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Published on November 13, 2018

How to Change Your Mindset for a Happy And Successful Life

How to Change Your Mindset for a Happy And Successful Life

Being happy and successful is something we all aspire to. It’s very likely that when asked “What’s your aim in life?” most of us would answer – to be happy. But on some days, this “small and modest” goal just seems light years away.

The good and bad news is this – it’s all in our head. Even when it seems impossible to look on the bright side of things, it’s actually 100% in our power to transform the way we see life.

This article compiles 10 ways how to change your mindset and go from being unhappy or just “okay” with your life to feeling (and finding) that it’s already quite a success.

1. Count your blessings

In the 21st century, we are used to always wanting more and striving to be better. However, sometimes we just need to appreciate what we already have, and suddenly a different world will open up right in front of us.

Changing your mindset to being grateful is really one of the most powerful eye-openers. It may sound too simple to be that effective, but you have to practice it every day and in everything you do.

If you really set your mind to be grateful, you’ll stop paying attention to small annoyances and negative situations. Instead, you’ll start focusing on the good things that have happened and the lessons you’ve learned even from unpleasant events or encounters.

Start by doing this simple exercise every evening before you go to sleep:

Write down 7 happy things that happened that day and that you can be grateful for. They don’t have to be big things – on some days, you’ll write down small happy moments like having a delicious latte in the afternoon or receiving a friendly smile from a colleague.

As you practice this technique (without interruptions!) for several weeks or months, you’ll notice that you’ll start appreciating these small joys of life already in the moment when you experience them.

2. Find your purpose

Spend a day alone and think honestly about what you want to achieve in this life. This notion can seem a bit vague at the beginning.

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For example, it’s very likely most of us would say that we want to be happy and successful. But take the time to look deeper into what these concepts mean to you. Your purpose might be to do something meaningful every day, or make the world a better place by doing what you love. Your aim can be to grow every year – personally and professionally.

You can also lay down more concrete goals for yourself. For example, spend all weekends with your family, get a promotion or take an eye-opening travel to an exotic land. In this case, try setting specific time frames for achieving these milestones.

Not sure your purpose yet? This article will help you.

3. Seek fulfillment, not happiness

Instead of striving to be simply happy, you should seek sustained fulfillment. Increasingly more psychologists and thinkers are stressing that happiness is not a product of getting what you want, but rather the byproduct of the different challenges you’ve overcome and milestones you’ve reached to get there.[1]

In other words, happiness alone isn’t enough without pursuing things, competing and struggling.

In fact, the constant chase of happiness and worrying that you aren’t feeling happy can actually make you even more unhappy and stressed.[2] Remember – happiness is not the destination – it’s a side effect to living your life to the fullest.

And here’s how to achieve fulfillment:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

4. Cultivate diverse life areas and interests

The more diverse and meaningful your life areas, the more fulfilled your life will be. People who are invested in many different things are much less likely to get depressed and burnt out than those who have few interests in life.

One psychotherapist has shared a technique how to nurture diverse life areas and avoid burnout and depression.[3] She suggests dividing a list of paper into 9 sections for different parts of your life, those that are individually important to you. Some examples can be family, work, friends, hobbies, traveling, volunteering, sports, time spent alone, etc.

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Once you’ve determined these important domains, make sure you nurture and develop them. For example, dedicate a certain amount of time to each of them every week. This guide can help you allocate time to things that are important to you:

The Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life

5. Love yourself

Some people place everyone else before themselves and know how to give better than how to receive. If you are one of them, it’s time you start thinking more about yourself.

Like with many things in life, the key here is in the balance. Here are some ideas for how to start loving yourself more:

  • Dedicate at least one day per week to doing what you love.
  • Learn to say no. Try this the next time someone asks you a favor that you really don’t want to deliver.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel too tired to go out or even to go to work, skip it and don’t feel bad about it. If you’re a hard worker, most likely you deserve a day off.
  • Switch off your phone for an evening or a whole day. Show people that you need some alone time and that they can’t always rely on you.
  • Try being selfish for a change. If you are usually the compliant type, try telling others what you prefer or how you want things to happen.

