What I really need to be asking–and what I encourage you to ask yourself–is this: “Am I happy from week to week and from month to month?”
Because it’s only over the long-term that you can get an accurate sense of your overall happiness.
But first, an example of the wrong kind of happiness tracking.
At my job, I help small businesses improve their rankings online. Many business owners obsess over their daily ranking fluctuations on Google. I repeatedly tell them to NOT do this. Looking at your daily ranking fluctuations is like trying to base your happiness on the stock market–you just can’t do it. The ups and downs of daily life will always happen. What these business owners need to consider is if their Google rankings are trending upward over periods of three months, six months, and longer.
And that’s true for you when you’re tracking happiness.
If you just focus on daily happiness, you’ll drive yourself mad. There’s just too much fluctuation. But when you look at the past three months of your life, one whole quarter of a year, you can start to see happiness trends.
It’s from this zoomed-out approach that you get a better idea of if you are making decisions that are making you happy. You can start to see patterns. You get big-picture information.
So, the next time you worry about whether you’re happy RIGHT NOW, take a step back.
Look at the last three months of your life. And then look at the last three years. Are you consistently putting yourself on a path to happiness? Or are you not making the right decisions for yourself?
Don’t get stuck in the day to day.
Focus on the weeks, months and years of your life.
That’s where you’ll find the most valuable emotional data.
What do you think of this approach? Have you tried it before? Do you think it could work for you? I’d love to get your take on this.