Happiness is Truly Up to You

Can you determine your own fate? Before extrapolating a lifetime, contemplate how you decide the fate of your day, any given day.

Happiness is Something You Decide Ahead of Time

I bought a sign that tells me so at a craft store. It rests on my bathroom vanity to remind me in the mornings who is in charge of my day’s outcome. That would be me.

Craft sign with inspirational wording about happiness
A mantra sign in my bathroom!

Granted, something you cannot control can happen, but how you react is up to you too. How hard is this in practice? Very, especially when we get into routines and forget our own advice.

Last night, a friend shared a postcard on Instagram that reads:

Imagine If We Obsessed about the Things We Loved About Ourselves

Wow, I needed that reminder. I tend to create to-do lists with unattainable schedules and then beat myself up for not meeting goals. To be sure, these objectives need to be identified before anything can be accomplished with purpose and results. But, I must be mindful to reflect on accomplishments and experiences, large and small. How often do we celebrate the small moments? The incremental change?

This morning, I awoke with my to-do list front of mind and raced to the office to get going on it. I also reviewed affirmations of what I like about myself. What attributes do I have to contribute? What little things do I like? How do I shape my days? The day progress and things popped up unexpectedly, but things that are most welcome.

I had new experiences and met new people. I got back to my office and knocked out some work too. I’m mostly prepared for tomorrow, but not completely, and that’s OK.

My big goal for tomorrow is to carve out a little time in the afternoon for me, to stretch, to think, to smile.

Foxhound-Catahoula Leopard Dog mix reclining on couch.
Mr. Higgins, a.k.a., The Sage Leopard

I started this blog as a passion project to celebrate what I love most, including my dog, my cooking and my quality time outdoors. Life is ever evolving, which is wonderful. There are also constants, which for me include great cooking, dogs and laughter. Those are things I choose to celebrate.

What do I love about myself? Admittedly, it seems like a cringe-worthy contemplation, of someone self-centered and vain. Remember, though, we become what we choose and so to better ourselves we should visualize what we appreciate and what we want.

Catahoula Leopard Dog puppy with blue merle markings.
Our puppy knows how to be happy.

Good luck,

The Sage Leopard

Plan Your Life to Enjoy It

You only get one life, so don’t let it get away from you. There is that old cliché that life happens while you are making other plans, but I truly believe you need to plan your life. After all, when things happen, you still get to do more with your life if you plan a good amount of it. And those are the things you get to choose.

Kayaking is one of my favorite activities
Kayaking is one of my favorite activities

Think about it: I bet you have a business plan where you work, a retirement plan (or plans for a retirement plan), vacation plans and plans to spend the holidays with family. You probably have a shopping list and a to-do list. A meal plan, perhaps? A workout plan. Maybe you are really on the ball and planned a garden. You catch my drift. What are your plans this week? I don’t mean where you need to be at what time for some event or obligation. What are you planning for at home to enjoy yourself? Have you ever scheduled a break for yourself? Say, 8:00-9:00 p.m. Tuesday ______ fill in the blank.

Baking is as much fun as a party to me
Baking is as much fun as a party to me

Read magazines, do yoga/meditate, scroll through Pinterest, listen to music, etc. I’m serious. How many weeknights get filled with mindless TV watching? Want to take your dog to a state park but never do? Plan it. Put it on the calendar and then do it. If something comes up for that day, remember you already have plans with your dog.

One of our dogs really loves road trips so we take him on vacation when we can
One of our dogs really loves road trips so we take him on vacation when we can

Been wanting to do a girls night out, maybe one of those wine and painting shindigs? Well, pick a date, book a reservation and send out some invitations. Use Hobnob or another easy invitations by text apps. What else should you be planning? Maybe a relationship? In scuba diving, there is a simple practice for safety: plan your dive and dive the plan. This way you and your dive buddy are operating on the same page. With this basis, you can easily stick together and feel comfortable as the dive progresses.

Divers have a plan before they enter the water
Divers have a plan before they enter the water

If a need arises for a change in plan, you might just more easily communicate each other because you entered the water confidently with an understanding. It’s probably a good idea in everyday living within a relationship to run status checks on the relationship plan. What is the plan? A good relationship doesn’t run on autopilot. How do you frame out what you want so your life doesn’t run on autopilot? I like the structure of lists and calendars. I love the Evernote app and how I can access it easily by phone or laptop. I’m also low tech and use chalkboards and graph paper to plot out my plans, both business and personal. I’m thinking about making a dreamboard, but in the meantime using Evernote for a virtual dreamboard to pin images and write notes for big and little ideas.

Seeing the world with fresh eyes each time I clip in on my road bike
Seeing the world with fresh eyes each time I clip in on my road bike

I need to find a quiet space, with no TV blaring or appliances running, and open that dreamboard. There I can decide what should be in my life and what I can delete. Go ahead and plan your life to know you are doing what you really want and not letting life just happen. Often, just the process of focusing on things you love feels great! Just closing my eyes to let my mind’s eye wander to those places is enjoyable. For me its being outdoors – on a kayak, in the garden, walking the dog, riding my bike, sitting on a beach, cooking dinner, baking something for a party or drinking coffee before dawn while listening to mockingbirds. Sometimes when life is passing by, it is a good idea to build these things we love back into our schedules. This is what I mean with the Sage Leopard motto of Reclaim Your Quality Time, Craft Your Own Happiness.

My dog did not much care for his travel crate
My dog did not much care for his travel crate

Cheers,

The Sage Leopard