When you go to a restaurant, your primary goal is to eat. Maybe your secondary goal is to enjoy the atmosphere. But suppose you go to a restaurant and you get so lost in the atmosphere you forget to eat. You are going to feel dissatisfied, because no amount of atmosphere is ever going to fill your belly.
The primary goal in life is to be happy. Maybe your secondary goals are, for example, financial security or improved fitness. The key is to remember that your secondary goals are just that: secondary. They are a means to an end. You can spend your whole life trying to make more money or trying to lose another 10 pounds. You can get so lost in these goals that you forget your main mission to be happy. How much money do you have to make before you are qualified to be happy? How much weight do you have to lose before you are officially certified to have more joy in your life?
Fake It Until You Make It
The key is to never lose sight of your primary goal. Suppose you finally make “enough” money, or lose “enough” weight. How do you imagine you will feel when you accomplish these goals? Whatever this feeling is, start practicing it now. Pursue your secondary goals, sure, but along the way, try to think, feel and act the way you will when you’ve accomplished them. Don’t wait for life to give you permission. Because if the journey isn’t bringing you happiness, what makes you think the destination will magically do so?
Fake it until you make it. When practiced mindfully, this isn’t a dishonest or irresponsible strategy. In fact, maybe you have it backwards. You think that having a certain amount in your bank account will unlock the door to happiness. But perhaps practicing happiness in advance, no matter how much you have in your back account, is the secret ingredient to reaching your financial goal.