Happiness is a lot of things – a choice, a state of mind, a lifestyle… But it’s also something you can achieve by making small changes to the way you think and live. Find out how these eight women did it.
“I set up my dream business”
“Nine years ago, I found myself at a crossroads. I’d been part of the corporate world for nearly a decade and needed a change. I wanted greater ownership of my work; I was also working long hours and this was affecting my plans to start a family. Now that I’ve started my own company, there’s more balance and harmony in my life. I have two lovely young daughters and a thriving business, and I couldn’t be happier.” – Eileen Wee, 38, managing director.
“I took a break from the corporate world”
“After being made redundant from my full-time writing job, I decided to work as a freelance writer. I could’ve gone back to fulltime work, but I wanted time for myself, to focus on my health and figure out my next steps. So far, the break has been a positive one. I am enjoying a better quality of life and have more time to do things that make me happy.” – Siti Zawani Abdul Ghani, 30, freelance writer.
“I changed my perspective”
“I used to wake up grumpy, which often led to minor arguments with family members and colleagues before I even had lunch. One morning, after taking my frustration out on a friend, someone asked why I always woke up on the wrong side of the bed. ‘You’re alive – isn’t that reason enough to be happy?’ she asked. It was a huge wake-up call. I decided that I had to change my attitude if I wanted to feel better and improve my relationships. Since taking control of my state of mind that day, I’ve felt emotionally lighter.” – Antoinette Tan, 33, content manager.
“I started taking full responsibility for my life”
“When I stopped blaming others for my disappointments and failures, and started owning my decisions and mistakes, everything in my life started falling into place. I achieved more in my career, enjoyed better quality relationships, grew my income, and felt healthier, happier and more accomplished. Taking full responsibility for all your experiences and decisions isn’t easy. It involves confronting your fears and insecurities, and really making the effort to understand yourself, but I have to say that it’s worth it.” – Li Si Yang, 39, fitness consultant and trainer.
“I decided to lose weight”
“As a child, I was overweight. Then I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in my teens and the medication made me gain even more weight. The heavier I got, the more depressed I felt, and then one day, I decided that enough was enough. I had to take control of my health. I found a personal fitness instructor who taught me how to exercise and eat right. In the last 18 months, I’ve lost 30kg and my PCOS is under control. The journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s been rewarding and now I feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.” – Dian Vanessa White, 27, early childhood teacher.
“I made a commitment to my physical health”
“Fed up with feeling lethargic all the time, I embarked on a fitness programme. Since taking up yoga and pole dancing, I haven’t looked back. Yoga has given me a sense of calm and taught me to be more self-aware, while pole dancing has made me stronger, both physically and mentally. Fit definitely feels fabulous!” – Deborah Dayani Nanayakara, 31, senior manager.
“I pursued my musical passion”
“Once I decided that I wanted to be a musician, I put my heart and soul into making that dream come true, from saying goodbye to a social life outside of the industry and spending time networking and building my repertoire, to studying my mentors and honing my craft. Now I get to do what I love nearly every day. It’s the happiest feeling in the world to be doing what you know you were born to do.” – Anastasia Francis, 29, singer-songwriter.
“I became a more adventurous traveller”
“I love to travel, but instead of going to the usual popular destinations, I make it a point to go to less accessible places, like North Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and Bhutan. What makes me especially happy is planning and booking these trips. While I’m away, I get to meet all kinds of interesting people and have enriching experiences I wouldn’t get from visiting more accessible countries. I always return feeling more alive.” – Anca Mindruta, 33, business analyst.