Most people have some form of wish list, covering all sorts of things from the trivial to the fundamental. What we often are not aware of is the driver behind this wish list.

We all have a basic desire to feel good, to be happy, to be valued in our lives. The wish list is intended to bring us that good feeling. However, there is a big difference between the temporary feeling of pleasure when we get what we thought we wanted and the more solid sense of feeling good and happy most of the time.

Buying ‘stuff’, getting likes on social media, may fill a gap for us for a little while, but it will never provide us with what we really want. Even being successful in your career, having lots of money, will not give you that feeling of contentment with your everyday life, despite what our culture seems to suggest.

So we need to stop and consider that fundamental question of what we really want our lives to be like. This requires not just thought, but also imagination: what would it be like if I had what I want?

For example, if I geta new job, how will it affect my life? Will it enable me to spend more or less time with family and friends? Will I come home pleased with my day or stressed and exhausted? By imagining how your everyday life will be affected, positively and adversely, by adding or subtracting something from your life, you have a fuller picture of whether you really want whatever it is.

And it is important to realise that we can often make small changes to improve our everyday lives and feel happier, more content. Small changes can add up to a big difference in how good you feel. Whether it be going for a walk in the fresh air, or having a proper breakfast, or arranging to see a good friend more often, we can improve how we feel about our life with little effort and for free.

So next time you tell yourself you want something, just check it out: will it give you a momentary pleasure? (And that’s okay so long as you realise it). will it enhance your everyday life, or will it bring more negative than you want?

Appreciate what you already have  and look to continue to make life better – isn’t that what we’re here for?

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