One of many secret ingredients to happiness is this:
Choose your activities wisely. Choose activities that feel good when they are done, rather than activities that are easy or only feel good while doing them. The lasting impact of an activity doesn’t depend on how you feel during the activity itself, but how you feel once it is finished.
Doing the easy thing produces mere seconds of happiness, followed by many moments of regret whenever you think about it. Doing the hard thing produces mere seconds of suffering, followed by many moments of happiness whenever you think about it. This is true and lasting happiness: when we can produce feelings of joy and happiness merely by thinking about the good choices we’ve made.
Do what you will be proud of and feel good about when you wake up tomorrow morning.
We will inevitably be our future selves, we cannot escape that reality. You will be left with either regretful memories, or memories that make you proud and happy and last well beyond the actual choices themselves.
Actions have “lingering consequences” that continue to impact our mood and mindset well after the activity itself is over. Choose activities that have positive “lingering” effects, meaning they continue to bring you joy and happiness when you think about them, even after the activity itself is over.