It’s one many seem to overlook.
My name is Natasha Nurse, and the goal that changed my life was choosing to be happy. This seems like an obvious goal that everyone should have, but sadly, it is not the case. So many people are unhappy in the United States (especially in New York).
It was December 2015, and I was told I was losing my job. When this happens to most people, the first thing they want to do is panic. For me, I saw an opportunity to live my life in a whole new way. I decided to live by the following six principles:
Commit to my life motto: meet someone new and learn something new every day.
- Be happy every single day.
- Be daring and fearless, no matter what.
- Accept there is no such thing as failure—only teachable lessons.
- Live without regret (life is too short to live with regrets).
- Accept there is no such thing as no—only maybe not now or maybe with someone else.
- These principles helped keep me sane, focused and happy as I began my journey as an entrepreneur. This was the journey that not only gave me immense joy, but has led to opportunities in modeling, media, podcasting, radio broadcasting and journalism that I couldn’t have even imagined for myself.
The goal of being happy turned out to be the most important goal that I could have ever set for myself. Now, since living this way, I couldn’t imagine living any other way.
Now that you know my one goal that changed my life, I think it is important to focus on the practical steps I took to apply and stay committed to this goal. Here are my seven steps to success.
1. Get clear on your intention.
My one goal was happiness, because I was a person who focused on accomplishing many things in my life (starting at a very young age), but no one told me that I needed to make sure I was happy. Happiness was like an afterthought or completely irrelevant. I was groomed to be productive and accomplished. However, I soon realized accomplishments without a sense of happiness or joy were completely pointless, so I needed to make a change. I knew that if I shifted how I defined what success meant, then my entire life would change.
2. Create an action plan.
Goals are great. But if there isn’t an action plan in place, how likely are you to achieve that goal? Zero to none. For me to be happy, I needed to be very clear on identifying what made me happy. Luckily, I am fairly low maintenance, so the things on my happiness list include:
• Reading everyday
• Napping (when I really need it)
• Shopping (mostly on Vudu or Amazon)
• Prioritizing my needs
• Being creative (i.e. drawing, coloring, sketching, painting)
• Creating and developing ideas with the hubby
• Relaxing with the pets
• Watching movies and television shows (no matter how many times I have watched them)
• Working on my business (i.e. coaching, consulting, speaking at events, creating online content, etc.)
What was my action plan for happiness? It was simple. If I do at least one activity on this happiness list a day, then I was successful for the day. If I accomplish more than one activity, then I am a superstar.
3. Eliminate distractors or deterrence.
Eliminating naysayers, haters and toxic people was a huge step for me to take to succeed. Why? Those individuals are drowning in their own misery so much, they can’t help but attempt to bring you down as well. For me, cutting these people out of my life was the only way to have the freedom of time and mental capacity to focus on me, my business, and what I want to accomplish in this world. If you are determined to accomplish your goal, you will find yourself in the same boat (hint: this will be hard at first, but you will thank yourself repeatedly).
4. Hold yourself accountable.
When achieving a new goal, do you think it is important to have benchmarks along the way? Well, it is. In order to achieve a goal, you have to have tasks and steps along the way. You should attach deadlines to these to ensure your goal gets accomplished. As an overachiever, my goal is really a lifetime goal, so I needed to create a plan that required me to be accountable each day (aka Happiness Checklist). If you are working towards accomplishing a goal, how will you hold yourself accountable?
5. Be kind to yourself.
We can be our number one advocate or our very worst enemy. When we stumble or sometimes fall flat on our faces, it might seem natural to get down on ourselves. But I am here to tell you to stop it! This is neither helpful nor necessary for accomplishing your goal. Sometimes you are not going to hit the ball out of the park. Sometimes you will strike out. That is not only OK, it is a good thing. Stumbling or “failures” are a teachable moment where you can learn. Life is all about learning more about yourself and the world you live in.
If there are days where I don’t get to check something off my happiness list, I don’t tell myself that I failed. Instead, I accept that I didn’t take care of myself for the day. I identify what stood in the way of prioritizing my happiness, then make an action plan so that the next day I am back on target. Most of all, I am kind and understanding to myself. That is the only way to make sure I can start the next day with the best mindset and attitude possible.
6. Acknowledge every victory.
No victory is too small or too large to celebrate. By celebrating every victory, you are giving yourself motivation and confidence to keep pushing towards your goal. You can’t expect anyone to do this for you. Your goal will never be as important to anyone else as it is to you. So, smile and appreciate every victory along the way.
7. Document the process.
If you document your process (the good, the bad, and everything in between), then the following will happen:
You will have a record of the journey to look back and reflect on.
You will see just how much blood, sweat, and tears went into achieving your goal.
You will inspire others to pursue their dreams and to share their journey as well.
You will publicly hold yourself accountable for what you are looking to achieve.
It might not be easy to document the journey. When you achieve your goal however, you will be happy you took the time to document how you made your dream a reality!—Natasha Nurse
This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss. As the largest career community for women, Fairygodboss provides millions of women with career connections, community advice, and hard-to-find intel about how companies treat women.