“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” — Jim Rohn
You’ve seen the movie 50 First Dates right?
It’s a love comedy where Henry, (Adam Sandler) falls for Lucy, (Drew Barrymore) who has short-term memory loss. Lucy can’t remember anything from the day before. Every morning Sandler has to woo her all over again to try and win her affection.
Well, happiness is achieved in much the same way.
Happiness isn’t a choice, or meaningfulness or something that you arrive at once you achieve something; it’s a habit.
It is attained through a commitment to yourself.
Consider happiness much like Lucy; every day you have to woo her back into your life.
Every day you have to get up and start all over again.
It starts from the minute you rise in the morning. The decisions you make and the actions you take will dictate whether happiness sticks around for you or is forgotten.
Creating these habits of happiness is not as hard as one might think. Below I have outlined 10 habits that consistently happy people apply in their lives.
They Maintain an Optimistic Outlook
Happy people are able to maintain happiness because they maintain an optimistic view of life. It really is seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.
What you think about first thing in the morning will pretty much dictate the vibration of the rest of your day. It is after all, easier to maintain a good feeling from a higher perch then to try and play catch-up from a lower one.
Happy people will always find a way to see the silver lining in any situation. Even when life challenges them they understand there is a lesson there. They understand that what occurred is there to teach them something and expand their understanding of themselves.
They Don’t Compare themselves to Others
When you compare yourself to others you lose every time.
Why? Because it doesn’t matter whether you are looking from a higher or lower perch; it’s toxic.
Since when has it ever felt good to compare yourself to another person in life? Happy people only compare themselves to a former version of who they were. They are in competition with themselves to be better every day. They are committed to the maintenance of a healthy mental balance.
They recognize the journey of self and work from that place.
They Exercise Gratitude
When you are grateful for what you have. What you have becomes enough. It’s great to set goals and you absolutely should, but where happy people differ is they are thankful.
They get up every day and say “thank you” whether its internally or out loud.
Happy people also understand that you need to work from the basics. By basics I mean you are grateful for air in your lungs, your health, your ability to make change if you want to.
They recognize what is present in their life and see the abundance around themselves.
They Engage the World with Kindness
It goes without saying but when you do something kind it’s a two-way street. You feel good as the giver and the receiver feels good as well.
Happy people are committed to making RAKs (random act of kindness) a part of their character. They open doors, help someone elderly with their things, they give a compliment for no reason, they do and expect nothing in return. Not from the people they give the RAK’s too nor the universe.
They WANT to be a light in the world. They want to be a lightning rod for good feelings.
They Maintain Active Friendships
“There are only so many seats at my table” I was once told by a friend. What this means is that they don’t have a lot of friendships but the ones they do have are ones of depth.
Happy people collect friendships with people they can truly count on. Their friends tell it like it is and show up when life is challenging. They also celebrate the best moments in life together.
Happy people maintain these friendships of depth and they let the superficial and benign acquaintances slide away. They see that having friendship of purpose serves both parties. The purpose of a friendship is to help each other and lift one another up. Someone you can really engage in conversation with and who knows the inner landscape of you.
They Learn to Cope
Life will eventually turn on us and take a detour. Whether it’s our health, our friendships, our relationships or work. The only constant in life is change and we need to learn to develop coping mechanisms for these times in our lives.
Happy people come to the battlefield with weapon in hand. They have developed their sense of self. They are able to rely on themselves when the tough times hit. They also know where to go inside their lives and themselves when they do.
They know instinctively what makes them feel better and they engage that activity. They don’t go down the rabbit hole and engage with negative things.
They Are Able to Forgive
Bless and release. When someone does something to you? Thank them for their presence because they showed you something about yourself and you learned. But forgive them for what they do. They are not awakened and do not see past the anger inside themselves.
Happy people are able to recognize someone who has lost their way. They are able to see that that person is struggling with something. They also know it has nothing to do with them.
They accept the behavior and do not react but instead let that person continue on their way.
They Actively Pursue Goals
Life wouldn’t really amount to much if you never reached for something better. It seems innate that most people would always want to keep bettering themselves and reach for higher ground. But most of us start on the road to a goal only to end up sliding back to our standard behaviors.
The only way to reach your goals is through persistence in your pursuit of the end result.
Happy people look at goal setting differently. They don’t just set goals; they are a horse with blinders on when working towards them. They know that being completely focused on something we want to achieve makes us feel better.
They Have an Active Lifestyle
Sound body sound mind right?
If you don’t have good physical health it can be challenging to have good mental health. This definitely rings true when we start getting into our golden years.
Happy people understand that taking care of their body is paying it forward in the physical health department. They also know that there is a rush of endorphins that comes with regular exercise. Also, elevated mood is a byproduct of regular trips to the gym or the running path.
See happy people also use exercise as an outlet. When life gets challenging they know that there is solace in exercise. They know that it’s a form of meditation for the body. That when we exert ourselves physically we release stress and free our minds.
If you want to feel better then start moving more.
They Cultivate Their Inner Self
One of the pillars of human existence since the beginning of time is to look inward for answers. Socrates, Plato, and Seneca all wrote about the journey inward and mans quest to understand himself.
Happy people spend time within themselves. They take the journey to their inner landscape and visit that place often. They seek out stillness and solitude with themselves. They know that quiet time and the pursuit of things that feed the spirit are a necessity, especially in today’s world.
Happy people have a want to understand themselves and have an intimate relationship with their inner self. They select activities and things that become a wellspring where they can escape for a while when necessary. They wear a path to that well and know how to get there.
They understand that the essence of happiness is found by knowing oneself.
Building a Sustainable Path For Yourself
So we’ve learned that happiness is mostly supported by action right?
You now know how to get to happiness.
You know it’s not somewhere you arrive at and it’s not a decision as you’ve been taught.
You know that it will take an active pursuit of habits that will, in turn, lead to being happier and more fulfilled.
Taking First Steps
To build a path to happiness start with small habits that are easily repeatable.
- Take the list above and write/type out the headings only
- Below the headings write in the habits for yourself that you can commit to
So let’s take Have an Active Lifestyle.
I’ll use myself as a guinea pig here and be the example. For me, that habit that I can commit to would be running.
From here you want to make a realistic expectation of how often you can engage the habit. So when I started running (I’m actually a runner) I started with a commitment of 1 mile a day 3 days a week.
- Next, below the habit you select, make a timeline. (Like I did with running)
- Finally, keep a journal until you’re confident you don’t need one.
A word on journals — These can be very useful when starting a new habit. Tracking it keeps you honest with yourself. You can obtain data and see the patterns of success and mishaps. Include as much information as you can about that day.
Were you sick? Stay out too late the night before? Were you in a bad mood? Have a challenging day at work? Write that down! Don’t let it become an excuse but let it be a reminder to avoid patterns of behavior that cause you to stray from the habit.