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Last Updated on July 31, 2019

11 Things to Do to Start Being Happy Today

11 Things to Do to Start Being Happy Today

Happiness can seem fleeting and momentary at times. What is it that happy people do differently?

Happy people developed a habit of being and only doing those things that bring them happiness. Here are 11 things that happy people frequently do to bring happiness into their lives. And these are things you can do now to start being happy.

1. Decide to Be Happy

Happiness really is a choice you have to make. Many of us get it wrong: We think that happiness is a byproduct of success, be it a high-paying job, a successful business, raising a family, or achieving a goal.

Ever heard of this old saying?

If I have the money, then I will do the things I want. Finally, I will be happy.

Yet, dissatisfaction and sadness often keep us from doing the things we want. We lack the enthusiasm and the vigor to do those things in the first place that we think will ultimately bring us happiness. I want to challenge your thinking a bit, and turn it around:

I will decide to be happy. Then I will do the things I want. Finally, I will get the money.

Wow! What a shift! I still remember the excitement and ah-ha moment when this was first presented to me. I thought about it for days afterwards. It has had such a large and profound impact on my life that I still talk about it, even after all these years.

2. Practice Gratitude Daily

When you start practicing gratitude, you re-frame your perception of the world. Whereas in the past, we tend to look at opportunities and resources as scarce, practicing gratitude helps us see limitless abundance.

By being grateful for the here and the now–even in the absence of the very thing you desire–you put yourself in harmony with the good that you desire. In other words you, start moving towards what you want.

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Did you know that you cannot get to your desires and your dreams from where you currently are? You have to first come from the place of your dreams. You have to first believe in it in order to see it.

Gratitude gets you believing it so that one day you will see it. Spend a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, and just before you go to bed, writing out 5 things each time for which you are grateful.

I’ve personally found it useful to use this time even during your break at work to recharge your batteries. The time you spend quieting your mind while writing out your list helps put things into a different perspective.

You can also try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

3. Practice Affirmations Daily

Affirmations are simply positive, proactive statements you say to yourself. After all, how is this different than the negative mind-speak that occupies most of our inner dialogue?

Personally, I’d rather hear the recording of my brain tell me why I can do something instead of why I cannot. These statements can be something as simple as…

  • I am deserving of success and a good life.
  • I enjoy exercising and eating healthy foods.
  • I release [insert name of someone who really bugs you here] to his/her higher good and me to mine.

What’s important when saying these affirmations is repetition. We learn through repetition. Also, be emotionally vested when you compose your own affirmations and recite them. They should make you happy, excited, passionate, appreciative, blissful, and in general feel good. Hence, the name AFFIRMations!

Take a look at these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

4. Meditate Daily

Take up the practice of meditation in order to help you stay focused and on track with your gratitude and affirmations. Through deliberate practice, meditation quiets your inner monologue and quells your negative mind-speak.

Find a quiet place and sit upright in your favorite chair. I prefer this to the cross-legged imagery we all hold as sitting in a chair is much more comfortable.

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Concentrate on your breathing as you slowly breathe in and out, dismissing with zero judgement and opinion any thought that enters your mind. Gently shoo them out of your mind. Now, as you constantly concentrate on your breathing, slowly relax every muscle in your body:

  • Starting from the top of your head, deliberately focus on relaxing the muscles in your head that you think with, your ears, your jaws, and your nose.
  • Moving down, relax your shoulders, your chest, your biceps, your arms, your hands, and the tips of your fingers.
  • Moving further down, consciously think about relaxing your stomach, your hips, your legs, your knees, your feet, and your toes.

All the while, concentrate on your breathing: breathe in and out. Dismiss any random thought that enters your mind, without judgement or reservation.

The idea is to develop a razor-sharp focus over time, develop the ability to manage the stressors in your life, develop the fortitude to respond to situations in a way of your choosing, and to ultimately find inner peace.

And one more thing: You’ll probably find your mind wandering the first few months of trying to meditate or even falling asleep; and that’s okay.

If you want to learn more about meditation, check out this guide: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

5. Laugh More

Find things to laugh at daily, whether it be putting on your favorite comedy while eating dinner, reading satire, or just playing with your pet. You might even consider laughing for the sake of laughing, as a change in your body affects your brain chemistry, which ultimately affects your mood.

