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Ted Talk 215: Stop Saying “I’ll be happy when…” (And Enjoy Your Life Right Now!)

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Ted Talk 215: Stop Saying “I’ll be happy when…” (And Enjoy Your Life Right Now!)

Do you often find yourself delaying your happiness for a future moment? Do you play the game of “I’ll be happy when ….(fill in the blanks)?” and forget to enjoy the present moment?

Most of us tend to do that, we tend to think that happiness will come in a future event when one of our goals is achieved. But when that moment comes we don’t really know how to enjoy it, or the happiness we’ve been waiting for for so long, only lasts for a very short time. Then we delay it again, and again, and again… with another goal, with another “when…”

Unfortunately, this “I’ll be happy when…” syndrome, that is very common among human beings  nowadays, usually leads to self sabotage. When our mind is busy dreaming and wishing for something in the future, for something we don’t have, it is easy to forget to appreciate and enjoy what we already have.

So, we end up living an unhappy, unfulfilled and meaningless life while always waiting for the next future moment that will finally fill our existence with happiness and meaning. 

But what if I told you that you can be happy in this moment, you can enjoy your life right NOW? Wondering how you can do that? How to break the toxic cycle of “I’ll be happy when…”? Check out this new Legendary Life Podcast episode to find out!

Ted Ryce is going to talk about the real purpose of setting a goal, about why reaching a goal won’t always make you happy and how delaying your happiness creates a lot of stress in your life. Plus, he shares the three effective steps you should take to learn how to enjoy your life right now!

So, if you are tired of playing the game of “I’ll be happy when…” and want to learn how to start enjoying your life right now, tune in for this new episode! Listen now!


You’ll learn:

  • The real purpose of setting a goal
  • Only challenging goals leave a meaningful impact in our life
  • What is hedonic adaptation and when does it happen
  • Reaching a goal won’t always make you happy
  • Why we shouldn’t focus too much on the outcome of our goals
  • Delaying our happiness creates a lot of stress
  • 3 simple steps to enjoying your life more right now:
  • And much more…


Related Episodes:  

Ted Talk 117: The Magic Ratio For Happiness: The Secret To A Happy And Fulfilled Life with Ted Ryce 

468: How to Find Happiness, Focus & Productivity No Matter How Busy You Are with Jeff Sanders 

RTF 96: How To Stop Being So Hard on Yourself 


Links Mentioned:

Join The Unstoppable After 40 Newsletter

Learn More About The Unstoppable After 40 Coaching Program

Schedule a 15-Minute Strategy Call with Me!

Watch My Body Breakthrough Masterclass  

Connect with Ted on X and Instagram


Ready to make 2024 your best year ever? 

We just opened spots for our Unstoppable After 40 Coaching Program starting this month.

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If you want to learn more about our program, click here!

We have limited spots, so click here to book a call now!

Podcast Transcription: Ted Talk 215: Stop Saying “I'll be happy when…” (And Enjoy Your Life Right Now!)

Ted Ryce: Are you playing the game of “I’ll be happy when?” You know what I’m talking about? When we tell ourselves that, "Well, I’ll be happy when I can fit back into my clothes. I’ll be happy when I get the kids into college. I’ll be happy when I start earning six figures, or when my business hits that seven or eight figure mark, that’s when I’ll be happy."

Have you ever said that to yourself? Well, most of us have, especially if we’re from the western modernized, wealthy countries, we play this game. And I know because I work with these people. In fact, I was one of these people. I used to play that game myself. So if you resonate with that, if you’ve been playing that game, we’re going to talk about why that’s stopping you from achieving the goals that you’ve set for yourself. 

And listen, even if you answered no, trust me on this, most of us have a belief like this floating around in our psyche. I mean, as a coach, I hear this all the time from my clients. I hear it from people on social media, people who believe they’ll only be happy when they reach a certain weight, body fat percentage, or some other external achievement.

