With the passing of another Christmas season and nearing of a new year, I look back over the things I’ve done to figure out what I want to do more and less of.

Number 1, I like being happy and enjoy living a life of happiness.

With that, I’m going to do more things that help make me happy. Since part of my happiness is helping others be successful, you’ll be enjoying a growth in happiness as well.

So that I can work to increase my level of happiness another step for 2009, I’ve reviewed what’s made me happy in 2008. However, whereas in past years my "what makes me happy" list quickly presented itself and was quite short, this years list didn’t come to mind at all.

In fact, I pulled together a new list of things that don’t make me happy.

  • Long, meaningless meetings
  • Vagaries in contracts leading to excess work
  • Not getting to bed on time
  • Getting soft around the middle
  • Wondering when invoices will be paid
  • Being with "unhappy" people that complain a lot or don’t help themselves

It seems that in prior years, happy highlights were the outliers, but now unhappy outliers are the outliers.

Hmm… That means something important. Oh, I know, it’s this, in simple English…

I’ve made it! I’m living a happy life.

This means that on a daily basis, I’ve chosen to live and lead a happy life by doing the things that I enjoy doing and guess what? I’m not divorced, actually I’m happily married. We’re working on year 10 of being together. I’m not unemployed, in fact, I’ve become CEO of an American corporation in a niche market of a niche market of a niche market. How’s that for finding what you like to do and pursuing it?

The big question, "How did I move from an unhappy life to happy?"

The short and easy verbal answer is that I focused on what was important to me and let the rest sort itself out.

The hard part to that answer is that it’s easier to talk about something than do it. As I’ve written before, focus takes work.

The biggest way I’ve learned to focus is through better time management and picking priorities.

At a high level, I tend to focus on three major priorities. Then within those. I limit myself to no more than three describable, semi-measureable goals. Any more than 9 priorities and I’m finding myself diluted beyond an ability to accomplish any single one very well.

  • Family
    • Spend quality with my wife, Peichi
    • Save money for farm purchase
    • Socialize with friends and family
  • Work
    • Establish baseline Acqal processes and products
    • Grow Acqal in Chinese markets
    • Set Acqal as a top TYPO3 training and TYPO3 support company
  • Personal
    • Cultural immersion AKA travel, sociology, and language studies
    • Reading science fiction
    • Become a story teller

I’ve learned the hard way that setting priorities and not doing anything about them accomplishes and means nothing. If you don’t make your priorities important enough to yourself to do something about them, then you’re not going to be happy in the long run.

Why, you my ask. It’s simply really, you haven’t done anything to move from your current situation to a new situation.

From my own hard earned life manual, in getting started, when it comes time to do something, quickly review your priority list. Then…

  • If it’s a match, DO IT!
  • If there’s not a match and it’s counter productive to your priorities, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT DOING IT!
    • "No thank you, I have have other obligations at this time."
  • If there’s not a match, but you have time, it doesn’t take away from your priorities, and you’re interested in doing it, then DO IT!

Please take a moment to share with your questions and comments below.