Can we be happy already?

I'm reading a book on happiness right now, and it made me think about its connection to life coaching.

Most clients want to improve their lives or be more successful doing what they love. Part of the process ends up being learning to enjoy where you are right now. Without the ability to appreciate how special and awesome we each are, there is no sense in going after something new.

Otherwise, how will you ever know that you have what you want?

As Americans, I find we're really good at striving. We're less good, or just plan awful, at being satisfied. Maybe satisfied for 10 minutes after getting the promotion you worked hard for, after seeing the sunset while on vacation, or after finishing your first marathon.

But then what happens? Likely, you move right back to striving again—setting your sights on a new mountain to climb.

I have faith that we all (myself included) can do better than 10 minutes. The longer you can savor whatever you have accomplished or your life is right now, the better. A week, a month, a year of savoring are all possible.

Ask yourself, 'what makes me most happy'?

There is a common misconception that being happy means you won't be successful. Reminiscing is for retirees or people on their deathbeds. There is no rest for everyone else. There is just more to do and to be.

On the contrary, I think that both can happen simultaneously. You can be happy with your life, and successfully moving forward. The difference is that what you are moving towards is more aligned with what makes you happy, rather than moving toward anything that keeps you moving. Or, that keeps you on pace with the other unhappy strivers around you.

Before you can focus on moving, though, you really need to get down the whole being happy part.

Here's one method: jot down five things you're happy about right now. Repeat this every time you think of it during a day. Before you get up in the morning, before you go to bed, every time you leave your desk. Make it part of your to-do list.

From there, you can branch out any number of ways. For instance, asking yourself what makes me most happy. When are my happiest moments during the day? What does this say about what I'm doing, and what I'm currently striving for? If you're deciding between two things: which of these brings me more happiness? How do I extend this feeling into everything I do?

The choices are endless. Mostly this exercise is a chance to get to know yourself better. To understand where your motivation lies and to slow yourself down. I hope you'll share your own tips for what works for you.