Name your vice. We all have at least one. And while some are cute and innocent, others create a huge burden and destroy lives. And most vices keep us from experiencing true joy. They steal it away and leave us feeling empty and drained. There is only one way to find our way back to feeling true joy.
You get to a certain point in life where you have to weigh what's really important. You need to take good care of yourself but at the same time not torture yourself. You need to have little things you can look forward to throughout your day. Some of these can be good for us like going for a walk, talking to a friend, reading a good book, etc. But sometimes our little things can be unhealthy choices like smoking cigarettes, drinking to excess, or overeating. All of which I have personally struggled with. The "joy" that we get from these unhealthy vices is not real joy. It's temporary comfort and it will only get us so far and then leave us with nothing.
When we spend all your time and energy focusing on these temporary comforts, they become our only source of happiness. We've all experienced those days where all we want to do is have a cigarette or a drink or a Big Mac and it will make everything better. We become so obsessed with obtaining our little comfort that we start to ignore all the things that could actually give us true joy. What's worse, is these little vices usually steal away our energy to pursue the things that would bring us true joy. For example, the things in my life that bring me true joy are achieving goals, getting in shape, spending time with family and friends and creating music. When I sit at home and eat pizza and ice cream all day, this temporary comfort steals away my energy and motivation to do anything else. I feel bloated, lethargic and gross. Now, instead of pursuing those things that would bring me real joy, I only have the energy to watch Netflix and go to bed.
The real joy comes when we conquer our addictions and achieve our goals. It comes from changing our bad behaviors and embracing new ones that will guide us to victory. Losing 20 pounds, that's true joy. Spending time with people who love you, that's true joy. Pursuing your dream job, that's true joy. I know when I start to feel miserable it's because I am spending all my energy on temporary comforts and I don't have enough things in my life that are feeding me real joy.
I know change is hard. And breaking bad habits takes time. But while you are working on that, make sure you have lots of "joy givers" in your life every day. Go outside. Go for a walk See more sunsets and sunrises. Go to more movies. Go to more concerts and Broadway shows. Get involved in community events. Get a dog. And give money to everyone who asks. Give more. Love more. And go achieve your goals. That’s where we find true joy. And eventually, you will be so busy with these true joy giving activities, that you will eventually not have any time or energy left for the ones that steal it away. And I don't know about you, but that would make me pretty darn happy!