Have you noticed that small, nagging voice in your head that does most of the talking? It is like a hotel guest that forgot to check out. I call it the “mini-me”.

In my case, I’d do a superb job with a client, or at writing a book, and the mini-me would still be unsatisfied. It would find reasons why the success won’t last and why it is not much of a big deal.

A while ago, I realized it was high-time I asked the nagger to shut up!

After all, it’s your mind, it’s your life and it’s your happiness that is at stake here. The more you give in to the mini-me, the more you move away from experiencing life to the fullest.

Happy people seem to get that. They practice a few things, whether consciously or unconsciously. They also avoid certain things like the plague, such as:

1. Focusing only on your mini-me

Happy, positive people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their mini-me. Your job is to convert your mini-me into your best friend – and until it becomes one, you say, “Thank you, but I am fine,” and ignore the rest of the chatter.

Focus on what your mini-me is not saying. Focus on the achievements and happy moments of your life. You know the saying, “What you focus on is what you get”. It’s time to put the saying to the test.

2. Putting a dollar amount on success

If you define your success with money, you will find that the amount you earn is never enough. There is always more to be earned. Instead, happy people equate their success with satisfaction and happiness in life.

If you are happy making a thousand dollars a month because it satisfies all your needs, then be happy. Don’t stop yourself because someone else told you a thousand dollars is not enough. Tune into yourself and ask whether you need more; if yes, strive for it. But not at the cost of your own happiness!

3. Always living in the future

In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle stresses the importance of being present. The present is the only time you have right now. It is the only tangible experience for you. The past is in your memories and the future is yet to come.

Happy people focus on the small things today that will become big successes tomorrow. Seize the day because today will never happen again.

4. Forgetting the magic word

We are a funny species. We forget what is while we focus on what is not. To remind yourself of the small things that bring happiness in your life, keep a gratitude journal. Say, “Thank you,” to the Universe, Source, God (or whatever you call it). Psychological research suggests we are happy when we are grateful for what we already have.

To ‘prove’ this, try writing down three things that went well during a day. Keep doing this for a week, every night, with a causal explanation of why you are grateful for that experience. Notice how you feel after each exercise. In an experiment in 2005, different groups of participants were asked to do the same. At the one-month follow up meeting, the people who used this exercise were happier and less depressed than they had been at the prior meeting. They continued the exercise and stayed happier in the future follow-ups.

5. Dreaming small

Somehow, we are conditioned to dream small. We are told to be careful of the challenges life throws our way. Successful people don’t limit their dreams – they dare to dream BIG.

That said, they also have a series of smaller, more immediate steps that will bring them to realize this goal. Having a bigger vision is important, but a step-by-step formula makes it more possible.

6. Keeping goals and dreams a secret

Happy people love the concept of a mastermind where people share their challenges and come up with a list of solutions, or brainstorm ideas, using the group’s synergy.

7. Speaking ill of others

It may be tempting to gossip about others behind their back, but when you talk negatively, you take in the negative energy yourself.

Think about the last time you spoke (or thought) badly of someone behind their back. How did you feel afterwards? Not overly enthusiastic, for sure. Instead, focus on others’ strengths and positive habits and highlight what makes them special.

8. Not living in alignment with your values

Alignment with your values is an emotional state you want to feel on a regular basis. For example, your top values could be love, honesty, integrity and success. Make a list of your top ten values and then on the other side of the paper, write down how you are meeting these values in different areas of your life.

Now, write down all areas where your values are not being met. You have discovered the loopholes. What can you do to change that? (For a full list of values, go here.)

9. Not accepting what cannot be changed

Happy people are adaptable – they easily adjust themselves to accept what is not possible. If you’re unhappy about something, notice how your ego holds onto it and won’t let go of the fact that you cannot change it.

This brings more pain that has especially to do with trying to control others or external situations. The person you can change the easiest is you. Happy people get that and bring their energy to what can be controlled – that is, they themselves.

10. Holding grudges

The more you focus on how someone hurt you last year by making a mean statement, the more you will hold on to anger, negativity and resentment. All these take a whole lot of your energy for nothing in return.

Perhaps the other person feels miserable, too. Perhaps they are holding a grudge against you. No one is happy that way. To forgive and forget is hard but pays well in the long run. You will be free from the shackles of the negative bond, and you have more room for better experiences in your life.

What other habit would you add to the list of mistakes that happy people never make? Share with us in the comments below!

Need more of a happiness dose? Check out 10 Questions That Prove You’re Doing Better Than You Think

Featured photo credit: eflonvia Flickr

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