Destination Addiction: How to Deal With ‘I’ll Be Happy When’ Syndrome

Our lives are a series of milestones – a long journey with important things to achieve, whatever those important things are to you. Career goals, houses, holidays, relationships, children – all things to look forward to. But when you’re focusing more on the next milestone rather than where you are right now, are you ever really living in the moment?

Have you ever found yourself thinking “if I could just lose a stone, I’ll be happy”, or “when I have enough money to buy a house, I’ll be happy”. It’s absolutely normal to look forward to things, exciting things that you know are coming towards you, but when you start believing that happiness can be found somewhere else rather than in the present, you may be missing out on what’s right in front of you.

‘Destination Addiction’ was first coined by Dr. Robert Holden, a British psychologist. He referred to it as a state of mind that holds the idea that happiness and success are destinations we arrive at, instead of experiences we have along the journey of accomplishing our goals. Because of the high expectations we have of when we’ll get there, we often fail to enjoy the journey towards it.

How Do You Know If You Are Suffering With Destination Anxiety?

Once we reach a coveted destination, we’re too preoccupied looking towards the next one to really appreciate it. It’s an endless cycle of striving for happiness, but never letting yourself actually feel that happiness when you get to your goals.

You end up ever focusing on the present moment, and always looking ahead. Being at peace with your life begins with living in the present and making an effort to be more content with your current life. None of us are immune to destination addiction and we all have times where we have to convince ourselves that better times are ahead just to make it through the day (especially at the moment!). But the key to defeating destination addiction is to find happiness with the life you have RIGHT NOW and to achieve the goals that are important to YOU, not the ones you think will impress everyone else.

How Can You Overcome Destination Addiction?

So, how about we break this destination addiction? You should absolutely plan and look forward to moving house, save for a new car or get fit, but it’s important to take time to enjoy your life as it is right now too.

Why not make a list of the things you’ve achieved so far, to remind yourself of how far you’ve come? Revel in your amazing journey and take a beat to congratulate yourself before you look to the future.

Additionally, make a list of the things you’re living in RIGHT NOW. Write down the following things:

  • The things that are bringing you joy right now
  • The lessons you’re learning right now
  • What it is you love about yourself right now
  • The decisions you are making right now to help accomplish your goals

Think of your goals, and link them to your ‘here and now’. For example:

  • “Making a healthy lunch at home instead of buying it will help me on my way to my savings goals”
  • “The work I am doing today will help build the foundation to my career goals later”
  • “The journey of dating will allow me to learn things about myself in order to be a better partner in the future”

This can be a daily, weekly, or monthly practice depending on your preference – the goal is to just live more in the moment instead of wishing time away. It’s to help you look forward to a big future, but make sure you’re not getting caught up in “destination addiction.”

Sure, your future looks bright – but so can you – right here, right now.

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