A common but elusive pursuit that happens to most of society is this "Pursuit Of Happiness" - there are scores of books, blogs and even movies about it, and unfortunately most of the time, the story revolves around resilience ie bearing hardship for a while, and then in the end, you achieve something and then you get happy.
That's media trying to sell you the idea that sacrificing to achieve is the way to get happier. And in the same token, that's why there are many people who sacrifice time, family, health, relationships, to achieve something, and when they get there, they realize they're not happy.
Yes, they may have some sense of achievement for a while, but the joy and happiness do not last. It's not a new concept, and I'm fairly certain that you had heard of and possibly even met people like that.
The problem is because we're trying to "achieve (add) stuff that makes us happier"...when the real focus is that we need to "remove stuff that is negative that is making us unhappy."
The reason why people are still unhappy though they keep buying stuff because the act of buying give a short and false sense of achievement, but it has a short term effect.
Think of that new phone that you just bought. Or car. Or book - whatever.
You may be intrigued with it for a while, spend a lot of time researching, reviewing and then finally buying it, and then spend the next couple of days to weeks fawning over it and talking about it.
And then what?
After the initial novelty and excitement - it wears off, and then ho hum. The excitement goes away (if it does stay for long term and it's used regularly, great! It's a good buy then)
And what most people do after that...is to repeat the cycle, thinking that "the next thing is the answer."
Sadly, most of the time, it doesn't work that way. A smarter, and one that brings about longer periods of contentment and satisfaction and happiness is:
Negatives behave and are like
Basically negatives can be anything negative such as toxic relationships, toxic behaviors (financial debt, food, substance, coffeee, cigarette addictions etc) that serve to make you tired, demotivated and low energy etc - I'm not a woo-woo guru/coach, but that's how I think and feel negatives impact me.
Removing just one negative will give you an immediate noticeable benefit that only serves you more and more as you go along; and even if you forget about it, it'd keep adding positively to your life (unless you jokingly decide to take on another bad habit that makes it bad again.
My Favorite Example:
You have a toothache: you can watch a movie, buy a phone, hang out with someone, have sex - whatever - the throbbing toothache will remind you all through the day...and the only relief you'd get is only when you get it fixed with a dentist. Nothing else works. Just see a fucking dentist already and get it done and over with.
Some Other Examples:
And the examples go on and on, just by removing one negative in your life, one at a time.
It's a very simplistic reason: because the effects have longer term effects and outcomes. Let's use some examples:
You know how it feels. And the thing is, it's gonna be there tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after that - there's a sense of surety, achievement, milestone, and it's a positive milestone that will keep propelling you forward.
How many negative stuff is holding you back right now? List them down, and then prioritize from the easiest to the most difficult...and depending on your personality, I recommend you nail the hardest one first (80/20 rule) - once you get that out of the way, all the smaller ones are just much easier to do.
...or you can "work your way up" by working on the smaller ones first.