My favorite quote says: the measure of my success is my joy.
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I wrote it on the front of my journal. It’s the background of my phone. Eventually, it might even become a tattoo on my forearm.
I can’t help but wonder what my life would look like if I heard that quote and lived by it earlier in life….
Even now, I have a choice. I can like the quote and be inspired by it. I can do that without ever acting on it. The other choice is to pursue it. To live it. To intentionally pursue joy as a success target more than I pursue money, weight loss or status.
Here’s what I know for sure:
I don’t want to wonder about that same question a year or 5 years from now.
I want to pay more attention to pursuing joy NOW.
I don’t want to look at myself in a month, a year or 5 years from now and say, “I didn’t pursue joy. I spent all my energy on things that matter less…”
For too long I defined success in other ways: money, relationship status, weight, fitness…
The measure of my success is not the size of my jeans.
The measure of my success is not how I feel about my naked body.
The measure of my success isn’t how clean I eat.
The measure of my success isn’t how much weight I can lift or how frequently I workout.
The measure of my success isn’t the number of podcast downloads I have.
The measure of my success isn’t the amount of money I have in the bank.
The measure of my success is my joy.
All good, right? Except: What do we do about it?
If you’re like me, you might feel stumped when it comes to creating more joy in your life. I had so many questions when I first saw this quote.
What is joy for me?
How do I create joy?
Where do I turn when I don’t think there is much joy in my life? How do I start? What do I do?
I will never forget all those years when my mom would ask, out of nothing but parental worry, “What lights you up? What makes you happy?” and I didn’t have an answer.
I knew I enjoyed food. It certainly brought me pleasure. But it didn’t bring me joy. Even when I was eating, I was far from joyful.
I didn’t know where to start…
Here’s my approach to tough questions: try my way to the answer. Work my way to potential solutions. I refuse to stay stuck on a question. I’ll simply try my way to a solution.
I started a list. What might bring me joy?
- Being with people I love
- Singing & dancing
- Letting go of the need to be cool and just having FUN
- Laughing until I cry
- Swinging on a swingset or riding waves in the ocean
Then: which of those things can I make time for this week and how?
Here’s what it looks like for me lately:
- I walk to the water to watch the sunset when I can.
- I started going to an adult gymastics class where we jump and flip and do silly things adults don’t normally do.
- I started taking aerial yoga and guitar lessons.
- I try to connect more with people I love.
- I give myself permission to stop working and have more fun.
I am actively LOOKING for ways to have more fun and create more moments of joy in my life.
Because the measure of my success is my joy.
How about you?