Wish you a very happy Ugadi and Gudi Padwa. I wish you joy and celebration with your family and friends today and the entire year through.

Have you noticed that while the words joy and happiness are often used interchangeably but joy is a simple standalone emotion, whereas happiness is a function of many factors? Joy has the potential to crack through to you even during hard times. You feel joy in a child’s laughter, a bunch of flowers, a piece of cake, a cup of coffee with friends, weddings, childbirths, and so many other big and small things. It is a very in-the-moment emotion. While you are experiencing joy, you forget everything else. Happiness, being a function of many things, requires work.

Joy allows for hope and can serve as a bridge to happiness. It is a reminder that even when things are not going well, there are still things in our lives to be thankful for. On this auspicious day of Ugadi and Gudi Padwa, let us vow to let joy into our lives as often as we can while consistently working to create happiness for ourselves.

How would you create happiness for yourself? Let me share a simple and practical way to do this-

I invite you to list everything that is important to you, such as professional success, relationships, financial security, intellectual growth, good health, creativity/hobbies, and so on.

Once you have created your list, rate your current level of satisfaction with each of these aspects of your life on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest.

Choose two elements for which you have given yourself the lowest score. These are the areas of your life with respect to which you clearly are not as happy as you would like to be. Please delve deeper and consider the ten questions listed below for each of the elements –

  • What makes this element really important to you?
  • What is missing in your life because this element is not as robust as you would like it to be?
  • How would your life change if you had more of this element, in your life?
  • How would you feel if you could have as much of this element as you wanted?
  • What could you do to improve it by 5%?
  • How will you know if you are getting better?
  • What will you have to say ‘no’ to in order to accommodate the new action steps you have decided to take?
  • When are you going to start?
  • How much time do you plan to devote each week to improving this aspect of your life?
  • When do you intend to schedule these actions?

The next step is to keep your promise to yourself and find a friend who will check in with you once a week and keep you motivated and accountable. You will find that small changes have added more happiness and control to your life.

Joy allows us to move through life with optimism and work toward happiness. Moments of joy, revitalize us and help focus our energy on what is truly important to us. Following the practical tips outlined above, we can identify the areas that will make the most difference in our lives and take small but consistent steps to effect the desired change. Finally, enlisting the help of a friend can help us stay accountable and motivated on our path to greater happiness. Let us use the auspicious occasion of Ugadi and Gudi Padwa to renew our commitment to actively seeking joy and working towards a happier and more fulfilling life for ourselves.