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5 Small Steps Toward Building a Better and Happier Future

5 Small Steps Toward Building a Better and Happier Future

You forge your own destiny — it’s that simple. Instead of wasting your time on thinking about how others around you got lucky, you should take matters into your own hands and live your life exactly how you want.

It’s all about being determined, really. We all daydream and have desires, and those who are actually happy make those wishes come true by themselves. Forming a realistic vision that’s based on a list of your life priorities is definitely a start.

When we daydream about the things we want, it’s often based on material items, like having a car that’s crazy expensive or having a closet full of haute couture clothes. All of this is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, but it’s quite human to want material possessions. However, the best way to attain happiness is by focusing on things that actually matter and see the bigger picture, so that you can understand all its puzzle pieces.

1. Feed Your Mind

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    For your mind to be happy and healthy, it needs to be well fed. You spend your whole life learning, but it’s important to direct all that lifelong education the right way. The fact is that your choice of education already got you to a certain point, but that doesn’t mean that you have to develop only a certain skillset. Besides, you can’t know if you’re any good at something if you don’t try it, which is why my sincere suggestion is to experiment and spend your life trying out new things that look fun and exciting.

    As far as I’m concerned, and as many great minds have agreed, reading is a gateway to happiness. Skillfully written books allow you to take a place of another person and they help you develop an understanding for the world and those who differ from you.

    “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

    —George RR Martin.

    2. Take Care of Your Body

    A fortress that keeps your health safe, your body is a very important factor that will determine your happiness. The quality of your lifestyle does depend on the numbers on your bank account, sure, but the greatest factor is your health. Ask any person that has health issues and I’m sure that all of them will tell you the very same — the only priority and wish of an unhealthy person is to find their way back to health.

    Your age should never be treated as an obstacle; on the contrary — the experience you have thanks to being on the planet longer than those younger than you is your advantage. People are scared of turning fifty, and forty, and even thirty, but those big round numbers are milestones — age is only a state of mind and your perception of it will directly affect your happiness levels. Dwelling on the past, wanting to turn back time and regretting that it is passing you by is actually filling your mind with despair, and that doesn’t leave much room for happy thoughts.

    3. Embellish Your Environment

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      Although it can be a bit difficult to comprehend because it’s one of those daily things we don’t pay much attention to, the appearance of your home has a say in your overall life satisfaction. It’s quite simple if you only think about it — spending time surrounded by things you don’t like is a source of negativity that needs to be avoided.

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      Naturally, you immediately thought about money now, but it’s not necessary to spend a whole fortune in order to start liking your home. My suggestion is to start with your bedroom because it’s imperative that you turn it into a stress free zone. Begin by browsing online and searching for bedroom ideas — you’d be surprised with what you can do only by properly applying colors.

      4. Enjoy Your Job

      Not all of us are fortunate to have the perfect career, but until you’re ready to take that scary step and pursue the job you actually want, you should find ways to enjoy your current one in any way you can.

      I believe that every career can be fulfilling, just as long as you find a meaningful perspective of what your job actually represents and what good comes from what you do. This way, you will be able to see how you contribute to society and I’m sure this knowledge will help establish fresh enthusiasm and enable you to enjoy the time you spend in your office.

      You should also work on improving your efficiency — the quality time you spend in your office depends on the quality of the breaks you take. You shouldn’t feel like you’re forced to sit down and work; it should be your choice, so make sure to surround yourself with positivity — talk to the people you like, listen to good music and you can even exercise in your office. Do anything you need to feel good.

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      5. Secure Your Future

        Thinking about what lies ahead is scary mostly because the universe has a very good sense of humor when it comes to our plans. However, there are things that are in your power and you can do them and take control of your future life. True happiness isn’t in money, although our society revolves around it. Developing a plan for your future will secure your happiness, and it’s never too early to start thinking about your pension fund.

        I already mentioned how I consider different ages to be milestones, which is a great way to set goals in front of you with reasonable deadlines. You need to put on your thinking hat and find out what you want in life, what needs to be done in order to have that and how much time it takes to achieve those goals.

        The hardest thing about all these steps is probably the change of mindset necessary for them to work out. The bottom line is that you deserve to be happy and that you should do everything to make good things happen for you, even if you need to change the way you think. Take your time and allow your mind to embrace this change — everything that comes afterwards will be a piece of one delicious cake.

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        Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/Unsplash-242387/ via pixabay.com

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        Nemanja Manojlovic

        Editor at MyCity Web

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        Last Updated on November 15, 2019

        How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

        How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

        Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

        However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

        Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

        Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

        Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

        What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

        To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

        The Biology

        Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

        Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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        The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

        A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

        Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

        So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

        Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

        Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

        Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

        Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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        The Psychology

        Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

        Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

        Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

        Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

        What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

        Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

        Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

        1. Identify Your Habits

        As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

        2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

        Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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        It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

        3. Apply Logic

        You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

        Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

        4. Choose an Alternative

        As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

        Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

        5. Remove Triggers

        Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

        Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

        6. Visualize Change

        Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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        For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

        7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

        Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

        Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

        Final Thoughts

        Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

        Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

        More About Changing Habits

        Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

        Reference

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