3 Simple Happy Habits for a Joyful Life
Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast. ~ Norman Vincent Peale (Tweet this)
14 years ago Daniel Suelo walked up to a phone booth with all of his life savings in his hands. 30 seconds later he left with nothing. He wasn’t mugged, robbed or making a payment.
He had given up money.
On that day he left his money there for someone to find and never touched a penny again.He sleeps rough, eats whatever food he can find – whether it’s Roadkill or in the bottom of a Dumpster – and lives a truly nomadic life.
And Daniel is the happiest he has ever been.
For you, that’s probably the furthest away from happy you could ever get. You’d much rather have your warm bed and cup of coffee over a cave in Utah.
But Happiness doesn’t stem from what you own. Happiness is a process. Happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is a habit. And you’re able to build the habit of happiness from scratch. With little time, effort or application. Just being conscious in how you plan your day.
In this article I’m going to show you how to build some happy habits that will make you happier.
Small changes you can make to your daily life that will improve your happiness. Each of these happy habits listed below, takes less than five minutes to implement. But, they all can increase your happiness by as much as 25%. If you’re ready, let’s find out how:
Habit #1: Keep A Grateful Journal
In 12 years Dr Brene Brown studied over 11,000 pieces of data on people’s lives. Within it she discovered some fascinating data about Gratitude.
The most joyous, happiest people all had one thing in common: they all had a tangible daily practice of Gratitude.
Some of them kept Gratitude Journals; other’s said what they were thankful for before their evening meal and other’s had a specific time of day they would state what they were thankful for. But all of them had this practice.
There’s also science to back up this claim. Research done in 2003 discovered that a daily act of Gratitude can increase happiness by as much as 25%. Followed by another in 2005, that showed it can increase happiness 10% in just 30 days.
So, how can you apply this to your life? Try this method and see how it works for you:
- Set aside five minutes of your day
- Have something to write on (phone, tablet, pen and paper, diary)
- Write down five things you’re thankful for over the past 24 hours
What you’re grateful for can be anything that applies to your life. You can be grateful that you got a promotion. Grateful that you’ve got a warm coat to wear. Or, be Grateful that you have the ability to breathe. Follow this practice and watch your happiness soar.
Habit #2: Make Non-Returnable Decisions
The less time you spend on decisions the happier you can be. And if you can make a non-returnable decisions you’ll be even happier with what you’ve done. Or, at the least, you will have less regret about it.
Let me give you an example:
I can’t eat pork. I used to be able to eat pork. But now, I’m intolerant to it, it makes me: dizzy, sleepy and bloated if I eat it. So, I can no longer eat pork at all. It doesn’t affect my happiness that I can’t eat it because there is nothing I can do about it.
However if I asked you to remove a food you love from your diet for the next 30 days, could you do it? Maybe. But you wouldn’t be happy about it. Firstly because you always have the option of going back and eating that food. And secondly if you did give in and eat that food, you’d regret it or feel bad for doing so.
When it comes to your happiness make decisions you can’t go back on. Here’s a nice strategy for doing this every day:
- Give yourself a time limit for decisions: no more than 12-15 minutes
- Limit your options: Either get the bus or take a Taxi. Don’t think about: walking, getting the train or learning to fly
- Make it non-returnable: If something is a bad decision, there is nothing you can do about it, so you will regret it less and be happier about the outcome.
Habit #3: Do Your Painful Work First
Remember there was always one part of the meal you hated when you were a kid? It might have been your vegetables (Brussels Sprouts still haunt me), the meat or that weird looking bean dish your Grandmother made.
And what did your parents used to say? “Eat the bits you don’t like first.” Because that’s in everyone’s parenting manual somewhere. The interesting thing is they were on to something.
If you ate your Brussels sprouts first, but finished on that lovely piece of steak, you would comment on how nice the steak (and the meal) was.
But if you ate your steak first and finished on the Brussels sprouts, you would complain about the meal because of how much you hate them.
Behavioral scientists have no discovered the same for your day-to-day life. Days where you end on a bad note are usually considered, ‘Bad Days’. Whereas days that finish on a good note are usually ‘Good Days’.
Lets look at an example.
It’s Saturday and you have three things to do:
- Pay the bills
- Go grocery shopping
- Go to the movies
Which one do you do first?
If you’re like me, you would usually opt to go to the movies. Because it’s Saturday and you want to do something enjoyable. You can tackle the other two when you’re back home – probably leaving the bills until last.
However when you get to the end of the day, you’ll moan about the fact that “all I did was Grocery shop and Pay Bills today”.
But if you were to swap it so that you pay the bills first, then go grocery shopping than finish the day watching the film you really wanted to watch, the day won’t seem anywhere near as bad in comparison.
So, in order to have happier days, get the pain out of the way first.
- List what needs to be done: Everything you can think of.
- Order them in preference: From the one you want to do to the one you truly want to avoid.
- Do the worst one first: You’ll feel much better finishing on a high note, than on a low note.
Pick One And Run With It (For 7 Days)
Above you learned three new happy habits that are going to make you a lot happier over time. But don’t just leave this article thinking, ‘Well, that’s a good idea’. I want you to use one.
So, here’s my 7-day challenge if you choose to accept it:
- Pick one of the happy habits listed above
- Comment on this post and tell me why you’ve chosen it and how you feel right now
- Use that habit for the next seven days
- Comment again telling me how you feel after doing it
Ready? Set? GO ….Be happy Stay happy 🙂