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The One Simple Habit that Brings me the Most Happiness and How you Can Replicate It

Also improve your self-awareness as a side-effect!

Danny Forest
Dec 9, 2018 · 4 min read

I’m a happy person, though I haven’t always been that happy. Like most people, I have ups and downs. Yet, the downs have been pretty infrequent in the past 14 months.

While talking to other people that seem generally a little less happy than I am, I noticed none of them do a simple habit I picked up by accident:

Record your wins

Read on to learn what it means, why it matters and how you can win every day (no cheesy make-your-bed solution here — no offence to Officer McRaven).


What does it mean?

At its most basic, it means to write down your achievements somewhere. I have an Evernote journal full of little wins I’ve had across different things that I do.

A lot of times, I can screen capture my achievements, at least for my writing and personal brand, but sometimes I write it down.

The method you use to record your wins doesn’t matter. You can certainly use good old pen & paper. What matters is that you record it.


Do you have some examples?

I can share some examples, but please don’t take that for bragging.

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Reaching Top #2 writer in #education on Medium
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Being approached by my favourite Medium writer, Michael Simmons
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Getting featured in Medium’s Daily Digest
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Comment from a reader
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Email from a subscriber of my newsletter

Some are less grandiose, like:

  • I finally bought my midi keyboard!
  • I paid my taxes!
  • I finished book ‘x’!
  • I didn’t indulge in intense video game sessions!
  • etc.

It doesn’t matter how big they are, as long as you record the small wins.


Why does it matter?

There are two main reasons to record every small win:

  1. It increases your self-awareness; and
  2. It’s a good reference for when you’re feeling down.

A lot of people don’t realize all the good things they achieve on a regular basis. We may not have epic wins regularly, but I’d argue it’s the small wins compound over time that matters most.

“Sometimes, it takes years for a person to become an overnight success” — Prince

Whenever I feel like giving up writing, which did happen a few times as I saw my stats go down, I referred back to my success journal. It showed me that I was bringing value to people. If I quit writing, these people would lose important value.

By not giving up, I became top #2 in Education and Inspiration, top #4 in Entrepreneurship, etc. I had top #3 earning article on Medium last month. I met other incredible writers and expanding my network.

I did not give up thanks to this simple habit.


How do I win regularly?

First, embrace a positive mindset. Research has shown that people who consider themselves unlucky don’t open themselves to positive outcomes, making them, indeed, “unlucky”.

You see of the examples on my list of wins?

Some may not seem that impressive (like paying my taxes), but I didn’t want to do it and the fact that I did it was an achievement.

Open your eyes to the good that’s happening around you. Hold the door for the person behind you. Help a homeless person. Help an old lady get on the subway. These are easy wins, and they are so many of those a day you can do.

Most of the good wins really are about helping other people.

Other than that, how about you learn yourself some new skills?

14 months ago, I decided to deliberately learn 3 new skills a month, practicing 30 minutes each skill every day.

When you consistently practice a skill for 30 minutes per day, inevitably, you see progress. And you guessed it, progress is success. Progress is a win.


Conclusion

Guys, this is such a simple habit that can have an incredible impact on your happiness. But even beyond that, it will force you to think more positively and improve your self-awareness.

When you feel down, you can refer back to your success journal and remember why it is, in the first place, that you are doing what you are doing.

So give it a shot and improve your happiness.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading, sharing, and following! :)


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Danny Forest

Written by

Status quo’s worst nightmare | Obsessive learner | Productivity beast | Father of a little Viking. Get in touch: https://www.dannyforest.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +686K people. Follow to join our community.

Danny Forest

Written by

Status quo’s worst nightmare | Obsessive learner | Productivity beast | Father of a little Viking. Get in touch: https://www.dannyforest.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +686K people. Follow to join our community.

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