Shortcut to Happiness

Could It Be in Creating Goals?

Now many would like to find a shortcut to happiness. That magic moment that turns everything into joy.


In my opinion, if there is any shortcut to happiness, it is in learning how to be happy in the moment. Yet I have found that (to me at leasti) this doesn't mean sitting still, appreciating the environment and doing nothing. Not sure I could really do that in the long run. Short moments, sure, but just sitting like a saint, appreciating everything... Well, I am no saint. I actually like wanting things - that makes life more interesting.



So what do goal setting and happiness have to do with each other?

It is in the very nature of human mind to strive for a better life - the real motivation behind our acts is that we think will be happier as a result.  


If someone says true happiness is not wanting anything, then actually they are saying that is what they want - to learn not to want anything. That would be their shortcut to happiness - just being there, and feeling blissful.


Not wanting material things may mean achieving peace of mind - and that is a "want" as well.  So I think we all want to achieve something - be it material or emotional.


Now it is imporant to be aware in each given moment, so that you can choose the better thing out of the options life presents to you.


Do you need to observe your life constantly then? No, don't worry, I don't mean you have to analyze your ever step.


I'm sure there are not many people who remember to be "aware" of every nuance in their life, but getting even a few aha-moments in a day is a job well done.

But there is something bigger inside you mind and heart - things you would really like to achieve. You recognize those things by the passion you feel for them. And if you feel passion for them, I'd say your soul is pointing you to a direction you should take.


You may end up noticing the original goal is not what you thought you wanted, but more likely than not you learn this only by moving towards that goal in the first place. It may lead you to an even more interesting goal, and has thus served its purpose. Hanging to outdated goals is no shortcut to happiness. Let them go and turn towards the better dream.


Sometimes your dreams are so big that you feel tempted to give in immediately.  Huge tasks with big chunks of work tend to do that.


Also comparing yourself to people who have already achieved the thing you want can be quite intimidating as well - especially if it is a skill you want to learn. When you first try to learn to play the piano, you should not expect to be a concert pianist immediately, to give you an example. Remember that many skills simply have no shortcut to happiness - they may take years of work.


Still, it is important that you first acknowledge your goals honestly. There is no need for you to say them aloud to people who would belittle your dreams. But be honest to yourself and say "This is what I truly want". Do not let anyone trample on your dreams.

When you have your dream stated, think of the one step you can do to move towards that direction. Take it. And once it has been done, think of the next step and take it.


You may have an overall idea of the steps leading to your dream, and if you do, write them down. And then take your baby steps until you have reached the first planned road sign to your goal, and then move forward to the next step. Don't try to know all the steps beforehand - most likely you can't. Plan what you can, and leave room for changes.


You can have several dreams to work on simultaneously.


What I do is that I look at each of my dreams, think what the steps to it are, and at the end of each week I write the next logical step of each dream into my calendar.


Then I work on those steps, one at a time, and after finishing one, move on to the next goal / step. When I have gone through all the steps in the calendar for that week, I repeat the cycle. This way all my dreams get their fair share of my time.


To help me in keeping up with all my goals and the things I need to do, I use a program called Goalscape. I'm a visual person, and it gives me an instant visual overview on where I am going with any given goal, as well as all the goals simultaneously. 


Be flexible with your dreams. They change. Some doors may close, and surprise doors may open. If you are too strict in following the path you originally planned, you may be hindering your own progress.



 It also helps if you don't create schedules that are too tight. Leave some space in your calendar to do nothing, to just be, and to meet friends and family. (If you are anything like me, you may even need to plan the do-nothing-times beforehand.) Sometimes the real shortcut to happiness (for a short while at least) is doing absolutely nothing.


There is something really satisfying in ticking the steps off the list one by one.


Remember to keep a record of all the things you have already done to reach your goal - maybe in a separate notebook just for this purpose. (I just keep them in Goalscape, without deleting the finished tasks)


There are always days when you feel you have achieve nothing. Looking through that list of already done things proves you are well on your way.


Writing down your goals, taking steps towards them - whatever they are - will give you a feeling of purpose, which is quite important in feeling happy.


Also when you have walked the path toward your goal for a while, you are more certain it can be achieved, and the words of other people should not longer make you doubt their validity.


Shortcut to Happiness -  the Feeling of Purpose

So in my opinion a very real shortcut to happiness is the feeling of purpose - and stating your goals and traveling towards them step by step is one of the ways to create that feeling of purpose.


Walking that path may take a long while (especially when new goals come to your mind), and I cannot say this is a shortcut to happiness in traditional sense (= achieving something huge instantaneously).


