Heili Lehr, MA, LPCC – www.navigating-loss.com

The first step in making a change toward living a life that feels more satisfying is asking yourself what exactly it is that needs to change.  Yes, change itself is hard, but deciding what exactly needs to change can be the hardest part.

Psychiatrist William Glasser describes dissatisfaction with life as being measured by the distance between reality and expectation.  If your reality is falling short of what you expect out of life, then you have three options; change reality, change your expectation, or change both.

Most often, achieving life satisfaction necessitates a combination of changing both expectation and reality.  If what you want is to be as rich as Jeff Bezos, you might have to adjust that expectation to be something more realistic, but that doesn’t mean that an achievable raise, promotion or job change couldn’t bring reality up closer to something that would be more satisfying.

Is what you want for yourself something that is within your control to realistically achieve?  Is there a way to make changes in your life that bring reality up to meet your expectation, and/or is there a way to bring your expectations in line with reality and find satisfaction with something that is more realistic and achievable?  Asking yourself these questions will help you determine if the changes you need to make are external, internal, or both.

When making external changes such as getting a new job, meeting that special someone, or living a healthier lifestyle, try to focus on making all of your expectations of yourself process, and not outcome oriented.  You may not have control over the decision the hiring manager makes, the number on the scale, or the affections of another person, so focus on the processes to get there that are within your control.  These processes could be things like the number of resumes you submit each week, your food intake and exercise routine, or putting yourself out there in situations where you are likely to meet potential partners.

It may also be necessary to make internal changes and swap out those pictures you have in your head of what success will look like.  You can choose to be satisfied with what you currently have, or what is realistically achievable.  You can choose to let go of unrealistic ideals and replace them with realistically achievable committed actions that will take you one step closer to something you will find more satisfying.

Change isn’t always about doing something bigger, better and reaching for the stars.  Sometimes change can be a kinder, wiser and more accepting attitude toward what you have and what you are capable of achieving.

If you are struggling with satisfaction in life, and you are having difficulty making realistic changes to increase life satisfaction, I can help you discover ways that work for you.  Visit me at www.navigating-loss.com.