How many times have you said to yourself, 'As soon as x (insert goal or event here) happens, then I'll be happy." or 'I just don't know what makes me happy?” If you're like most people, you do this a lot in your life. These two statements are reflective of our very goal oriented, focused and directed society. They both assume that happiness is found outside of us.

Top athletes often report that huge victories are anticlimactic. They step on the top of the podium & realize that they’re no better of a person than they were at the start of the race. Some of my weight loss clients report the same feeling in reaching their goals. They almost don’t know what to do with themselves next once they’re thin! This is because happiness from external events is short lived. Sorry, there's no magic switch to flip that makes you a better, truly happy person. A “better, truly happy person” knows that true happiness comes from inside.

Happiness is a choice we all have. When I was racing, my coach always told me that happiness is 'in the process' of accomplishing your goal. I never understood him at the time because I thought I'd be happy once I won the race. As a matter of fact, the conversations we had about it infuriated me. How on earth could I be happy if I didn’t win?!

When I finally did win I instantly realized that there was nothing more to strive for externally. Sadly, I was the exact same person. Sure I was happy about the victory and the nice check but life really didn’t change. I finally understood everything he had been preaching for years. He meant for me to focus on enjoying myself in the moment, through all the ups and downs, doing whatever I was doing to reach my goals. Ha always said, “When you look back, it won't be reaching your goal that you remember and cherish, it will be the memories you have of working towards it.” And he was right. I can barely remember any of the finishes of the hundreds of races I competed in. I do remember the training, travel & friends I made along the way.

What if you don't have a specific goal or know what you want as an end result? You may want to consider that you can find happiness in the process of finding out what you want. The world is huge & the possibilities for yourself are limitless. Give yourself permission to get off the fast track, wander & be aimless for a while. Take time to explore different activities or career options. The key is that you have to make the effort to get out of your routine. Positive change rarely just lands in your lap.

A great shaman I know always tells her clients to 'Focus on what you want'. I agree. Keep your eye on the prize and remember to have fun in the moment. Happiness is NOW, in the process.

Author's Bio: 

Traci Brown is a 3x National Collegiate Cycling Champion and Personal Trainer for Your Mind with Ultimate Journey. She's a Master Practitioner of NLP & Tim Line as well as an Alaka'i of Hawaiian Huna. She assists people in creating excellence in all areas of life.