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15 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happy And Successful

15 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happy And Successful

The world has changed greatly over time and still continues to change today. However, some things remain the same, such us key habits for lasting happiness and success. If you are interested in achieving happiness and success, then you should know some of the key daily habits of truly happy and successful people that have timeless application. Here are 15 of the top daily habits of successful people that can make you truly happy and successful if you apply them in your own life.

1. Plan ahead

In today’s fast-paced life, not many people plan ahead. Those who do think through and plan their days ahead of time set themselves up for true happiness and success. Set clear, actionable goals for the day (and the future) and you will give your chances of success a real boost.

2. Visualize success

Don’t just plan ahead. Visualize your own success and victory to remain focused, motivated and to keep going no matter what. Think about what it will feel like to achieve your dream and acknowledge that more will be achieved during the process of reaching the dream than the actual act of reaching the dream. That is how to keep your dreams alive.

3.   Go where the action is

Don’t shy away from challenges. Challenges give you the opportunity to apply yourself, learn and be part of something wonderful that might make a difference. Truly happy people are not those who hide behind closed doors in times of war, but those who pick up their swords, go where the action is and give it their best shot. It’s much better to try and fail, than fail to try.

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4. Trust your abilities

Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as different creativity levels. Truly happy and successful people understand their weak points and also fully believe in their strong points. This allows them to seek help and guidance when they need it and offer the same when they can. Show trust and confidence in yourself and your abilities daily by boldly tackling what needs to be done. It is through self-belief and confidence that you establish routines that push you to success and happiness.

5. Work hard

Hard work and persistence are secret ingredients for lasting success. If you work harder than everyone else and give it your best shot each day, success will come to you eventually and you will enjoy it. The fruits of hard labor are the sweetest.

6. Go home at the end of the day

Some people make a habit of regularly sleeping somewhere else other than home after a long day at work. Don’t do that. Go home to your family every day to set the right example and prove you care and respect your family. Of course, sometimes you might have legitimate reasons not to go straight home at the end of the day, but don’t make excuses for sleeping outside.

7. Get enough sleep

It has lately become fashionable to say people need sleep, but millions of people still don’t get enough sleep today. Your body needs sleep not just for rest and relaxation, but also to prevent sleep disorders like daytime sleepiness that can severely interfere with your ability to perform daily activities that bring happiness and success. Get an average of eight hours of sleep a night for adequate rest and relaxation and to ensure you wake up each morning refreshed and re-energized for the day ahead.

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8. Wake up early

Wake up early at the same time before 6 am daily. The large number of truly happy and successful people who are proud early risers proves that this sleep routing works. If you want to give yourself a head start on the rest of the world, then you must become an early riser yourself.

As the Dalai Lama says, “Everyday, think as you wake up, ‘today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”

9. Exercise daily

Exercise is not only good for your heart and your physical fitness, but also for pumping more oxygen to the brain and improving your brain power. Truly successful and happy people know this and make a habit of exercising daily. Whether it is short jogs in the morning before work or CrossFit workouts in the evening after work, exercise daily to boost your overall well-being, happiness and success.

10. Wear clean, appropriate clothes

Whether it’s a full office outfit like a navy blue suit for bankers, casual attire like jeans for department store attendants or comfy pajamas for home workers, what you wear matters a lot. It can affect how you feel about yourself and the way you perform your duties throughout the day. Wear clean, appropriate clothes every morning to get in the right mindset and facilitate productivity, depending on your work and plans for the day.

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11. Read every day

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Whether it is reading the daily newspaper in the morning or a favorite novel in the afternoon, reading widely and regularly sharpens your mind and broadens your perspective. It helps you understand and appreciate the intricacies of life a lot more.

12. Spend quality time with loved ones

Quality time is giving someone your undivided attention. It can be your spouse, kids, parents or close friends, but spending quality time with loved ones talking and listening to each other strengthens your bond and allows you to  know one another better. It unites you and brings a lot of happiness. Do this regularly and you will feel truly loved, connected and happy in life.

13. Show kindness to other people

As much as 99% of the people you see out there are strangers. But, the majority of these strangers are good and decent people. Show love, concern and kindness to them whenever possible. A simple hello to the person in the elevator with you can make their day. Helping that elderly lady cross the busy road is simply nice and humane. When you show kindness daily you not only make new connections, but also make your own day brighter.

14. Forgive someone new each day

Don’t hold grudges. Grudges weigh you down and hinder your happiness and success. Just forgive and move forward. In fact, forgive someone new every day. If you can’t find someone new to forgive, forgive yourself for things you did (or didn’t do) before you go to bed. It will take the edge off and help you overcome resentment, which steals your time and energy.

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15. Repeat what works for you

When you find what work for you, repeat and strive to do it better. Similarly, review and change what doesn’t work. This is perhaps the most important advice you should take away today. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

Featured photo credit: Kris Krug via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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