Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until Tomorrow to Be Happy

October 27, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until Tomorrow to Be Happy

I’ll be happy when I make more money. I’d be happier if I owned a home.

Does this type of thinking sound familiar? I bet you could substitute your own, “I’ll be happy when…” or “I would be happier if…”

Unfortunately, I’m very familiar with those types of thoughts because I’ve entertained them more than I would like to admit. And I believe most people have as well. But that line of thinking is faulty and harmful. Here’s why.

You Miss Out on Today’s Happiness

Believing you’ll be happy only when certain conditions are met dismisses the good that is in your life today. When happiness is just around the corner, what does that say about what is going on in your life today? Even if everything isn’t all rosy (and when is it, anyway?) is nothing happening in your life right now that can be filed under “happy”?

Waiting for the planets to align to enjoy our lives blinds us to the joy that is right in front of us. We underappreciate today, and by the time we begin to wake up to that fact, we’ve already wasted precious time.

Author, Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend my entire life thinking, “Things will be good tomorrow.”

No, I want to spend my days, my life thinking, “Today is good. Today is awesome. And tomorrow will be too.” I want to choose to see and embrace the joy and happiness of today while being hopeful about the joy and happiness that tomorrow will bring.

You Wait Until Tomorrow to Start Living

When you believe your happiness will appear after you meet specific milestones, you tend to delay your life until those goals have been met.

I know this all too well. I just gave birth to my third child. There are about ten years between each of my children. Crazy, huh? Part of the reason they are so spaced out is that I was waiting for the PERFECT conditions before adding to my family. I wanted to have tons of money in the bank and wanted everything to be ideal.

Guess what? There is no perfect time to have children or to do anything, really. I’m reminded of a verse in the Bible that says “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”

By postponing life until “tomorrow”, you risk forfeiting your…LIFE!

Three kids. Three decades. 

Photo Credit: Karen Alquist Photography

I don’t regret having my children spaced out. It’s a unique dynamic. And I get to make jokes like, “I started early and finished late,” or “I have one child per decade,” and other things I think are clever but no one else does. Plus putting them through college is going to be soooo much “easier”. (Please note eye roll.)

But, it is a reminder that sometimes we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, the future, and the need to be perfect.

At the risk of sounding cliche, tomorrow is not guaranteed, so thinking it has the key to your happiness could leave you disappointed and without ever achieving the happiness you’re after.

Tomorrow Never Comes

Happiness is an elusive goal. When you attain what you have defined as your happiness benchmark, it will be replaced by another mark. And that will be replaced by another.

So in essence, we never quite reach the “happy” goal because it is continually shifting. It’s a moving target that we will never be able to hit. And the result is we run a perpetual and exhausting race.

Additionally, if you can’t be happy today, then most likely you won’t be happy tomorrow.

Find the Joy in Today

I believe wholeheartedly in being hopeful and expectant about what the future holds and working towards it. It is that hope that enables us to accomplish big goals and daunting tasks.

But I also believe in contentment and gratitude. It is those sentiments that allow us to have a healthy perspective on our current situations.

My hope for you and for myself is that tomorrow is filled with much happiness. But my greater hope for you, and again myself, is that we can find the joy in today.

So I encourage you, implore you…don’t wait until tomorrow to be happy. Choose to be joyful today.

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Do you have a list of “I’ll be happy when’s?” Stop focusing on them and pay attention to today. What good is going on in your life that you can celebrate?

Believing you’ll be happy only when certain conditions are met is harmful to the joy you could be experiencing today.