Happiness and success do not often come from tangible things, you know, the big homes, expensive cars and toys. It’s a state of mind that enables you to further your progress in both your personal and professional life so that every day, you’re achieving goals and reaching new milestones toward a better life.
To get yourself into this state of mind, you have develop good daily habits that help you get more done during the day, meet obligations with ease, and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day knowing that you are moving in the right direction. As Benjamin Franklin said, “your networth in the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
- Get on the Driver’s Seat
You must be in control of your day — everyday. You cannot outsource the driver’s seat of your life if you want to attain happiness and success. It begins with a plan. What are you going to do today to take steps that create happiness? Your happiness.
What steps are you planning to take to be successful? When you don’t know what steps to take, then you have no course of action. If that sounds like something you’ve struggled with, you can learn how to account for your future.
Planning gives you clarity on how to actualize your success and happiness.
You want to plan each day for how you’re going to spend your time. Even your free time (and you should have free time) can be planned so that you’re living a life that’s full of happiness.
Planning is one of the ways of getting unto the driver’s seat of your life. You take charge of your life, and the direction you want to take your life.
Some people make plans well ahead of time, and others do it in smaller increments.
You might plan for something you want to achieve for happiness and success next month, or the next day. But have an idea of how you want your day to unfold. Be specific, not vague – that way, you have a way to measure whether or not the day was a “win.”
Visualize your success and happiness. Visualization helps you to keep focus and motivated. Studies indicate that motivated people are happier and seem less stressed out, even if they may be working harder.
It’s also the case that people who have a dream they want to actualize find more inner satisfaction. The daily act of taking the time to picture your dreams leads you to appreciate the journey.
You’ll be able to find happiness – even when things go wrong – if whatever steps you’re taking focus on seeing your dreams come true.
Visualization gives you the inner peace that enables you to be more appreciative of your present situation. Gratitude for the things and opportunities you have today is the necessary first step toward happiness and success.
If you have good health that allows you to do what you want to do, be thankful for that. Whenever opportunities come along, recognize them for what they are, a step toward the future you want.
Even when what might seem like obstacles appear, appreciate them. Because obstacles mean that you’re moving forward -that you’re taking action to make the picture of your dreams a reality.
- Go to the Edge of Your Limits
When you challenge yourself in any area of your life, you end up growing. If you stick to what you already know and you only do the things you know you’re good at, you stay stagnant.
Stretch yourself beyond your limits, way beyond your comfort zone. For example, in the area of exercise, challenge yourself to do more than you thought you could with your exercise program.
Maybe instead of doing 30 minutes of walking each day, you shoot for 45 minutes. You’ll gain a sense of accomplishment that will make you feel both happy and successful.
Try a new food – something that’s outside of your comfort zone. This broadens your horizons and can help you learn about other cultures.
Learn something new. People that continually grow in knowledge challenge their brain. Learn a new language; study a new subject or new skill. It could be something like taking a dance lesson or visiting a place that moves you, shakes up your life, and gives you a deeper perspective.
Resurrect a failure. I’m sure there is something in your life you’ve tried in the past and failed. Try it again … this time with a renewed determination to succeed. That book you started writing years ago and abandoned; go ahead and take a new tab at it and stay on it until you finish it. You’ll add more happiness in your life knowing that you did it this time, and that success will give you added confidence that could spark even more success in your life.
- Be All You Can Be Every Day
In everything that you put your hand to, give it your all. Stop holding yourself back, maybe because of fear of looking stupid, or fear of failure. Quit settling for good enough. As Jim Collins like to say, quoting the French Enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire, “Good is the enemy of great.” Many people and businesses never attain greatness, because it was so easy to settle for good enough. But if you truly want to attain success and happiness, you must not settle for good enough. In all that you do every day, you should go that extra mile that will take you beyond good enough.
Be fully present in everything you do every single day. Refuse to let yourself go through life on autopilot.
- Hit the Reset Button
Work hard, but also take the time to re-charge your batteries. Remember that work is only a portion of your life. There are other aspects too. Do not allow work to take over your whole life. Do not destroy your health, your relationships and your happiness by over-working yourself. Balance is the key to success and happiness.
So think of the various strategies you can use to hit your re-set button everyday:
- Set work boundaries. When it’s time to stop working, just stop.
- Protect your sleep time. There is no alternative to good sleep. Loss of sleep leads to anxiety, irritability, and unhappiness. Plus, other bad things to your health.
- Try meditation or other forms of mindfulness. They can help you to de-stress.
- Take to some hobbies and enjoy them. Life is too short, so don’t deny yourself good things of life. Build in you hobbies into your daily plan.
- Make time for your family and friends. You need them to maintain your happiness.
- Move Your Body
Having a daily habit of exercising can create happiness. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins or the feel good hormones that can lift your mood. When you exercise every day – even if it’s just going for a walk around the block at work or at home – you help improve the way your organs can do their jobs.
You make it easier for them to function. You also create more mental alertness in your brain when you exercise, because you increase the way that your organs can get the oxygen that they need. Mental alertness enhances your creativity.
I can go on and on about the benefits of exercise (and of course, eating healthy diet), but always remember this: exercise gives you more energy and helps you stay healthy. You need energy and good health to be productive in most of your endeavors, and to enjoy the good things life has to offer.
- Dress To Impress
Studies have shown that the way that you dress affects not only people’s impression of you, but also how you feel about yourself. In a recent book titled, Mind What You Wear, Professor Karen Pine of the University of Hertfordshire in England found that your clothing can affect your mental processes and perceptions, including your self-esteem and sense of confidence.
Wearing clothes that are ill fitting or unflattering can affect your happiness.
You can even feel anxious or depressed. The clothing that you wear presents an image to the world – but the most important image is the one that you see. If you’re someone who battles self-esteem and confidence issues, wearing clothes that feed into that will subtract from your happiness.
You can try this out for yourself. Wear a pair of worn out sweatpants and a baggy shirt out in public. Don’t take the time to style your hair. Then go out wearing a nice outfit with your hair attractively styled.
You’ll notice a difference in the way that you walk and in the way that you act. When you dress like it doesn’t matter, it will change how you see yourself. But more than that, it changes how you’ll handle what you have to do that day. You won’t feel your sharpest because the clothes affect you mentally.
Putting on different clothes creates different thoughts and mental processes, says Prof. Pine.
Dressing for success isn’t just referring to looking the part. It’s referring to internal feelings, too. When you dress for success, you feel happier. You feel like a success and then your actions will follow those feelings.
Make it a habit every day to dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to dress for success.
Don’t try to implement a bunch of new daily habits all at once. Build slowly. It takes awhile for a new habit to take root, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re slow to implement them on a routine basis. It takes a few weeks to get with the program, but you’ll start to notice positive changes and that will motivate you to continue each and every day.