in myself. So my 2021 goal is to work on changing this habit of mine to help me be closer to the ideal version of me that I would like to want to be.
Now looking at my definition of happiness and my example you will notice that the goal I set for myself is a goal that I have control over and not something I leave in someone else’s hands or to chance. It is really important when deciding your goals that you set yourself up for success because too often people set goals for themselves which are unclear and not objectively measurable. Compound this with the fact that many set goals for themselves which are not even wholly in their control! Then you can really see why a lot of people don’t achieve their personal goals because sometimes the goals they set for themselves actually might not be achievable! Would you leave your happiness to chance or worse would you let your happiness be defined by a system set up for inevitable failure? I’d hope not! So definitely try as best you can to define your goal as something that is wholly within your control and have its success based on how much effort you put in. By doing this it will increase your ability to control the result whilst removing the element of chance as much as possible!
Now that we have defined what your “happy” is and your strategy on how to achieve it, what does self-confidence have to do with it? Luckily for us self-confidence has a rather definitive definition, the Oxford Dictionary defines this as:
Self-Confidence = A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement.
If I may help interpret this definition to make it more relevant for us, I would say that self-confidence is the amount of trust you have in yourself that you can do something. That you trust and believe in who you are as an individual and that you have trust that you are making the best judgements for yourself. On the flip side that would also mean that you know what your limitations are and what you can’t do and the areas where you really don’t know enough to make the best judgements for yourself. Sounds simple enough right? Well it is and it isn’t because the questions that you may ask yourself about your abilities, qualities and your judgement may be questions that you have never even considered before! Ideally we would all be able to verbalise and answer any questions we have about ourselves but we know that just isn’t true. And if you haven’t done this little self-reflection exercise before there is a high likelihood that you may come to the realisation that you just don’t know enough about yourself at all because you’ve never considered yourself in that way.
At this point you’ll probably start feeling a bit anxious and in the worst-case scenario quite lost as to who you are, I want to reassure you now that it is completely fine and completely normal to feel that way. Because when I did this self-reflection for the first time myself, when I was trying to figure out my own happiness, I realised I knew nothing about myself at all! And this is the concept of “knowing yourself”.
Now let me ask you, if someone does not know themself well what are the chances their definition of happiness is an accurate representation of what they actually want? There is a chance they might get it right but it’s not likely – almost like buying a present for your friends’ girlfriend that you have never met before, there’s a chance she might love it! But it’s not likely.
So the journey of finding happiness might start from knowing yourself well and that you have the confidence to definitively know what you want and what you don’t want.
And it is okay to realise that you have no idea what you want or don’t want too because I know I didn’t when I first started trying to figure out who I was. If you want a bit of guidance I would say start with the easy questions; what do I like about myself, what am I good at? And it’s also okay if you don’t like yourself at first and find that you don’t think you are good at anything. The secret to building self-confidence is to know if you like yourself at all and when you don’t to say to yourself and decide “no, this isn’t good enough for me. I want to be better” to work on being who you want to be and what you want to be good at. Also if you can’t figure it out then don’t be shy to try it! Experiment and try new foods, do new activities, explore parts of your body you never thought about exploring! Experimenting with new experiences will help you learn more about how you respond to things and explore whether you like it or not. Because if you don’t know yourself how can you expect anyone else to know you too.
So for 2021 try this exercise.
- Write down what happy means to you and what you want to be happy.
- Get a piece of paper and try to describe to yourself who you are, what you are good at, what you are bad at and whether or not you like yourself.
- Now consider and write down who you want to be, what you need to do to be that person, what would make you the person that you would like and why that would make you happy.
- And finally compare that last definition of what would make you happy to the first thing you wrote down.
You might surprise yourself; the answers might be the same or drastically different and the most important thing is you now know for yourself if you can find your answer to make 2021 a happier year for yourself. Good luck, have fun, stay safe and be happy!