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5 Steps to Create a Happy and Successful Life on Your Terms

how to be happy

You’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing right?

But somehow it just doesn’t feel right.

You’re moving along on the path that you think you should follow. After all you’re not alone. Your friends are doing the same thing and your family has done it.

This is the way to success. It’s what you’re supposed to be doing. But somehow, despite what you’ve been told, it really doesn’t feel like success or anything close to it.

This is exactly how I felt after college. I was doing everything I thought I should be doing. But I felt disconnected, even when people cheered me on with approval. It was all because I was living their way.

If you continue down this path, once you finally get to where you think you want to be, you’ll realize that you made a huge mistake somewhere and feel incredibly frustrated.

But now you still have time to reroute.

It’s easy to constantly wonder why you’re unhappy when you’re seemingly doing the right thing. It seems correct because everyone else is doing it.

Besides, it’s what you been told, what you’ve been taught.

But just it’s because it’s the right thing for the masses doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you. Everyone is different, especially when it comes to things that speak to the very heart of you.

What Happened?        

You adapted this belief that the same carbon copy definition of success applies to everyone, but it doesn’t.

Everyone doesn’t have to live their lives the same way or even along the same lines to be successful and happy.

Instead of trying to live according to the generic idea of success you need to make it your own. You need to redefine success according to your terms.

You have to find out what you want and what makes you happy. This is the only way you’re going to live your dreams and feel truly fulfilled at the end of each day.

What You’re Going to Do

1. Determine where you want to succeed

It’s perfectly ok if you want to achieve success in different areas of your life. It’s even ok, if your main focus isn’t succeeding in your career.

Determining where you want to succeed is about where you, not others, want to see the most growth and flourish.

Identify what parts of your life mean the most to you and are tied into your happiness. Chances are those are the areas that need your focus. Then set goals to create your picture of success.

2. Know your goals in life

Once you know your key areas for success, your goals should be simpler to figure out. Just tease out the details that would make each area a success in your eyes.

As you sort them out it might be helpful to write your goals down.

Remember to set realistic expectations. The greatest achievements take time, so don’t get discouraged.

3. Identify your idea of professional success

Everyone’s idea of success at work is different.

I remember hearing, for the first time, someone tell me that they weren’t interested in getting promoted or moving up in general. At first I was taken aback, since typically most people want to move up as far as they can.

But I also intrigued by their comfort with it. It seemed as though they already knew how successful they wanted to be, and it was in their current position.

If you want to take over the company one day, good for you, start working on that. If you’re not interested in running your department one day and would much rather have solid personal relationships that’s great too.

Just make sure your idea of professional success is all yours, and most importantly, that you would be happy with it.

4. Figure out where you want to be in 5 years

This will help you get started on what you’ve uncovered so far. It also helps you determine what to expect in the coming years.

Knowing what you want for yourself for the future and actively working on making it happen will prevent you from experiencing disappointment when things don’t magically come together as you thought they would from just wishing it.

5. Balance it out

Balancing different areas of your life is an essential skill. You’ll often feel frustrated or stagnant when you put too much focus on one area and little on another, once you realize the lack in the latter.

Figure out a schedule or routine that allows you to enjoy your life while working on your goals.

You have to work out the right balance between it all so you can feel fulfilled and accomplished at the same time.

Forget About Them

Shed the beliefs of the community. When it comes to your happiness you’re the only one who has the answer.

Establishing your vision of a successful life and living it will guarantee your happiness to years to come. Even the journey, no matter how cumbersome, will be well worth it in the end.

Remember success will not be pleasant if it’s not in alignment with you. And isn’t being happy an important part of life? You know it is!



What are your terms? What embodies a successful and happy life to you?




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About Lea

Lea is a certified life coach, foodie and lifehack expert. Don’t end up like the millions of people who gave up on their dreams, get unstuck and to the next level. Take the eye-opening Live Your Dreams course now to get moving!