And when you tell them the kind of new agey sounding advice to, “Well, it’s about enjoying the journey,” where they say, “Enjoy the journey? Whatever. It’s all about hitting that goal, Ted, it’s all about hitting that goal. If I don’t hit that goal, I mean, what else is there?” 

And listen, what I want to tell you is in my journeys around the world and working with some of the top coaches, top personal development people and doing my own work, you could say, on myself, healing, working with therapists, trying different methods to go deeper to generate more self-awareness.

And I’ll tell you this, having goals is awesome. And I have goals, I’ve got goals for my health, I’ve got financial goals, I’ve got relationship goals. And there’s even research showing that setting goals is a sign of confidence, commitment, autonomy, and motivation. It means you’re that type of person.

But the issue here is that most people don’t understand the purpose of setting a goal. And you may ask, “Well, what is that? Isn’t it just to achieve that thing where you set a goal to make six figures or seven figures or eight figures, then that’s when you hit the goal, and that’s what it’s about, right?”

Not exactly. The purpose of setting a goal is not necessarily to achieve that goal. It’s to stretch your limits, so that you level up as a human being. Oh, I know what, at least some of you are thinking, like, “Oh, that sounds like bullshit. Why would you say something that stupid, that you set a goal and it’s not about achieving that goal? How ridiculous! What a ridiculous thing to say.”

But let me tell you something. I’m saying it because it’s fucking true. Think about the goals that you’ve achieved in your life, which ones really left a major impact on your level of happiness? Was it the 10k Rolex, the $100,000 Richard Mill, the $300,000 supercar, the multimillion-dollar house, finally hitting six figures in your income, seven figures, what was it?

And what I want to tell you is—and this is something you already know—only the goals that challenged you at a deep level, that forced you to become a different type of person in the journey, are the ones that left a meaningful impact, a positive impact on your life. And you already know this. 

You also already know that maybe you’ve had some sort of superficial goals, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Maybe you wanted to buy a really expensive watch, or car or house or whatever, and you get it and it feels awesome for a little while. But then it’s like, who cares? It’s just the watch you put on your wrist every day, or the car that you go to work in, the car that you drive to go get…It doesn’t matter if it’s an Aston Martin or a Honda Accord, you’re still getting groceries, or you’re still stuck in traffic.

And this happens because there’s something called hedonic adaptation. In other words, a lot of it—and you probably experienced this—a lot of getting something or achieving something, it was way more exciting to…Let me share this experience: I used to buy a lot of clothes online, right? Don’t go there, it’s addictive, if you’ve got a clothes issue like myself. Or had a clothes issue.

So what I really wanted to achieve through buying clothes was I wanted more respect from people. I wanted people to look at me and say, “Whoa, that’s a person who has their life together.” I wanted women to be attracted to me. I wanted guys to think I was cool. I wanted potential clients to look at me and say, “Oh, well that’s the guy I would hire. That guy looks like he’s got it going on.”

And then what happened? Well, I got so excited to get the clothes, and then when I got it, I felt good. But actually, many times, the good feeling, it went away pretty fast or even went away right as I got this stuff, it’s like, “Oh, I got it. Now what?” Have you ever had that feeling after achieving something or buying something, doing something, you’re like, “Okay, well, now what?”

That’s a sign that what you went after wasn’t that deep of a goal. 

And what I’m trying to tell you is reaching a goal won’t always make you happy. And you know this and you’ve experienced this. It’s my goal to buy that, you know, if you’re a woman, maybe you’ve had a purse that you wanted to get, you wanted to rock some LV. If you’re a guy, you wanted a watch, or maybe some shoes, some pods, or some Loro Piana or some $5,000 loafers, to let people know that you could afford $5,000 loafers.

And then you get them, and yeah, it’s nice to have shoes that are comfortable and that look good, but it really doesn’t impact you at a deep level. So, reaching a goal will always make you happy. And if you’re always delaying your happiness, thinking that a better life is just on the horizon, you’re doing it wrong. And you know this.

In fact, focusing too much on the outcome of your goals can make you miss the glorious potential that you have for happiness right in front of your face. But let me tell you: I used to live this way. Like the example with the clothes in Miami Beach, I was like, “Wow, I really want to step my game up.” And I do think, by the way, I stepped my game… I hired a stylist recently.

