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Coach Coop: Finding happiness in the every day

By Michael O. Cooper

As athletes, we often focus on a goal, such as winning a race, a game or making it to the top of a mountain. While the goal is a peak experience, it is rarely attained in that one moment. The work we do before we enter the arena or strap on our gear is often more important than the final few seconds of your pursuit. Without the practice, the sweat and the pain, there are no accolades and victory-stand highs.

If you think about life through this same lens, are you letting life pass you by waiting to "win" it or hoping that when you land that special relationship all your hopes and dreams will come true? You've heard the old cliche that the journey is the most important. But think about that for a moment. Are you doing the work necessary to win at living? Do you have real goals with a plan to reach them? Are you measuring progress toward these goals just like your workouts? Are you enjoying this journey?

We have opportunities to enjoy the journey every single day. We don’t have opportunities to win a race, beat an opponent or reach the peak of Kilimanjaro everyday. So where is your focus? On the delayed gratification of some far off dream? Or right here, right now?

Do you enjoy going to the gym? Do you enjoy going to work? Do your eyes light up every time you see your partner? If not, then you are spending an inordinate amount of time not enjoying your journey. That should be a wake up call!

Now, I know it's not possible to love every second of every day, but are you married to struggling or not looking at the good in the moment you are experiencing now?

Here are a few ideas that may help you enjoy every day more:

No. 1: Connections
In today's wired world, people are feeling more and more disconnected. Close relationships tend to bring more enduring satisfaction than any material goods, gadgets or goals. After all, if you accomplish a feat like winning a race, is it any good if you don't have friends, family and lovers to share it with? Take time everyday to reach out to someone you love and really connect. Listening has proven to build others' self-esteem, so you don't even have to say much. Just connect.

No. 2: Major in small things
Some say love is in the details, rather than the lofty ideals. Others simply stop to smell the roses. No matter what you do, notice a few small things every day that bring a smile to your face. It could be that hottie you see on your way to work or a stranger who checks you out. Or it could be surprising a co-worker with lunch or their favorite drink. Or simply taking in the view and noticing how amazing nature is. I live in San Francisco. I’m surprised every day how a city this size has amazing geography, flora and fauna. It always puts a smile on my face.

No. 3: Look inside
Many of us work hard to buy the latest gadget, clothing, car, home or vacation. All of those things can bring pleasure, but they often last a short period of time and we're on to the next thing (including boyfriends!). Wanting external "things" can turn into a never-ending unfulfilled desire, even an obsession, compulsion or addiction. Instead, take a look inside. Take a moment everyday to find something about yourself that you enjoy. Get naked and look in the mirror. Marvel at how sexy you really are! Or check out the color of your eyes, the length of your toes, the curve of your butt. Find pleasure in being who you are.

The world evolves according to our focus. Where are you focusing?

Michael "Coop" O. Cooper is a personal life coach. Write to him at