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  • Mark Newsome

    Tip number five is simply outstanding Lea!

    And please don’t get me wrong! While I can certainly relate
    to all five of your excellent tips.

    Number five really seems to offer a proven way forward, that all too
    often,the path gets lost in all the rumble and tumble of getting
    there in the first place!

    And # four also needs to be addressed, if nothing else, at least some some sort
    of semi long term goals definitely need to be set.

    Thanks for an excellent read!

    • Lea

      Thanks so much Mark! I agree. No matter what you’re doing or trying to achieve you have to balance it out with everything else you have going on. Or less things start to fall apart at the seams, and you can’t have that.

      Exactly. If you don’t have a plan or at least a starting idea of where you’re heading you’ll never get there. It’ll continue to be a moving target, moving farther away from you every time.

      As always, my pleasure indeed and I appreciate the feedback 🙂

  • Hey Lea,

    You really nail it in this post. Its tough not getting caught up in what everyone else is doing. Separating what we want versus what we are taught to believe we want. It’s never for the lighted hearted to take the path less traveled. Sometimes we even have to do what everyone else is doing to know we can’t do that.

    While my friends were settling down and getting married, I was travelling. The whole mortgage thing at a young age made me feel planted, stuck. I never forget I was looking at houses with my partner and my mum. They are all happy about this move and I had alarm bells going off inside of me. I knew it was not the right thing to do. This was years ago and I still remember the day, the house and the situation. One the of the best decisions I made never to follow through.

    Your ‘balance it out’ point is so important. Make a plan and go with it but balance everything else in your life out. We need to do this for a number of reasons. One to keep productivity alive and to keep our spark and fire alive. Taking ourselves away from our work certainly makes us enjoy when we’re back at it.


    • Lea

      Hi Rachel,
      Sorry for getting back to you so late. Things have been really, really crazy on the home front. Thanks!

      It’s really good that you were able to pick up your own signals and acted on them. Most people just end up going with the flow and live the life everyone else wants for them with resentment. The fact that you still don’t regret your decision shows that you made the right one.

      Thanks for commenting. I hope you’re doing well.

  • Hi Lea,

    Oh my goodness, this made me so happy to read. I could connect so well with what you shared. I used to be the one driving to climb the career ladder at my other job and now I am the one saying I am comfortable with where I am. I prefer to put my energy into my own business.

    I also could relate to what you shared about not everyone lives the generic lifestyle. I know I was well on my way to that lifestyle because I doubted going for what was different. I am so glad I took the right path to my journey. It is just a way of life for me and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    You share such powerful and motivating words Lea. I am so glad I’ve connected. Have a great week. Keep shining on like you do. We love your messages.

    Take care.


    • Lea

      Hi Irish,
      I completely agree with you. I used to pull 80+ hour weeks years ago for a company I worked for. Then I realized that if was willing to work that hard, why not do it for myself. It would surely get me a lot farther.
      Yes, going for something different is scary which brings on a lot of doubt. But I’m beginning to accept that nothing is guaranteed, and you just have to have faith and give it your all.
      Thanks so much Irish. I really appreciate the feedback. I’m so happy to have connected with you also!
      Talk to you soon,

  • Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog

    This is such a great post. It’s important to remember that success looks different to everyone and different people want to achieve success in different areas of their lives.

    I struggle with envisioning how I want my life to look in the future. I feel like so much of it is dependent on external factors. I really need to come up with a vision so that I can work backwards and get where I need to be. So far, I’m taking it one year at a time so that I don’t become overwhelmed.

    • Lea

      Thanks Aliyyah. That is very true. It’s such a shame that growing up they portray success as a cookie cutter thing that is the same for all.
      I know what you mean, I have a similar struggle. But you can only do what you can do, so you just have to do that. Hope that makes sense lol. Glad you know that working backwards is the best way. Good plan, best of luck friend.