Here’re even more ideas on how to love yourself more: 30 Ways to Practice Self-Love and Be Good to Yourself

6. Try a new vocation

It’s easy to become caught up in everyday life, work and family chores. If you’ve been running the same rat race for years, it might be difficult to even imagine living differently.

But surely, you have heard of people who keep hustling, trying new things and finding their passion even when they already have stable jobs and families. Maybe their base job brings them steady income but their side-project is the one that brings fulfillment and extra income, or maybe they have found their happiness and purpose later in life.

Guess what? You can do that too!

It’s never too late to try a new hobby or even an occupation. If you don’t feel like turning your life upside down right away, start by doing something small, like a side business. Nowadays there are countless online jobs and even businesses you can start from your computer.

Alternatively, try a new hobby (like playing tennis or learning to sail), a craft (like painting or knitting), or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. If you are truly dedicated and interested in your hobby, it can bring a fresh perspective on things and even give you some new ideas for your professional life.

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Remember, you’re never too old or too late to try something new! Here’s the proof.

7. Manage your expectations

Having high standards is not a bad thing essentially. But it can become harmful if you overdo it.

If you are too demanding towards yourself, you can experience depression and job burnout. If you are expecting too much of other people, they can get tired or scared of you or even avoid you.

Remember this:

Genuinely loving someone – this applies to yourself, too – can only begin when you stop expecting a certain action, behavior or result from yourself or from another person; and when you let yourself embrace and love the natural flow of events.

8. Don’t get offended

Taking offense is one of the biggest happiness thieves in our life. Being offended steals the precious, genuinely happy moments we could be spending together with our loved ones.

It’s also linked with the previous point – when your expectations towards others are too high, and you feel like they owe you something. Here’s the harsh truth:

Nobody owes you anything.

You should be grateful for all the good things, kindness, and love you receive from other people. And never assume that it’s something that should be there by default.

So next time you get offended, ask yourself and answer truthfully – isn’t it only about my hurt ego? And why do I presume I deserve the help, attention, and love from that other person?

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9. Give and contribute

Life satisfaction largely comes from a sense of contribution – a feeling that your life and work matters. Doing something valuable for your local community, your company or society as a whole can give you a feeling of mission or a cause.

Some ideas on how you can contribute:

  • Apply to be a volunteer in orphanages, elderly homes or animal shelters;
  • Join groups or initiatives within your workplace, like office events’ organizers or charity groups;
  • Join an organization that fights for environmental issues, advocates animal rights, etc.;
  • Be proactive in your neighborhood. Join local initiatives for giving during Christmas and throughout the year.

10. Look at your partner with new eyes

If you are together with your partner for many years, you surely know that relationships have ups and downs, and it’s never just roses and violets. Many people find it hard to accept that they have grown too used to their other half and that being together no longer brings butterflies and the good kind of goosebumps.

The good news is that it’s in your power to change it and bring more color into your relationship.

Here are some ideas for bringing the spark back:

  • Try doing something neither of you has ever done. It can be a new sport, a hobby, a new form of traveling or anything else. Going through new experiences together will bring a fresh excitement and you’ll be able to share how you felt while doing it.
  • Try touching each other more often. This may feel forced at first if you are not the typical touchy couple. But there’s proof that hugging and touching your significant other plays a crucial role in nurturing the relationship and helps to avoid and tackle conflicts.
  • Give each other time off. This doesn’t mean break up or press “Pause” on your relationship. Simply encourage your partner’s other interests, even when they don’t include you. For example, support their special hobby or encourage a night out or even a trip with his/her friends. The other person will surely appreciate your respect for their interests and you’ll get a chance to miss each other.

Happiness and success is within arm’s reach

So, we have established that happiness and success are not an end-product or a finish line that you cross and stay content for the rest of your life. On the contrary, these are the by-products that you experience while you’re leading a fulfilled and varied life.

This is simple and complicated at the same time. On the one hand, it’s difficult to chase and capture an intangible concept like a happy and successful life. On the other hand, the mindset of being happy will simply creep up on you as you don’t actually think that much about it.

Featured photo credit: Mariano Nocetti via unsplash.com

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Ieva Baranova

Ieva helps tech startups access big markets and is a passionate advocate of alternative work formats.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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