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10 Habits To Make You Happy and Productive Every Day

10 Habits To Make You Happy and Productive Every Day

Beautiful girl sitting on a lawn in a summer garden

    What makes you different from other people are the habits you have and practice daily. What you do every day from the morning until the evening has such a significant influence on the way it will shape you as a person and help you live a happier life. By having a particular routine you write your own page for each day. If you want to feel more productive with the work you do and satisfied after each task done, you really need to think what you are doing in order to accomplish your daily goals. By including a few of these habits, you will feel more fulfilled because these habits work from me every day and keep me motivated to achieve even more!

    1. Wake Up Early

    If you want to have more time to achieve the things you set for the day, just wake up an hour earlier. You decide what to do with the extra minutes you have every morning – you can spend it to have a delicious breakfast, pick up your clothes, and get ready or dance on your favorite music. Whatever it is, just put some time aside to do the things you love before you kick off for the day!

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    2. List the things you are grateful for

    Writing a few things you are thankful for in your journal will create a positive and fulfilling start of the day. It is so important from time to time to stop and really think and appreciate what you have in your life. Being grateful opens up your heart to be more grateful and attract even greater things in your world. Happiness is in the little things such as giving appreciation and showing gratefulness to yourself and the people you love.

    3. Go through your goals for the day

    If you really want to be productive each day, you must read or think through the main things you have to accomplish daily. Try to set a few main targets and really focus on achieving them instead of putting too many and having the trouble to go through all of them. Be really honest with yourself how much you can achieve for one day. Do feel fulfilled with yourself if you achieve even one main goal for the day! Start with something small and constantly add to the list and eventually you will manage to handle more things daily once you get more practice.


    4. Pack a healthy snack for work or school

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    Healthy body = Healthy mind. In order to create more stuff every day, you need to have enough energy for that. And you can get that essential energy only if you eat something nutritional and healthy. Replace the chocolate with a banana if you want something sweeter and bring some salty nuts if you need to satisfy your cravings for salty food.

    5. Switch off your wifi or your phone and be present

    Going offline throughout the day is so important to be more productive and happy with yourself. Social media tends to get us distracted and we cannot really achieve the goals for the day if we are not truly present. Try to put your phone away for about 30 minutes and tell yourself that you will only focus on your work for that time. You can celebrate after that with a 5-10 min short break online and then – do the same for the next half an hour or more!

    6. Take a short walk or exercise

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    If you tend to sit for most of the time while you are at school or work, taking a short walk during lunch break could be really beneficial for you! We spend so much time indoors that we forget the importance of doing any physical activity and having fresh air. Taking a walk can clear your mind, boost your energy and well-being and recharge your batteries for the rest of the tasks you need to accomplish!

    7. Read a few pages from a book

    It is so essential to spend time every day on self-growth and self-education. There are so many books out there on various topics such as health, happiness, successful relationships and personal development. For example by reading a spiritual book daily you will add up to your positive thinking and attitude towards yourself and the outside people or by reading a skill-orientated book you can learn or enhance an asset.

    8. Write your goals for the next day

    Before going to sleep write down your goals for the next day. This will really help you organize tasks for tomorrow and give you satisfaction that you have a well written plan for each day of the week.

    9. Prepare your lunch for tomorrow 

    You would ask why this will make me happy and productive? It will make you so because packing your own food for school or work will help you create a useful habit for you to take better care of your body and health. Prepare some nutritional lunch that will give you the energy you need to create more and be more productive and satisfied with yourself. If you do prepare it the night before you will also have more time for yourself in the morning and you will not need to rush around your place to leave on time.

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    10. Go to sleep with positive thought

    Think of a few amazing things that happened today. By doing this you will sleep with a positive mind and grateful heart and will be even more excited for the following day that will bring more and more exciting things. To help yourself to fall asleep with a positive thought you can listen to some meditation music, write down your thoughts in a journal or simply thank yourself for giving your best that day. Do not forget to appreciate yourself at the end of each day too, you are doing your best in order to be happy and productive every day!

     

    Featured photo credit: Girl on a lawn/ Josef Seibel via flickr.com

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    Filiz Mehmedova

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    Last Updated on July 17, 2019

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    What happens in our heads when we set goals?

    Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

    Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

    According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

    Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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    Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

    Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

    The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

    Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

    So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

    Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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    One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

    Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

    Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

    The Neurology of Ownership

    Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

    In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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    But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

    This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

    Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

    The Upshot for Goal-Setters

    So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

    On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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    It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

    On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

    But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

    Reference

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