Happiness is something we all experience, but what may surprise you is that the feeling is the same regardless of who you are, where you are, or how you became happy. Whether you are a millionaire or a homeless beggar on the street, we all experience the same feeling of happiness regardless of the source. Perhaps the millionaire feels happiness when his investments make an amazing return for him while the beggar feels happiness when someone hands him a handful of pesos that allows him to get a place to spend the night, a warm shower, and food in his stomach. That feeling: happiness. It is the same regardless of who you are, where you’re from, and your circumstance in life. There is no better happiness because you have more money, or a poorer happiness. It’s the same feeling.

I feel happiness every time I see myself in the mirror, step on the scale, or put on a pair of pants that would have been laughably small for me two years ago. Trying on trousers at the store and finding it difficult to find a pair that fit because I’m thinner than the average man also makes me happy. I’m in the same size pants as I wore when I was a LCpl in the Marines.

I felt happiness when I was overweight; sure. It was for different reasons, but I felt it then, too. Only now, I feel it because of successes in my diet and fitness. Every time I hit 100+ push ups? Happy. At or under 165 lbs? Happy. Look in the mirror and see a healthy man? Happy.

Is it automatic? Not at all. Losing weight, in and of itself, did not change my perspective. Other aspects of my life did not change: work is work, responsibilities are still there, and the bills keep rolling in. Losing weight because you want to find happiness may not be the best goal because you really need to figure out what it is that is making you unhappy and perhaps try to fix that instead. However, it’s it’s your health that is making you unhappy, losing weight and getting healthy will help.

Happiness is not being beautiful, rich, or successful. There are plenty of beautiful, rich, and successful people who are unhappy. The trick is to find what brings you happiness and pursue those things. If you’re goal oriented, set attainable goals. If you think that the mere fact of losing weight will change your life, you are in for a disappointment. Losing weight can help make it easier to change certain aspects of your life, but surprisingly, not much else. Just because I’m 150 lbs lighter doesn’t make my resume any better. It doesn’t inflate my paychecks, nor did it bring me any amazing opportunities. It did allow me to begin running, and I now am competing against myself by working toward increasing my pace and distance running. I find happiness in successes there, but just losing weight didn’t make me a runner. It gave me the opportunity to start running.

Happiness is not a permanent state. It’s something we feel every now and then in those fleeting moments between everything else. It’s impossible to be in a constant state of happiness, although there are times when we can feel contented and happiness can last a while; it’s just not a permanent state. It’s also possible to be happy about things. That’s why memories of happy times are so powerful. They have the ability to allow us to relive a happy moment or time.

I’m happy now. I am happy a lot lately, and losing weight has been a big part of that, but it’s not the main source of it. I have found happiness in many aspects of my life that being healthy and fit have allowed me to experience. Find your happiness and make it happen.

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