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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 November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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