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8 Changes To Make If You Want To Be A Truly Happy Person

8 Changes To Make If You Want To Be A Truly Happy Person

The pursuit of happiness is believed to be one of the basic human rights, but even with all the freedom in the world to pursuit it, a lot of people can’t seem to attain this elusive state of mind. We all get sidetracked by daily problems and goals like putting food on the table, so it’s easy to forget what it takes for you to be happy. True happiness is born out of daily effort, and there are certain lifestyle changes that you need to make in order to get starter down the right path.

1. Stop procrastinating and focus on the present

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” – Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Planning and preparation are important if you want to reach your goals, but if you find yourself spending too much time thinking about what you want to do, instead of actually making moves and getting things done, then it’s time to make some changes. You see, once we actually get off the couch and start finishing all those little tasks and chores that we normally put off, we can deal with 80 percent of your to do list within a few hours. Not having to worry about obligations that are beginning to stack up will do wonders for your stress levels, and it only takes a few hours here and there to get most of the work done.

2. Take care of your body

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Our bodies are wonderful little biological machines that can adapt and survive in various harsh conditions, and the way we feel on an emotional level is closely related to how we feel physically. A lot of stress and anxiety comes from being unsatisfied with how we look, but a weak body that lacks proper nutrition will host a fatigued and unsatisfied mind. Common problems such as acne can be resolved with home remedies and a healthy diet, and just a bit more attention to personal hygiene and grooming can make you feel like a million bucks. On top of that, a few running sessions and a few workouts a week will help keep you happy and energetic.

3. Work out what it is that you need to be happy

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

Not everyone has the same vision of happiness, so chasing someone else’s dreams or trying to achieve happiness through a paint by numbers method laid out by a supposed guru isn’t going to get you what you need. You have to write down the top 3 things that you need to be happy, and add several key points that will make each one of your goals happen. Once you start dissecting things in this manner you often find that a seemingly minor problem like getting 2 hours of sleep less per night than you need, can actually be holding you back in different areas, e.g. you can’t focus, your less productive at work, work cuts into your personal time and so on.

4. Free yourself of things and people that keep you down

“Surround yourself with the right people, and realize your own worth. Honestly, there are enough bad people out there in the world – you don’t need to be your own worst enemy.” – Lucy Hale

We tend to get stuck with toxic people, as well as items and tools, that don’t allow us to reach our full potential because we get used to things being a certain way, and change is too difficult and scary. That car that keeps breaking down and costing a fortune to repair, fairly dull kitchen knives that will just about do the job, a “friend” who is only interested in his or her own problems, a partner that sucks the life energy straight from you – these are the things that limit you and cause you grief.  Try to hang out with good friends, cut the bad things from your life one at a time and you’ll breathe much easier.

5. Give up some of your bad habits and replace them with good ones

“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.” – Steven Pressfield

While certain habits may be born out of necessity, a lot of them are a matter of laziness or indulgence. You may not think of things like eating a lot of junk food or smoking as all that harmful to your mood and emotional health, but it’s when you give them up that you realize how much better of you are off. Each bad habit should be replaced by a good one, e.g. stop smoking and start walking for an hour a day.

6. Let go of the need to “win” arguments

“Convincing yourself doesn’t win an argument.” – Robert Half

Alright, I’ll be the first one to say that arguments are a necessary part of life. They can actually help resolve big issues, but not if you approach them with a “winning” mentality, and not if you start them over the smallest things. In fact, you can save yourself a lot of trouble if you just focus on preventing arguments by effectively communicating with those around you. Once you start preemptively resolving potential arguments, you’ll get upset far less often, and you will have less drama in your life.

7. Enjoy the little moments

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

The old saw about stopping to smell the roses is a real gem, but not a lot of people actually try to apply it in real life. The key here is to make a mental note to stop, take a few deep breaths and focus on your immediate surroundings every time something pleasant happens, or if you are feeling down and want to calm your mind. Perhaps a cute girl or guy smiled at you at the coffee shop, or maybe you had a fun little chat with your friends – savor those moments and let the little wave of euphoria wash over you.

8. Take up something that you are passionate about

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” – Maya Angelou

Taking up hobby or devoting a good deal of your time to master a skill has several benefits:

  • Your work prevents your mind from wandering off into the land of self-doubt
  • Being really good at something will make you feel more confident
  • Seeing the fruits of your labor will make you very happy
  • You’ll get to socialize with fun and like-minded people
  • You get to focus your energy on something creative and relieve stress

If you spend just a few hours a week on doing something that you are passionate about, you’ll be able to reduce your anxiety and get a strong sense of accomplishment.

It can take some time, and quite a bit of serious effort to reach a stage in your life where you feel relaxed and content for 70-80% of the time, and can honestly say that you are happy in life. The points covered here will definitely help bring you a step closer to achieving your goal, but remember that knowing is not the same as doing.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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