5 Habits That Will Make You A More Happy Person This Year

How Small Incremental Improvements Can Increase Your Happiness Over Time

For all of us, our innermost desire is to be happy in life and we spend our whole lives pursuing happiness in different ways.

As we’re all different, some of the ways we chase happiness include:

  • Achieving financial success.
  • Improving our personal status.
  • Devoting ourselves to our families.
  • Being of service to others.
  • Sharing our gifts, talents and expertise with the world.

While it’s easy to buy into the idea that happiness can only be attained if certain conditions or criteria are met, the truth is happiness is something we create. In other words, we’re totally responsible for our level of happiness in life.

We don’t need external things or conditions to be satisfied, in order to feel happy. To experience greater levels of happiness, we can develop habits that automatically cause us to be happier.

Habits that lead to more happiness

In recent years, one new habit I’ve developed is to evaluate myself on a daily and weekly basis. I ask myself questions such as:

  • How confident was I today and why?
  • How true to myself was I today and why?
  • What lessons did I learn or what could I have done better today?

These questions force me to look at what I’m doing daily and how I can continue to improve in different areas. By developing this new habit of evaluating myself, the benefits I’ve experienced include:

  • I’m a lot calmer.
  • I’m able to let go of things bothering me easier and faster.
  • I have a lot more clarity as to what to focus on.
  • I continually challenge myself to improve.
  • I’m able to better communicate what I want or need.

These have all contributed to me experiencing increased levels of happiness. While there are moments or days when I don’t feel the best or my usual self, I’m able to change how I feel because of the habits I’ve developed over the years.

Here are five habits that will make us experience emotions of happiness more frequently, which in turn, will help us have a better quality life.

  1. Create a Joy List. A Joy List is a reminder of all the things that brings us joy in life. For example, it could include going for a walk in nature, listening to music, singing, reading, dancing, etc. The idea is to do something daily, or at a minimum, weekly, from that list. Happiness is something we generate or cultivate so we have to do things that will generate happiness consistently.
  2. Practice mindfulness techniques. When we are more mindful, we are more present and aware of what is happening around us at any given moment. Mindfulness techniques include deep or heavy breathing, or giving ourselves time every day to be in a reflective state. The more mindful we become, the happier we will be.
  3. Be around happy people. As we become more like the people we spend most of our time with, it makes sense to spend more time with happy people. Their attitude and how they conduct themselves will rub off on us and influence how we look at our circumstances and our lives. Typically, people who have higher ambitions and goals in life are the ones that are happier compared to those meandering or drifting through life.
  4. Continuously challenge yourself. Studies have shown that when we’re not growing or challenging ourselves to learn or do new things, our level of happiness drops. It’s because we become so accustomed to doing the same things over and over and there is no variety in our lives. New challenges makes us tap into resources within us that were not utilised as best as they could have been.
  5. Pay closer attention to your thoughts and emotions. Our thoughts are what generates our feelings, which dictates our level of happiness. We have to become aware of what triggers us to have unhappy thoughts and emotions. The more we pay attention to what we’re thinking and what emotions they cause, we’ll be in a better position to generate better-feeling thoughts, which ultimately affects our happiness.

Happiness is not something to be pursued because anything we pursue can also elude us. Instead, if we have the mindset that happiness is something we generate from within, we’ll be able to be more intentional in what we do in order to experience more happiness. The habits identified above, when applied consistently, will ensure we increase our level of happiness over time.

Action Step: Do you know what makes you happy? Start creating a Joy List by listing down at least 20 things that brings you joy. These could be things you like doing or experiencing. Then get into the habit of doing one thing from your list daily.

Question: What is another habit that will make us happier?

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