Actually, I’ll kind of share both stories there. So, in Miami Beach, like I said, I wanted more respect, more attention from women, wanted guys to think I was cool, you know, so I could make friends, right? And I wanted potential clients to hire me. And what I wish, if I could have gone back and did things over again, what I would have done is I would have gone to public speaking classes, which I ended up doing, I would have joined improv acting classes, which I eventually did.

Those things changed me as a person. Those things changed me as a person. The expensive clothes, you know, it just wasn’t that… I don’t know, it just didn’t do it. The stuff doesn’t do it. Or if it does do it for you, it’s not that big of a deal. 

Oh, gosh, I was just hanging out in Miami for a month, by the way. Now I’m in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. But I hung out in Miami for a month. You got people walking around, all decked out in expensive clothes and they got a look of stress and dissatisfaction on their face. That’s the craziest thing.

I felt very elite there, because it’s like I don’t, you know, I’m financially much more successful than I used to be. But I’m like small potatoes compared to the majority of people there, probably. But people are looking at me like, “Man, you must be someone, you don’t have that look of, like, ‘I hate my life’ on your face.” I’m kind of exaggerating a bit, but maybe you can relate.

In my journey, by the way, I’ve met…I’m in Mexico now, I’ll just even talk about this. But the same thing goes for when I moved to Asia in 2018, I met people making $10 a day. And here in Mexico, it’s like 10 to $15 a day, and they have more inner peace. How do you know? Well, you feel it, don’t you? You feel the energy from someone.

And it’s common, you know, you talk to the security guards here and they’re working for whatever they’re working for, 10 to 15 US dollars a day, and they’re calm, they crack jokes, they’re super polite. Then in Miami, you talk to someone who’s making multiple six figures and they feel like a loser because they don’t own a, you know, whatever, $2 million yacht or whatever it is, whatever is going on in their head.

It’s one of the biggest lessons I learned from traveling. It’s such a stark “hit you in the face” type of lesson and then you really see, “well, something’s off here. Something’s off with the way we’re doing things.” 

And I want to make this clear: I like nice stuff. I like nice clothes. I like luxury stuff. I like going to nice restaurants. I like staying... I like all that luxury stuff. I think it’s cool.

I think I enjoyed my BMW X 5 when I had it in Miami, I enjoyed it. It was comfortable to ride around in. Much more comfortable than the car that I had previously. 

There’s nothing wrong with the stuff, is what I’m saying. It’s when we become obsessive about the stuff and ignore the other things, especially when those other things are going to give us the result that we’re actually looking for, but we keep doing the same thing over and over.

So funny, there’s a very luxury mall that just opened up in Brickell a few years ago. Brickell is like a mini New York of Miami, that’s where I was staying in Miami, and on the wall there, they said, “Come for the retail therapy, stay for the tear jerker.”

So what they were talking about is “Hey, you rich miserable fuck, come here because you know your life is unhappy, even though you have everything and no reason for it to be unhappy. Buy some expensive stuff, go to Saks Fifth Avenue, get yourself something expensive to make you feel better, whether it’s your messed up childhood, the fact that your marriage is falling apart, or perhaps just some existential angst about death, just buy something and then you can stay and have a tear jerker after.”

And a tear jerker is a - you probably know, I had to look this up, so I’m not much of a drinker these days, but it’s now called like beverage. So when you still feel empty from buying something, sit down and have some alcohol. It’s totally crazy. I took a photo of it, but I’ve got to have someone take a photo of me in front of it. 

What I’m trying to tell you is I want you to enjoy your life right now. Because those goals that you have set for yourself, especially the superficial ones (“Oh, I’m going to buy this watch or suit or car house whatever it is”)  - those things are cool. I’m not saying not to do that. What I am saying is if you really want to feel differently, you’re going to have to find a way to enjoy your life more right now. 

