Does it sound simple to always choose happiness? Actually, it isn’t and most of us don’t. We all say we want to be happy but don’t realize that it can take more work to choose the path of happiness than that of unhappiness. It’s easier to continue a bad pattern than it is to make changes. Think about how much easier it is to say “yes” to someone when they ask you to do something you don’t want to just to avoid the guilt you’ll feel or the disappointment they may feel if you say “no.”

Often times, finding your own happiness means saying “No,” letting people down, and doing things that are uncomfortable in order to get comfortable.

I am a natural people pleaser, so in order to find my true happiness, I need to constantly fight the urge to make others happy before myself. Yes, there are times when we sacrifice for our loved ones or do things selflessly simply out of the kindness of our hearts, but there must be a balance. I always know when my balance is off because I start losing my patience and temper more easily. A little thing like being asked to do a small favor for someone else sends me into a rage. I think, “How dare this person ask me to help them? Don’t they realize I have so much going on already?” When that reaction comes out of me, I know that I have not made enough time for myself.

Another lesson learned is that even when I do jump the gun and agree to things I don’t really want, I have the choice to verbalize that I have changed my mind.

It’s always easier to say “no” from the beginning, but that’s not always an option because people, life, and situations change. Life is always moving and growing, so making happiness a priority takes constant effort.

Having happiness in your life means making a lot of sometimes difficult choices. In every choice we make, from what we eat for breakfast to who we let into our lives, we have to be able to know what it is that makes us happy. Are choices being made out of fear, insecurity or avoidance? It may sound like a lot of work to have to do this with everything in life, considering there are hundreds of choices to make each day, but developing the habit of tuning in to you before making any decisions will become second nature.

I think of it like muscles that need to be strengthened. The more we practice, the easier it is to quickly identify what resonates with us, aligns with our desires, speaks to our hearts and then act accordingly.

Even if what speaks to you initially, ultimately changes in the future, it will always be okay because you lived true to yourself in that moment. Truth in our choices and actions is all we can ask of ourselves.

Don’t do things because you have to, do them because you want to. No one is responsible for your own happiness except for yourself. Making happiness a priority means choosing you first and foremost and sticking to the boundaries you set.