Have you ever had a moment when you realized your life isn’t exactly where you want it to be? Don’t worry: you’re not alone. Feeling unmotivated or directionless is a common issue, and it’s one that can leave you feeling sad, alone, or even depressed. Fortunately, there’s a flipside: taking steps to pursue your passion can help you find a happy heart. Here are some tips for a happy heart.

Six Ways to Pursue Your Passion

Tip 1: Discover What Motivates You

To pursue goals that don’t resonate with you is a fast way to feel unhappy. To push yourself in a direction you’re not interested in going is hard work, and the rewards are few. Take some time out to discover what you’re truly passionate about. Are you interested in finding success in your career? Do you want to spend all day with your family? Do you have ideas to make the world a better place? Are you passionate about creating art and music? To understand yourself and the things that make you happy is the first step to pursue your passion.

Tip 2: Set Small Goals

It’s easy to get caught up on end results. While it’s important to set goals, it’s equally important to recognize that you can’t control outcomes. Set small goals, because it’s a useful tool.

Rather than feeling overwhelmed by a large idea (such as quitting smoking, finding a new job, or losing 50 pounds), start creating smaller goals to help along the way. Make it your goal to send out three resumes which is easy to accomplish, and it puts you on your way to finding the job you want. Saying no to an extra serving of dinner is something you can feel good about, and it will help you towards your goals. Before long, those smaller victories will add up, and you’ll find yourself accomplishing things you’ve never dreamed of.

Find out more about the science behind setting (and achieving) goals from this fascinating TED article.

Tip 3: Make Self-care a Priority

Getting caught up in your family, your job, and your progress towards your goals can make it easy to overlook one crucial area: your own health. Taking good care of yourself is vital to a happy heart.

For some of us, self-care means paying close attention to the basics. It means eating healthy, delicious foods, getting plenty of sleep, making wise choices about personal care products, and creating time for exercise and positive social experiences. For others, it means taking time out of the day to relax or pursue a hobby.

While these aspects of self-care might seem simple, in today’s busy world they can sometimes feel out of reach. It’s not selfish to take time each day for yourself. In fact, it’s absolutely essential. Treat your “me-time” like any other task. Clear a half hour in your schedule every day and use it for yourself.

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Tip 4: Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude (noticing and reflecting on the things you’re grateful for in your life) is incredibly beneficial for a happy heart. You’ll feel more positive emotions, express more compassion and kindness, and some research suggests it might even help you sleep better.

Gratitude and happiness go hand in hand, but it can be difficult to remember to feel thankful. If you’re having trouble saying ‘thanks,’ try to find something new to feel gratitude about every day. They can be big things (“I’m so thankful for my family”), but the little things can be just as important. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to track the things you’re thankful for, or use social media to share your thanks with the world.  Find what makes your gratitude feel fresh and new, and embrace it.

Tip 5: Surround Yourself with Positive Influences

It can be difficult to pursue your passions when you’re surrounded by people who bring you down. Now, we’re not suggesting you cut off ties with people who tend to be negative now and again (though you should never feel bad about ending a relationship that is truly toxic). What we are saying is that now is a great time to start attracting more positive people in your life.

Easier said than done, right? Well, there are a few things you can do. First, keep in mind that like attracts like. Showing positivity in your own interactions can help you connect with other positive people. Focusing on the best qualities in others can help to bring them to the forefront. Finally, trust your instincts: if a relationship is feeling right (or wrong), don’t ignore that feeling.

Tip 6: Forgive Yourself for Failures

Whether you’re working your way towards a large goal, or you’re simply trying to find a little more happiness in your life, one thing is for certain: there will be times when you fail. And that’s okay! Everyone makes mistakes: the important thing is that you learn and move on.

Avoid making things personal: just because you experienced a setback doesn’t mean you are a failure. Instead, decide what you can learn from the experience, then walk away. Give yourself 24 hours at most to think about the experience, then put it behind you. There’s always a new challenge ahead. Focus your energy on the positive things coming in the future.

Following your passions and taking time to care for yourself can help you find the happiness in your life. Never stop looking for new ways to inspire happiness.