Instead of buying the watch and being like, “Oh, you know, when I bought the watch, I was so excited about getting the watch and then I got the watch and now I don’t give a fuck at all. Now I feel like I got to go buy another one. Let me go get a Hublot this time. Maybe a Pathak Felipe the next. Maybe when I get them Pathak, that’s really when I’m going to feel like I made it. “

And what I want to tell you is just look at the trajectory, look at the results of the past, they can easily predict the results of the future. 

So let’s get to it. How can we enjoy life more right now?

Step one, find out what your “I’ll be happy when” goals are: when you can see your abs, when you weigh a certain number on the scale. When you move into your next house, when you hit your next income goal. When you get your next luxury watch. What is it? And pick the one where you feel like it has the most emotional energy, like you’re really betting on that thing to change the game internally for you.

Step two, determine how you’ve been holding yourself back. What are the things that you’re waiting to do or feel before you achieve that goal? For example, once I lose that weight, I’ll start dating again, or wear clothes that I like again, or go on that vacation because I deserve it. Or once I buy that watch or hit my income goal, I’ll start taking weekends off finally, stop working weekends, or I’ll dedicate more time to dating.

Or once I find my soulmate, I’ll finally feel more confident or take that trip to Greece, or Italy. I’m projecting there. I’m dying to go to Europe. But the chances are, you’ll come up with a range of things; some trivial and some very meaningful, things that you’re not allowing yourself to experience, likely because of a belief that you don’t deserve to do or feel those things until you’re better, right? when you’re wearing that—I don’t know why I keep going back to the watches thing—but when you’re wearing that watch, that’s when you’ll be a respectable man.

So step number three is stop waiting and live right now. How do you do that? Well, you take some action now, you don’t wait. “But once I achieved that income goal, then I’ll start getting that massage every week.” And then you get that massage tomorrow because you got to schedule 24 hours, they don’t -I’m a kind of a last-minute guy sometimes. It doesn’t work, even in Mexico or Brazil, they want you to do it ahead of time.

So once you realize you’ve been holding yourself back from feeling good, and doing all these cool, meaningful things, it may even explain why you’re so impatient to just get there already. It also may explain why perhaps you haven’t been enjoying the process of getting your goal, it’s just this desperate chase in the hopes that that thing will really change the game for you.

But usually what happens is you get it and you’re like, “Okay, that’s cool. Okay, so what’s next? Okay, we’ll get the next thing. Let’s just start a watch collection.” Nothing wrong with watch collections. It’s about the intention behind it, whether you’re doing the work. 

And somewhere inside, there’s a part of you that believes that your life can’t really start until you achieve that goal. And that you’re not supposed to have good things happen until you’re leaner, faster, stronger, more successful, or have that life partner by your side.

And that might be an uncomfortable realization, especially if you’ve been playing this game for a while, and you kind of know you’ve been playing it, but nobody has ever kind of called you out on it. 

And now you’re uncovering that belief. It might make you feel a little sad, relieved, angry, or maybe a combination of everything above and then some. So you might want to take some time to unpack those things. But the thing that creates the most change is action, is taking action, is taking action.

And what is the thing that you should take action on? The big, hairy goal that makes you so uncomfortable? No, we don’t want to go for the thing that causes your palms to sweat, just by thinking of it. 

We want to pick the easiest, lowest hanging next tangible step to start living and feeling the way that you want. I had a woman once told me, she’s like, “Oh, my husband is dying for more sex in the relationship, but I feel bad about my body so I don’t have sex with him.”

Great relationship strategy. She feels like crap because of how she looks. He accepts her and wants to connect with her, wants to connect with her sexually. And it would lower the stress in both of them. It would bring them both closer together. 

And it just might change her mind, her perspective, her energy, her emotional state, and maybe it would make it so much easier to lose the weight because she didn’t have to do it because, “Oh, I’m so fat, disgusting. How could my husband even want to have sex with me? Can’t he see how disgusting I am?”