Laugh and you will find yourself actually feeling better, even if you have been a sourpuss for hours beforehand. Consider joining a laugh yoga group and surrounding yourself with positive, upbeat people.

Laughing also helps you look for the good in things. Are you starting to see how things happy people do are synergistic?

6. Enjoy the Little Things

The ability to express gratitude and joy for the little things is important to achieving more happiness in your life. Simple things include a smile someone gave you, a cup of hot coffee on a cold day, a walk around the block to stretch your legs, a call from someone you love, and even just finding a dollar or two in the jacket you last wore months ago.

As you can also guess, finding joy in the little things opens your awareness to the abundance in the world. In this case, the abundance of things that bring you joy and bliss.

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7. Exercise Three Times a Week

I won’t tell you how good exercise is, for both your mind and your body. I won’t tell you that exercising releases endorphins in your brain, which is that feel-good high. I also won’t tell you that exercise leaves you feeling positive, reduces stress, alleviates or staves off depression, and increases your quality of sleep.

What I will tell you is that exercise boosts your self-esteem, self-image, and confidence. You feel more energetic and develop a new vitality for life. You will develop a discipline that you can apply to other areas in your life.

So, safeguard your wealth and your relationships by ensuring that you will be healthy to enjoy them.

8. Spend Quality Time With Your Loved Ones

Part of practicing gratitude, laughing more, and enjoying the little things is to spend quality time with the people you care about. They could be your lover, your children, your parents, your friends, or just your pets.

After all, life is mainly about serving others and helping to bring value into their lives. We are all fundamentally the same and want the same things. When you realize this, you will eventually learn to stop judging others for their appearance and start developing your compassion.

9. Make Time for Yourself

While it’s important to spend time with loved ones, it’s also important to carve out time for yourself to rest, relax, and recharge your batteries.

Spend time exercising, reading a good book, listening to music, meditating, writing, cooking, hiking, practicing your craft, or whatever it is that makes you happy.

Master your craft. When you master something, your self-esteem and confidence grows. In the process of doing so, you learn more about yourself while you develop greater focus, intuition, will, reason, awareness, and perception.

Start picking up these 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

10. Stop Blaming Other People

Happy people learned a long time ago to be proactive. Unhappy people tend to blame others for their conditioning and problems.

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By being proactive, you assume the mantle of responsibility for the direction your life is heading. Despite all outward appearances that control lies with someone else, you realize that there is really only one person who is responsible: You.

More importantly, you take responsibility for your life. Instead of saying to yourself, “I can’t do this because of that person, thing, condition, environment, etc.”, you start asking yourself, “What can I do? What can I do? What can I do?” 

In other words, you go from looking for reasons why you cannot to what you can do.

11. Start a Healing Journal

A journal acts as your deepest confidant, to whom you are able to share your deepest shame, anger, and frustration. It is by verbalizing in exact and specific terms that which is frustrating you over time and being specific in the role that it has in your life that you can start healing.

It is hard to heal when you have a vague or general idea what is bugging you. It is when you are able to describe in words, using highly specific language, that you are able to pinpoint the exact cause.

Your journal then is a source of healing. Healing is a necessary component for moving towards happiness. When we put all our energy on something negative, we only help to accelerate its growth. In other words, we get more of what we don’t want.

Get more inspirations about journaling here: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)

Final Thoughts

Decide today that you will be happy and start forming the habit of doing things that facilitate happiness. Practice gratitude and affirmations daily. Meditate to focus your mind and help cultivate your attitude–your response–to a given situation.

While you’re doing all these things, remember to laugh more, and enjoy the little things as they come along. It’s also important to spend quality time with your loved ones as well as make time for yourself. Remember that while life is best lived in the service of others that you have to take care of number one.

Of course, you have to protect your wealth and your relationships by making sure you are in good health to enjoy them. So, exercise at least three times a week. Finally, learn how to be proactive and take responsibility for your life and the choices you make (or don’t make). To help you with your healing from the wounds that rose from blaming other people, conditions, and environments, start a journal of healing.

Big changes come from minor tweaks. If these 11 things are too much for you to do at any one time or overwhelming for you, then pick a few that resonate with you and start with them.

More About Happiness

Featured photo credit: KAL VISUALS via unsplash.com

More by this author

Benson Wong

Benson aspires to help people shift their paradigms and live a more fulfilling life.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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