Today is the first day of the new year, and as I reflect on where I am going, I am also reflecting on where I have been.
Ten years ago I thought I was happy, but the truth was that I am a million times happier than I was then.
There are at least ten things I can think of that I did to make my life more fulfilling and happy, and I know they can do the same for you.
1. Let Go Of Fake Or Negative Friends
This is number one on my list to be happier for a good reason. Many of my struggles came from friends who affected my life in a negative way. The relationships were either unbalanced (I always gave more than I got) or they were unhealthy.
I spent a lot of time trying to make these friendships work, because they had been my friends for years, but sometimes people just go in different directions and I had to finally accept that.
I also spent a lot of time trying to be the perfect friend, which cost me a lot of happiness.
Once I let go of them, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I haven’t regretted it because the stress, worry, and negative moments were something I would not want in my life again. Now, I surround myself with friends who support and love me.
If you feel as though you are ready to break up with a friend, then I suggest you do it. It will free you to explore other relationships and focus more on your happiness.
2. Change Your Habits Around
When I was younger, I had horrible habits. I smoked. I dated ONLY jerks. I slept until noon. I partied until 4am. I complained, whined, bitched, moaned, and ate strictly processed or fried food.
My habits have changed a lot since then.
Your habits make up your life, and if you are doing things that are hurting your life in some way, then you will suffer the consequences now and in the future. Even something as simple as not being in the habit of brushing your teeth will hurt you in the long run.
Make this year a year to adopt new, healthier habits for your career, relationships, body, and mental health.
3. Look At Failure Differently
For instance, I went to college three different times – once to be a chemical technologist, once to be an American Sign Language interpreter, and once to be a veterinary assistant. Each time I thought it was what I wanted to do, and I only finished the last program, which didn’t end up landing me a job that made me happy anywase.
When I look back, those are all failures…in a sense. But they are experiences that brought me to where I am today. I have a clearer picture of where I am going (and where I don’t want to go), and the hesitation that I felt has gone. In short, I’m happier as I go about my daily tasks because I KNOW that I am working towards a future that I want.
“On this path effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure” – The Bhagavad Gita by Krishna
4. Use Positive Affirmations
You are affirming stuff to yourself right now, so why not affirm positive things? Positive affirmations are essential to being happy, and if you are not using them, then you should start.
I can’t believe how I used to talk to myself. I used to affirm to myself that I deserved to be in a shitty job with a shitty man living in a shitty place. I now affirm much better things for myself, and because of that I am much, much happier, and I know you would be too.
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5. Understand The 80-20 Principle
This should help you be happier in many areas of your life. Once I understood this principle, my life changed for the better dramatically.
6. Stop Wasting Time
I don’t know about you, but if I have done nothing at the end of the day I feel like crap.
I want to feel productive and accomplished at the end of the day. Some days that may mean spending time with family. Some days that may mean spending time working. But never does it mean spending time on Facebook for the whole day looking at friends lives instead of spending time on my own.
If you work on your computer or own your own business, this article on time wasting may help you to stop wasting time.
Offline, it is a matter of recognizing what wastes your time and removing it from your life. That may include asking co-workers to leave you alone (they can be huge time wasters) or removing distractions such as your cell phone.
And as far as your personal life goes, stop spending it on time wasters such as TV. Spend it enjoying friends or family. Or, spend it doing things that help you be happier and healthier in life.
Time is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted.
My mind can be pulled in many directions if I let it. Meditation is helping to calm it down and allow me to focus on what needs to be done.
I’m sure you have heard the benefits of meditation, but if you haven’t, take a look at this video by Deepak Chopra and decide whether or not meditation can really make YOU happy this year or not.
8. Stop Worrying
I’m talking about big and small worrying.
I used to worry about ridiculous things, such as major tragedies happening to me. The news would literally make my blood run cold and I would think and think and think about what ‘could’ happen. (Hint: Stop watching the news!)
In my life, I worried about what other people thought about me (turns out they hardly ever did think about me).
I worried about whether or not I would ever find love.
I worried about my health and the health of my family.
I worried a lot.
Now, I worry much less. During the last big tragedy that made my blood run cold, I told myself that if my worries didn’t come true, I was never going to make up worries in my mind again – and I’ve done pretty good at that.
I’ve learned that worry is really a waste of time, because 99% of what you worry about doesn’t actually end up being that big of a deal anywase.
Perhaps one of the biggest things that helped me to stop worrying so much is the simple concept in Dale Carnegie’s ‘How To Stop Worrying And Start Living‘ that says, ‘live in air tight compartments’. Doing that helps you focus on the now and stop focusing on the future, where worry is focused.
9. Say No
For instance, I used to watch horror movies that would leave me sad, scared and on edge for months. I watched them because my friends watched them and I wanted to fit in with my friends. But once I realized that I needed to stop adding that kind of negativity to my life, I said no when I was asked to watch a horror movie. My friends didn’t really care, and I got to spend the next few months without horrible images in my mind.
I say no to many things now. For instance, I refuse to spend time with people who drain me, so when I’m asked to go over to their home, I say no.
Find areas of your life where you can say no, and do it! You will be happier for it.
10. Take Action
Want to be happier? Take action on your life.
For example. if you want to learn how to stop worrying, then read that book by Dale Carnegie. Don’t think about reading it, do it.
Taking action is easier said than done sometimes, but the payoff is huge! You will always be happier when you take action. I can’t think of an example where you won’t be.
It is a simple truth: Everything you learn in life is pointless unless you take action on it.
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