Maybe if she just went with it and they connected and had some fun, had an orgasm or several, that it would be so easy for her just to do the right things to lose weight. And plus, sex is exercise, it burns calories. It’s so ridiculous what we do as human beings. And I’m not saying that, I’m telling you that story, but we all do this, myself included.

I want to tell you something that I started doing. So, as you know, I offered to hop on a breakthrough call. And some of the people who come to the breakthrough calls, they end up becoming clients, but for them to become clients, I need to ask for them to become a client. I need to take the lead and make that happen. And now I don’t have a problem with it. I’ve done it a lot of times, I’m very comfortable with it.

But when I first started, it was really scary. And I’ve had this thing about asking for money for a long time. I remember back in—I was in the Trump Towers. Yes, I spoke the name. Sorry, no, whatever. But Trump Towers, I think they actually took his name off the Trump Towers in Sunny Isles, Miami Beach. But the point is, I was in there as a personal trainer, and someone asked me how much I charged. And I charged $90 an hour at the time. And I just raised my rate.

And he was, “How much do you charge?” And he was on the treadmill and walking. And I was like, “Ah, $90, please.” I didn’t say please, but I was kind of the vibe I was giving off. And it was so obvious that it was just a rejection. Like, “I’m not paying you’re lacking in confidence ass $90 to count my reps.” Now you couldn’t even pay me hundreds of dollars to do that. I might do it for 500, if I’m feeling good.

And so the point is, though—going off on a tangent like usual—but the point is I had such an issue asking for the money. And what I did was, and this was when I was in Asia, what I started doing is I started—and for those of you who are in sales and done sales, you know what I’m talking about, you have to go through this process where it’s really hard if you’re not a natural at it.

And I don’t know if there are any naturals for sales, unless you grew up the child of a sales person, right? I certainly didn’t, I was a child of two attorneys, they sucked it, I mean, they made plenty of money. But it wasn’t because of their great sales skills, I’ll tell you that, or their great business skills, because they spent a lot of it too, most of it.

But the point is this— but I digress again, sorry—but the point is this, what I noticed was when I really thought they were going to be a great client, I would come to the call with so much desperate energy, and I knew something was off about it, because I wasn’t really serving the client well, or the potential client well on that call. 

So what I did was, I was like, “You know, I’ve got to celebrate before, I’ve got to celebrate before I do these calls, I’ve got to go out to dinner to celebrate the call instead of the sale, and I’ve got to be unattached if the person signs up or not.

So not only will I go out to dinner, I’ll even try to get a massage. And that’s what I started doing. And you know what, it changed the energy, it allowed me to show up to those calls without the desperate energy needing the sale to validate myself and validate like what I was trying to do and it’s so hard. No, I took this stress away. And you know what, some people didn’t sign up, some people signed up and that was okay, because I took the stress away.

And the point is, so often, the stress that we create by delaying our happiness actually makes it harder to achieve what we’re trying to achieve. And the whole point of achieving the goal is to grow as a person anyway—and that’s maybe worthy of a separate podcast altogether.

But what I’m telling you here is when you find that you’re doing this, you’re delaying your happiness and making it dependent on something and maybe even like me, like, “Oh yeah, if I don’t make this sale, I’m going to punish myself by working harder.”

The thing is, we’re just creating more stress, and then you’re working against yourself to achieve the goal. It doesn’t even help. So what do I want you to do? I want you to take action now.

If it’s about dating, create that dating profile. Use photos of you now. You’re waiting to get into great shape before you take those professional photos to use for your, I don’t know, for your professional shots or maybe for a dating profile, go schedule them now.

Buy the clothes now, even though we were just talking about how clothes don’t make the difference, but if it’s stepping outside… it’s not about clothes or not clothes, watch or no watch, it’s about the intention behind it. And if you’ve been putting off buying clothes because you want to wait until you slim down but that day never seems to come, that’s when you want to buy some new clothes.

Book the trip now. You’ve been waiting to do something, no, waiting till you make a certain amount of money or hit some sort of income goal. Book the trip now, go take a smaller trip, maybe don’t take the month-long trip all over Europe, especially with the COVID craziness now and all the complications and nuances and all the headache that comes with that, but book something local, do something local.

