The secret to happiness lies in the way you live your life. People think of happiness as some destination they’ll reach when they’ve accomplished the hundred things on their life to-do list. Happiness is often associated with money, material possessions, or even great relationships.

While all of those elements feed into creating happiness, you’ll experience true joy and fulfillment with clarity and by taking better care of yourself. When you spend each day optimizing your life, the consistency compounds, and you’ll experience the benefits of progress. 

The chances are good that you give a lot of yourself to other people while neglecting your wellbeing. You feel tired and burnout because you’re not taking care of yourself first and foremost. 

Here are three ways to treat yourself better, optimize your life, and experience the true freedom that comes from creating healthy habits and doing the personal growth work. It’s time to become your own happiness gatekeeper. 

1. Be honest about what you want, minus the expectations of outside influences. 

It’s easy to spend years of your life running in circles, feeling as if you’re accomplishing something but getting farther away from what you want. The lack of clarity is why too many success-seekers never feel satisfied and often chasing shiny objects. What do you want for your life? Be honest. If you thought about the perfect day — what would that look like? Is that what you’re doing now?

The expectations and influences of our parents, family, friends, clients, and those we see on social media tend to feed into our minds and distort what we think we want. Just because a particular life is appealing to someone else doesn’t mean it’s what you want deep inside of you.

You’ll never make the kind of progress that makes you happy without clarity. You can’t treat yourself better if you don’t even know what “better” means specifically for you. It’s long overdue to examine what you want and what doesn’t serve you. That clarity and the decisions you make might rub others the wrong way, and that’s okay as long as it’s what you want. Don’t let external expectations put you on a path that derails your road to accomplishment and a better version of yourself.

“It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” – Diane Von Furstenberg

2. Add an abundance of pleasure to your routine.

Name the last time you experienced pure exhilaration? If you can’t remember the last time — you’re on the path to burnout, frustration, and bitterness. It’s important to work hard, and each of us has more to give than we realize. But, if your life and routine only involves working on your goals — you’ll come to hate how you spend your days. 

You need fun things and to be doing things that aren’t considered work. Adding an abundance of pleasure breaks up the work and creates anticipation. You train your mind to look forward to taking time off.

Now, what “pleasure” means will be different for each person reading this. Only you know what you enjoy, and you should be honest about what that entails. The goal is to build a life of freedom — that means work and play have an equal place in how you plan and implement. 

You’ll find your productivity increases as you take breaks and reward yourself with fun activities. The only caveat is don’t tip the balance the other way. Don’t let the fun take over the work — you can achieve harmony. You’ll take better care of yourself with balance.

3. Work hard now for a lifetime of freedom later. 

There’s a lot to be said about short-term sacrifices to experience a lifetime of freedom. The idea falls in line with the 20% of the work you do can lead to 80% of the results. What would happen if you spent the next six months going hard on your goals (in a balanced way)?

There are moments when that focused window of hard work exponentially compounds. Treating yourself better means you do the work that creates freedom, financial security, and a healthy you. A dedicated window of hard work can get you there.

Success is not an end destination, but there are goals you can work to accomplish. When you envision your dream life, you probably see the results of achieving those goals. Decide to go hard in blocks. Create a plan that works harder for focused periods.

As you’re reading, this is an excellent opportunity to start your hard work block now is that you experience a lifetime of freedom. Take better care of yourself by committing to make the sacrifices needed. 

Success starts with how you treat yourself. It’s easy to lose focus on the fact that you’re making changes for yourself. Get clarity on what success and accomplishment mean for you. Stop living your life for others — stop putting everything else before what you need to feel whole. Take better care of yourself and optimize your wellbeing. 

Source: Success