We all get stuck sometimes. Becoming slaves to our own circumstances. Our days blurring into one, and our lives become dull and drab.
And even though it’s Monday and the week has just started we dream and long for the weekend.
After we suffer in silence for as long as our heart will allow we begin to think about changing our lives.
But changing your life is no easy task. And deep down we know that.
So is there something that you can do to help you with the process of changing your life?
Two researchers think they may have figured it out.
Kenneth Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky studied people who had recently experienced one of two types of change in their life.
The first type of change, labeled ‘circumstantial change’, involved relatively important changes to an individuals overall circumstances. For example, moving to a new house, getting a raise, and buying a shiny new car.
The second type of change, labeled ‘intentional change’, involved changes that required effort to pursue a goal or initiate an activity. For example, joining a group, starting a hobby, or changing careers.
Both of the groups reported having an immediate rise in happiness, but those experiencing circumstantial change, the people in the new house or driving the new car, quickly reverted back to their initial levels of happiness or lack thereof.
Meanwhile those people who had made an intentional change remained happier for much longer.
Well novelty does wear off.
Sooner or later that new car smell, or having dinner in your new home will become more and more familiar. So you won’t be able to find as much pleasure from those shiny new things.
But when you pursue intentional change you create a constantly changing psychological landscape that actually prolongs your happiness.
So if you’re thinking about changing your life go for intentional change.
Join a club, learn a new skill, meet new people.
Create new experiences for yourself.
Seek out opportunities to push yourself past your past.
You’ll be happier because of it.
IanReference: Sheldon, K. M. & Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). Is it possible to become happier? (And if so, how?) Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1, 129-145.