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Book Review: The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness by Henrik Edberg

Book Review: The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness by Henrik Edberg

    “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle

    “Life wasn’t all too bad really, but I wasn’t that happy either,” recalls Henrik Edberg, creator of The Positivity Blog and author of The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness. “I think the problem was that I didn’t understand myself or the world around that well. I didn’t understand what I needed to do to create a happier life for myself.” Well, now he does:

    1. Choose Happiness

    “Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Misery and happiness aren’t about external circumstances; they are a conscious choice. “You choose each day what you focus on and how you interpret your reality,” Edberg writes. So instead of seeing the world and yourself “through a lens smudged by negativity”, you consciously choose to look outwards and inwards “through a lens brightened by positivity”. This could involve being grateful for what you have, spending time in an environment of happiness with people who lift you up, and choosing positive information such as personal development reading over negative information like endless news reports.

    For more, see The Gift of Gratitude and Thoughts on Happiness

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    2. Get Your Physical Fundamentals in Shape

    “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

    “How we manage our body has a huge, huge impact on our thoughts, emotions and everything that happens in our personal world,” Edberg explains. This is why we need to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.

    For more, see No More Stress: Part One and The Secret of Dreams by Yacki Raizizun

    3. Create an Action Habit

    “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli

    It’s been said that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. We need to stop waiting for other people to solve our problems and take action in order to see results. Use a morning ritual, do things even if you don’t feel like it, and take responsibility for the process, not the potential results.

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    For more, see Get the Edge and The Seven Habits: Part Two

    4. Be Here Now

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

    Guess what? The past and future don’t exist. They are simply thoughts arising in the present moment. By focusing on the present, we can improve our social skills (no more thinking of what to say when you should be listening to what’s being said), improve our creativity (no more worrying about what others will think of our work), and release stress. And by focusing on what’s in front of us (through practices like guided meditation and breathing techniques), we also learn to appreciate our world more.

    For more, see Focus by Leo Babauta (Part 5 of 5) and Carpe Diem!

    5. Help and Make Other People Happy

    “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.” – Chinese Proverb

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    “When you do the right thing and make people happy you feel good about yourself,” Edberg points out. “When you make someone else happy you can sense, see, feel and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.” Give value by bringing a positive attitude to your interactions, giving useful advice, or offering a listening ear to someone who needs it. And let’s not forget about smiles and hugs! Even though people may not always appreciate what you do or feel compelled to reciprocate, you should still persist and feel good for doing so.

    For more, see People Policy and Relationship Review

    6. Do What You Love to Do

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

    The fact that you’re working at a full-time job doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) pursue your passions on the side. “There is always time,” Edberg explains. Things won’t always be great but the work won’t feel as hard nor will you have to force yourself to perform. Spend some time exploring and asking questions to bring clarity. Most importantly, remember to add value to the world and not simply to yourself. “By using your talents and skills and at the same time helping people and giving them value in some way you can find the opportunities to both do what you love and to earn money to support yourself from it.”

    For more, see Seven Keys to Discovering Your Passion by Jonathan Mead and Success Built to Last

    7. Let Go

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    “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

    So much of our suffering is caused by our clinging. We hold on to who we are and what we believe to the point where we must always be right. We hold on to things that are impermanent and things we think will make us happy even though they never really do. Sometimes we simply need to accept things as they are and then let them go. We need to stop trying to control everything and stop fussing over things that don’t even matter. And while it may be hard at first, it gets easier as time passes. Our happiness depends on it.

    For more, see You’re Worth It! and No More Stress: Part Three

    Conclusion

    Edberg admits that this book won’t solve all your problems or make you happy all the time. But he firmly believes that with some effort and persistence, focusing on one aspect at a time, you can start to see major differences in your life as was the case for him. What do you think? Are there any other habits of happiness you would add? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

    Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

    Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

    1. Exercise Daily

    It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

    If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

    Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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    If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

    2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

    Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

    One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

    This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

    3. Acknowledge Your Limits

    Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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    Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

    Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

    4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

    Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

    The basic nutritional advice includes:

    • Eat unprocessed foods
    • Eat more veggies
    • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
    • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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    Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

      5. Watch Out for Travel

      Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

      This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

      If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

      6. Start Slow

      Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

      If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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      7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

      Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

      My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

      If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

      I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

      Final Thoughts

      Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

      Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

      More Tips on Getting in Shape

      Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

      Reference

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