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10 Habits That Will Make Us Happier

10 Habits That Will Make Us Happier

Happiness is something that we all seek. Every goal we set, every achievement we pursue, every relationship we engage in, and every journey we embark on is really just an attempt to feel happiness.

All of us seek happiness, and it comes in various forms. However, our habits have a major impact on whether or not we experience happiness. This article will list 10 “Happiness Habits” that, if consistently practiced, will create a measurable difference in our lives.

1. Align Our Goals With What We Really Value

Quickly ask yourself these questions: Are my goals authentic? Why do I want to achieve [insert goal]? Do I truly value what I am pursuing?

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If our core values are not properly aligned with our goals and daily actions, there will be inner conflict.  It is difficult to sustain happiness with a perpetual sense of inner conflict.  Our goals and actions need to be aligned with what we uniquely value as individuals.  So if they aren’t aligned, we need to make a change today.  Either set a new goal that is aligned with something we uniquely value, or stop pursuing something that has little intrinsic meaning.

2. Visualize The Absolute Best Case Scenario

It is natural for us to envision “what could possibly go wrong” in a given situation.  In many cases this actually isn’t a bad thing.  It allows us to make peace with the “worst case scenario” and plan appropriately.  However, it doesn’t get us excited.  So if we feel so inclined to prepare for the worst, we should also have the habit of “seeing the best” as well.  When we see the best, it gets us excited, and it provides us with a sense of hope, confidence and creativity.

3. Give Our Very Best In Everything We Do

Inner conflicts are often at the heart of unhappiness. A great way to create an inner conflict is to give a half-hearted effort in what we are pursuing. We can’t always control our immediate circumstances. Things happen to us that are outside of our control, but we can control how we react to situations. We can control our actions, and we can control our attitude‒no matter what happens to us. When we live each moment of our life with a sense that we are always giving our best, we will feel at peace. We won’t have regrets, and no matter what happens to us we will hold our heads up high knowing that we did our best. This makes us happy.

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4. Move Towards What Scares Us

Fear stops us from fulfillment. It also inhibits happiness. When we move towards what scares us, we achieve a powerful personal victory. It is the victory of the self over the self. When we achieve this victory we feel fulfilled, and we feel happy. Moving towards our fear also increases our complexity as individuals, and causes us to learn. Both of these are results that make us feel good. A habit of moving towards fear should be done in small, measurable steps.  Are you afraid of public speaking? Don’t sign up for a TED talk quite yet (perhaps that will come later). Start first with a small venue. Expand your comfort zone a small step at a time. Over time (as this becomes a habit) you will be amazed at your growth, and one day when you stand on that TED stage, it will seem surreal, but you only get there one step at a time. One victory over fear at a time.

5. Be Present. Live For Today

Living in the past can sometimes be nostalgic (and memorable), but it can also be painful and depressing. It is so easy to recall past mistakes and missteps. It is so easy to dwell on failures and the things that we “should have done.”  Living for the future can sometimes be exciting (if we are proficient at visualizing a compelling future), but it can also make us anxious (and scared) when we start to think about all the things we must do to make that future a reality.  The solution to the dangers of past and future living is to live completely in the present.  The present is all that we have anyway.  When we live in the present, we experience flow.  We do better work.  We eliminate anxiety and we thwart fear.

6. Learn Something New

If we believe that learning leads to happiness, then we have an unlimited opportunity for an exciting and fulfilling life.  There are literally limitless opportunities to learn.  You can learn a new skill or a new language.  You can learn strategies and tools that will help you to cultivate your existing talents and abilities.  You can expand your knowledge of the world, and other cultures.  You can live your entire life, immersed in learning related activities, and still never know it all. The reality is that learning does make us happy. It gives us confidence. You don’t need to go back to school to learn (although that can be fulfilling as well), just go to your preferred search engine, type some keywords of things that you’d like to learn and start reading.  Build on what you know every day.

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7. Exercise and Eat Healthy Foods

The better we eat, the better we’ll feel. The more we move, the better we’ll feel. This habit is also one that will create immediate results.  Sometimes, when we are in a bad mood, or perhaps we’ve had a bad day at work, the solution is a simple one: get to the gym, go for a walk or run, get on the bike, or go for a swim. Whatever our preferred method is, the results are the same.  We feel better after we exercise.

8. Detach From The Opinions of Others

Relationships bring meaning, purpose and richness to our lives.  They also can be a significant source of pain and frustration if we become fixated on the opinions of others.  The reality is that not everyone is going to like us.  Sometimes, just by being ourselves, we unintentionally push people away, and if we try to change this (by being someone who we aren’t) we unintentionally push others away (who like our authentic version better).  There is only one of us, and that is the person who we need to be 100% of the time‒the real, authentic self‒and if it means that not everyone likes us, so be it.  We will be much happier over time if we live as who we really are, and detach from the opinions of others.

9. Detach From Results. Focus Only On Actions

This is a difficult one, but if we master it, it will change our lives.  We pursue goals because we want a result, and there is nothing wrong with this.  All of us do it.  However, if we become completely fixated on the result, and fail to achieve it, then we may look at the endeavor as “wasted time.” We also may be so disappointed in not obtaining the result that we won’t see all of the growth that we experienced.  Some people feel that the saying “the journey is the destination” is simply a cliche, but if we truly live it, it is far more.  When detaching from results‒and focusing only on our actions, on being present at each moment, and on giving the very best that we have‒becomes a habit, we have great possibilities for happiness.

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10. Live Life As A Great Experiment

When we are kids, anything is possible.  Life is one giant experiment and we are the great scientists. There are no failures.  There is only feedback.  We are willing to experiment and try just about anything that interests us.  There are no limits. Unfortunately, for many of us, this enthusiasm, and willingness to experiment, fades with age.  We get risk-adverse.  We start worrying about failure, especially if that failure is visible (and could lead to criticism).  We start doubting what is possible. We believe that we are being “practical” and “pragmatic” and we hypnotize ourselves to think that this is the grown-up way to act.  However, it often doesn’t make us happy, and we’d be happier if we just retained the curiosity we had as a child.  If we can capture the child-like innocence of treating life like a giant experiment, and we are the amateur scientists, then the world will remain a wonderful mystery, and we will constantly feel intrigued and happy.

More by this author

Ryan Clements

A lawyer turned marketing professional, entrepreneur and writer who writes about entrepreneurship, career and personal development.

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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