Go get yourself a massage, or a float session, something to reward yourself. Start rewarding yourself before you achieve the goal. And watch how easy it becomes to achieve your goal. 

Look, the truth is, a lot of us, especially high-performers, we have things that we’re good at. For example, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs and executives. Entrepreneurs are great at business. Executives, they were good at school, and eventually running companies, right?

But then we have these things that we’re not so good with, maybe relationships, maybe health. And we feel like we’ve got to beat ourselves harder to achieve it, and we’ve got to make ourselves suffer more. Because if we make ourselves suffer more, then we’ll actually achieve the goal, right? So, we’ve been doing it for a while, maybe even years and it hasn’t worked.

So I want you to allow yourself to feel and do things that you would like you achieve your goal. I don’t want you to celebrate in your head that you achieve the goal that you haven’t achieved. No, that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about removing the stress. We’re talking about living life now, enjoying it now. Not playing the game, “I’ll be happy when” but playing the game, “I’ll be happy now no matter what.”

And look, this is going to feel uncomfortable. And that’s how you know it’s the thing that will level up your happiness instead of that other superficial goal. 

Because the truth is, happiness isn’t the effect of achieving goals, it’s the cause of achieving goals. I’m going to repeat that again for you. It’s not “when I do this, I’ll be happy,” it’s “no, I’m happy so I do this.”

When we’re feeling good, when our energy is good, we can accomplish and achieve so much more. And maybe you even find that your goal, as you start to do this, your goal doesn’t seem that important anymore. And that’s okay, too. Or perhaps the goal still isn’t important. But now you’re enjoying the steps that you need to take to get there, and you’re no longer putting your life on hold.

Either way, you’ll likely find out whether or not you’ve achieved your goal, you’re starting to behave, live, and feel like the kind of person who would achieve it. 

And I want to tell you this, that’s what most of us want. That’s what we really want. It’s, we want the outcome of the goal. But really, we want to be the type of person, the kind of person who gets that outcome.

You’re not just the person who can benchpress 315 pounds, you’re a fit person now, you’re a strong person. Your kid didn’t just make it into Ivy League, or whatever college, make it to college, make it through high school, no, you’re a good parent. You didn’t just make six figures, you’re a smart and capable professional. You didn’t just take your business to eight figures, you’re a great entrepreneur.

This is the secret to why the process that we spoke about, works, because whether or not you’ve made it to your own personal finish line, your identity starts to shift towards the kind of person you’ve always wanted to be. Why? Because you’re doing the things that kind of person would do. And the best part, you’re not waiting anymore, you’re just living. That’s how you get to the next level.

So again, folks, stop playing the game of “I’ll be happy when.” it’s a losing game. The goalpost always moves, you never reach it. Start playing the game of “I’ll be happy now.” 

And by doing that thing that, you’ve, “Oh, should I really book the massage or take that trip or create the dating profile?” Or whatever it is for you. “Buy the clothes, even though I’m so uncomfortable with my body?” Well, if you’re not losing weight, why the hell would you wait? Start treating yourself better, it lowers stress, and that lowered stress, that makes our lives better.

So, as I finish up here, I want to ask you, what is the big takeaway from today for you? What did you resonate with? What was that big takeaway, that aha moment for you? 

And then more importantly, what can you take action on? What is the thing that you can take action on right away, right after we end this podcast, end this episode? What is that thing? 

Well, that, my friends, is what I want you to go and do. That’s the challenge I want to leave you with. Hope you have an amazing weekend, and I’ll speak to you on Monday.

Ted Ryce is a high-performance coach, celebrity trainer, and a longevity evangelist. A leading fitness professional for over 24 years in the Miami Beach area, who has worked with celebrities like Sir Richard Branson, Rick Martin, Robert Downey, Jr., and hundreads of CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. In addition to his fitness career, Ryce is the host of the top-rated podcast called Legendary Life, which helps men and women reclaim their health, and create the body and life they deserve.

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