Still, walking that path, feeling satisfied for reaching those small milestones when you reach for your goal, can sure make you feel good.

Happy Tips for January


  1. Make a list of tomorrow's tasks already today - you'll sleep better when don't subconsciously worry about forgetting the things you need to do. A good night's sleep sure is a quick shortcut to happiness in these stressful times.
  2. Make time in your calendar for your family - do not take them for granted. Relationships need attention, and all to often we tend to take the nearest and dearest somewhat for granted.              
  3. Make time in your calendar for yourself - you deserve to live just for you sometimes. Plan something nice just for you, and keep your date with yourself.   
  4. Express your gratitude, if someone does you a kindness.   It makes the giver feel good, and shows you don't take their gift lightly. Also, if someone thanks you, accept their thanks. This way you tell the other person you appreciate them.   We all want to feel appreciated, so this way you just may gift that someone their shortcut to happiness.               
  5. Be ready to help others too, if they are in need of help. You calendar cannot be that tight… The world is not about taking only - pay back the good you've received.                  
  6. Use 15 minutes today to give thanks and acknowledgements. What good things have you received in your life? Whom can you thank for helping you achieve them? May be 15 minutes is not enough, when you really begin to count.   
  7. Learn to joke on yourself too - to laugh at yourself. Humorous outlook on life really gives you energy, and it is ok to be the funny one at times. Don't be too serious about life. Humor is definitely a most effective shortcut to happiness.    
  8. Do not give promises you cannot keep. Promises are like babies - easy to make, hard to deliver. You bet people will talk if you promised and didn't deliver.                     
  9. Be generous when you respect others - and do it from your heart. When you give, do not think what you gain. People will see right through you.                        
  10. Remember it is not important to be something, but someone. Throw titles aside, and be a caring human to others.        
  11. Put your clothes ready already in the evening. Yes, a little thing, but oh boy does it make the mornings easier.         
  12. Make a list of your goals - and break them into sub-goals. Yes, exactly as in the article on this page.                 
  13. Say "I love you" to your significant other every morning. It is amazing how often we forget to tell our loved ones we love them. Tell it, and see the miracle in your relationship. A loving relationship is truly a shortcut to happiness.           
  14. Say "I love you" every evening before you go to bed. Oh yes - say it again! It will make you and your loved one fall asleep more content.                   
  15. Eat a breakfast. It doesn't need anything big, if you can't stomach it. A smoothie, a fruit, maybe a cup of tea, toast... But do eat, your day will be that much more energetic. 
  16. Do something you love every day, no matter how small a thing it is. You'll learn to listen to your emotions, and respect your own values.                     
  17. Remember what you wanted to be as a child. Do you still want that? What could you do to make it true? Dream a little, and see if concrete steps come to your mind.            
  18. Do not say "I love you" if you don't mean it. With age you learn it is one of the most important things to be true to yourself and others.   
  19. Learn to say "no" when you really don't want to do something. It is not selfish to live as you want to live. It is selfish to demand others to live their lives as you would want them to live it.   
  20. Exercise - it can be little things, not necessarily gym. Keep your body flexible. The older you get the more important being able to keep balance becomes. So keep your muscles fit.        
  21. Keep the home clean every day instead of one day of great effort. Getting rid of clutter really gives you extra energy.                    
  22. Read a book. Any book that makes you immerse into the story. Good stress relief. Also by observing the emotions the text evokes teaches you a lot about yourself.      
  23. State why you like something. Choose one thing - and state ten things you like about it. Teaches you to search for positive things, which changes your outlook in life.    
  24. List ten things you are grateful for when you go to bed. "Just count your blessings instead of sleep, and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings" as the song says. Great way to induce happy dreams. 
  25. You don't always have to have an opinion - try one day without offering any words of judgement. Like Mother Theresa said: if you judge people, you have no time to love them.     
  26. Don't be over-productive. Just be sometimes. Your mind needs rest too. It's a well known fact that when you give your brains a rest, better ideas pop up than from an overworked mind. 
  27. Compliment someone. See how it brightens their day - and yours.                
  28. Call a friend. Really. Don't forget your friends - they are treasures life has given you. It takes a long time to grow an old friend, so don't waste them.                      
  29. Don't start a diet - just change one thing this month on the way you eat. Keep at it for a month. And then see if the next month there is another thing you can change in the way you eat. Be kind to yourself, and you'll see good results.       
  30. Go through your wardrobe. Throw away the small clothes. They just bug you down. Makes you feel better when you don't try to squeeze yourself into something too small.  
  31. Remember one occasion when you laughed so your stomach hurt. Began to chuckle at the memory? Good! Laughter gives quality into our lives.

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