Cultivating Bliss: How I went from Happy to Happiest
(and You Can, Too!)
How to Achieve Your Dreams, Embrace Your Curves, Make Time for What Matters, and Love Your Space While Feeling the Best You’ve Ever Felt in 2016
By Sheri Fink
Published in Life After 50 Magazine
The beginning of the New Year is a great time to not only gear up for the big game on Super Bowl Sunday, but also to set intentions for a healthy, happy year ahead. If you’re like me, you devour all of the standard “New Year, New You” articles only to be disappointed by the diet tips and recommended gadgets that don’t result in long-term bliss, or even short-term satisfaction. My guess is that you’re seeking something deeper and more meaningful.
I have a confession to make: right now, I’m the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life. I’m typically a pretty happy person naturally, but lately it’s been consistently off the charts and with a calm peacefulness that’s new for me.
I started to wonder what I’m doing differently and how my realizations may be able to inspire others seeking an adventure beyond the ordinary path. So, here’s what I discovered about cultivating bliss upon reflection:
- I’m taking extraordinary care of myself. I’m taking my own needs seriously and treating myself like I matter. Simply put, I’m prioritizing my self-care. That means I’m working out, meditating (most days), getting good sleep, taking dance lessons, spending time with people I love, and journaling daily. Each night I invest a few minutes in setting my priorities for my day ahead, aligning my actions with my biggest goals, and reflecting on my successes.
- I’m intentionally making progress toward my dreams … daily. Last summer I decided it was my time to finish writing my long-anticipated novel (which will be released on February 2 … Yay!), to really take care of my body (see point #1), and to exponentially grow my business. Every day I take at least one action in each category. Even it if seems like a small thing at the time, by the end of the week, those actions really add up and I feel satisfaction from no longer delaying my dreams. Momentum is building and it’s exciting!
- I’m setting healthy boundaries and being very selective about how and with whom I invest my time. Our time and energy are the most precious gifts we can give someone. I no longer squander them with people who waste or devalue my time. It felt awkward saying “no” at first, but it’s incredibly liberating and gets easier every time. And, if I see that someone is disrespecting my boundaries, I speak up. If I don’t like the outcome of that conversation, I say good-bye. No drama, no second-guessing, and no attachment.
- I’m eating carbs … daily and unapologetically. While on my fitness journey, I tried a variety of strategies that were recommended to me. One that I was told would have amazing results to help me “lean out” was to go low-to-no carbs a few days a week. Well, I tried that for a while, but it made me feel crazy. Suddenly food became a big focus, I felt extra emotional and weak, had disrupted sleep almost every night, was very critical of myself and my body, and sometimes couldn’t complete my challenging workouts. It just didn’t feel good to me.
So, I started eating healthy carbs (oatmeal, pistachios, raisins, veggie burgers, green drinks, apples, sourdough bread, etc.) again and occasionally enjoying less-healthy carbs (pizza, french fries, wine, ice cream, etc.) in addition to lots of protein-rich foods (fish, eggs, whey, lentils, Greek yogurt, etc.) and healthy fats (like coconut oil, avocados, and olive oil).The results? I feel energetic and emotionally balanced. I sleep through the night every night. I actually cook homemade meals and enjoy my food more. I feel strong and positive about my body. And, I feel good dining with friends without the drama of what to eat. I’m 4 lbs. heavier than I was at my lowest weight, but who cares when you feel the best you’ve ever felt!
I’m not sure why I ever wanted to look so “lean” when I’m naturally an hourglass-shaped woman. I’m extremely active and my body needs energy from real food sources. I am fit, healthy, curvy, and feminine … and most importantly, I am happy. Focusing so much on weighing less takes up valuable energy and attention that could be focused on being more. I guess I just didn’t question what society has trained me to believe about skinnier being better … it’s not, at least not for my body.Now, I’m happy to be taking care of my body and fulfilling its unique needs without allowing it to completely dominate my life and disrupt my well-being. I have a deeper respect and appreciation for my body and the life it enables me to live.
- I’m spending time in environments that feel good to me. My environments have always deeply affected me. Awhile back I lived in a space in which I couldn’t write. I don’t know why, but the words would never flow onto the page while I was there. I had to seek outside environments to express myself through my writing. That became very burdensome, as it is difficult for me to write in bustling environments like coffee shops and restaurants. My attention wandered, people came over and talked with me, and I ended up not accomplishing very much despite my best efforts.That all changed when I moved into a new place with more space, lots of light, and blissful quiet. I chose to keep only the things that are useful, beautiful, or bring me joy. It was a tough and time-consuming decision process, but worth the purge because now I’m surrounded by beauty.My environment energizes me in a whole new way. I’m writing all the time and the words flow beautifully. I don’t know why I waited so long to make a change that positively impacts my productivity every day. I love being and creating in my inspiring new space!
- I’m giving zero attention to what I don’t want / don’t like. When I have a negative thought, I no longer analyze it wondering where it came from, what it means, why I’m having it, etc. Instead, I just let it go. This one change has transformed my ability to focus on what I want to accomplish. I’m finding that I move a lot faster toward my dreams when I’m not constantly questioning myself.I choose to give my time and energy to thoughts that empower me. Thoughts are just thoughts until we energize them with attention and emotion. I consciously choose thoughts that help me achieve my goals and make a bigger contribution in the world, and that’s making all the difference.
There you have it, my realizations to create higher levels of joy, happiness, and fulfillment. I hope that this list helps you explore adjustments that could enhance your life as well. Wishing you a happy, healthy, and blissful year ahead!
About Sheri Fink
Sheri Fink is an inspirational speaker, a #1 best-selling author, an award-winning entrepreneur, and the founder of “The Whimsical World of Sheri Fink” brand.
Sheri writes books that inspire and delight kids of all ages while planting seeds of self-esteem. Her first book, The Little Rose, was a #1 bestseller on Amazon for over 60 weeks and became the #1 top-rated children’s e-book on Amazon. Sheri is the recipient of multiple literary awards including three gold medals in the Readers Favorite International Book Awards. All five of her children’s books were #1 bestsellers.
In 2013, her children’s book series received the Gold Mom’s Choice Award for excellence in family friendly entertainment. Sheri was selected by CBS Los Angeles as one of the top 3 authors in her local area, a distinction she shares with Dean Koontz. Sheri was honored with the 2013 Extraordinary Inspiration Award for her long-lasting commitment to spreading inspirational messages of hope and self-esteem through her books, her moving life story, and her brand.
Sheri’s newest adventure is a contemporary romance. She was inspired to write Cake in Bed, her debut novel, to empower women to be their authentic selves and to not settle for less than they deserve in life or in love, because everyone deserves to have their cake and eat it too … preferably in bed!