In an age where our days are long, busy and filled with demands that often exceed the time we can allocate, it is growing increasingly important to build habits that support happiness. Your personal happiness is just that: personal.
As you work to attain greater goals in life, your success is highly dependent on your happiness. Happy people are more optimistic and can see greater opportunities for success. Happy people bring more value to the relationships that are important to successful living and goal achievement; When was the last time you chose to hang out with a miserable individual? Happy people enjoy and embrace the greater challenges that lead to higher levels of success. Happy people live longer, meaning you can achieve more goals, set bigger objectives and have more time to Best Yourself.
The power of habit will work either with you or against you in your quest for happiness. Happiness is something you have to work at. Anything you have to work at is a win/lose opportunity and winning is in the habits. Setting up habits for happiness is a critical step to ensuring you take charge or your own happiness. You know yourself best. Don’t rely on anyone else to balance your platform for success.
Building intentional habits can be difficult. Unfortunately, building unintentional habits seems unfairly easy. To start building your purposeful habits for happiness, you need to know what makes you happy and ensure that you have chosen controllable actions. If you’re not sure what really makes you happy, try this quick self-exploration.
- Close your eyes
- Take 3 deep and slow breaths
- Smile – a good solid warm-heart smile… smile until you feel it!
- Check what images, situations and experiences come into your mind
- Sift through those images and break them down to the root of the happiness
- Example: Hiking with your spouse and dog comes to mind.
- Remove the dog, are you still happy? Put the dog back in and take out the spouse (just out of your mental hike! No CSI here), are you still happy? Take out both – you’re hiking by yourself, still happy? What if you aren’t hiking and you’re walking down the street? Is it the dog, the spouse or the hiking that made you smile most or some combination of the three?
- Continue to sift and breakdown until you have 3 distinct experiences that you could frequently replicate with minimal resources (ie. The spouse and dog do not need to free up their schedules & drive to the specific hiking spot to make you happy).
- It is key to have THREE of these happiness practices. You need a roster!
Check in on how effective these 3 self-directed activities will be in managing your happiness by simply imagining a day where you are able to execute all three. Check on each one separately, would you be happy on any day that you were able to practice only one of these habits? If your answer is no, go back through the self-exploration exercise until you have a solid “YES” to all three events bringing happiness on their own and in combination.
There is no right or wrong in your happiness factors. If a good book, a blanket and a glass of wine bring a smile to your heart – that’s your happiness. If running a back-wood military obstacle course with barbed-wire is what makes you tick – that’s great.
Once you have your “YES”, start scheduling. The easiest way to form new intentional habits is to book them into your schedule at an optimal time and a back-up time. That means booking 2 time-slots every day that you are able to execute your habits for happiness. Each of these designated time slots should be at least 30 minutes to ensure you can get focused and enjoy the time instead of continuing to multi-task and focus on external issues. The two time slots should be at the same times every day. Habits are not formed in scattered schedules. The goal is to build recurring routines and work towards optimal daily happiness. On a tough day, you’ll use your back-up timeslot and ensure you get at least one self-focused happiness push. On a great day, you’ll use both time-slots and find room at the end of the day for your 3rd activity.
As you start to execute your scheduled events, you will notice that you are more focused and productive in the rest of your day, you procrastinate less and are more motivated to prioritize your habits for happiness over other demands. This will enable you to experience more days where all three of your chosen habits for happiness are accomplished. The more of these days you get, the more your habits will stick and the more you will fuel success in all areas of life. Because as you know, winning is in the habits.
Start today and take charge of the small changes that will bring you more happiness, more gratitude, better relationships, higher levels of focus and greater ability to achieve your goals and Best Yourself.