Contrary to what you may have heard, a happy life is not just for the lucky, rich, or genetically predisposed.
In my recent podcast on Happiness, I explored how we can set our own course to feeling happier.
In fact, I encourage you to start a happiness project in your life. Keep track of it by writing it down, telling a friend or jotting notes on your calendar. All new behaviors need to be noticed and applauded.
These are 8 steps you can take toward creating the happy life you want to lead.
Step #1: Have expectations (not disaster plans)
Having expectations is the opposite of having worst case scenarios. An easy way to train your brain to expect better for yourself is to use language differently. Let’s look at 2 examples.
“I hope there’s no traffic” or “I hope there are uncongested highways and smooth travels.”
“I hope he doesn’t forget” or “I can’t wait to meet up with him for lunch.”
Which sets an expectation? Which hints at a worst case scenario?
Step #2: Set the standards (and meet them)
You can set standards for yourself and how you show up in your life.
Notice those people you feel comfortable being around. What behaviors do they have that set you at ease? Set the intention to show up doing those things yourself.
“I would like to live up to my word the way Mary always does. For myself as well as others.”
The next step is to:
- pay attention to my commitments,
- set a time I know I can keep,
- honor myself by showing up where I said I would show up
Like working out 3 times a week. Show up and do it!
Step #3: Stop taking things for granted
Stop for a moment to actually notice and relish all you take for granted each day.
When you take something for granted you lose out on the chance to feel happy and excited for having it happen to you.
Notice that which you like in your life and appreciate it out loud.
Waking up next to your partner every morning is much better than the opposite. Having a birthday and getting older each year is so much better than the opposite.
Step #4: Value having experiences vs. having the material
I have been told that we are heading into a new time period where more and more people are giving gifts of experience instead of material gifts.
Sharing experiences means connecting with others in a moment. Maybe you go rock climbing with a friend for her birthday, instead of giving her the latest tech gadgets.
Emphasize enjoying the quality in experiences with others.
Step #5: Watch where your thoughts dwell
The grass is greener where you water it means just that. What you focus on and think about will affect you.
If your critic is the loudest voice in your head or you have a fan club of “naysayers” how can that generate fun and good feelings?
Don’t let scared, worried thoughts run your life. If you need help with calming down the anxiety try this. Calm walks in nature, playing with your children, or some mindfulness meditation can also help.
Step #6: Learn to see selfishness as a good thing
How can you feel happy if you ignore your needs and wants on a regular basis? Self care is at the center of feeling good and enjoying your life. Take an inventory of your actions and see if they include you in the equations too. If not, reassess and make the time to include yourself in a caring way.
Step #7: Change can feed happiness
Positive things happen and then we get used to them and the happiness fades along with the familiarity.
So change it up. Keep your partner but do new things with them. Keep your job and look for some new challenges that will wake you up and help you feel your passion again.
Step #8: Slow down and reflect
Take the time to do activities that are quiet and give time for self reflection. Ignoring yourself and not spending any time alone with yourself can lead to confusion and unhappiness. No one likes being ignored especially not the person you live with every day. Yourself.
Need some support with your happiness project?
If you get stuck with setting up or sticking with your happiness project, get in touch. You don’t have to be in Stockholm to meet with me. I can meet with you over a secure video-conferencing service from wherever you are in the world. All you need is an internet connection. Learn more.
“Two Happy Guys” by Flickr user Urbane Apartments is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.