Advertising
Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 12 Things To Do When You’re Feeling Discouraged 5 Hacks to Speed up the Learning Process 7 Essential Keys To Finding Fulfillment At Work feeling down How To Deal With Disappointment

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next