Being happy seems to be fleeting at times. Try as you might, it seems to slip away. When we see people that are happy and upbeat all the time, you wonder what their secret is. What do happy people do that is different from others?
Truly happy people have built a system of habitual happiness in place. They are able to find gratitude in any situation. Even when things aren't perfect on the outside, happy people don't let circumstances dictate their emotions. They understand that things are constantly changing, and what is good today might be bad tomorrow and vice versa.
In my own life, I've implemented a system to be happy. This is not because I'm a sage, but because I'm prone to get caught up in the webs of life. Here are the 13 ways to start being happy in my life. You can pick and choose which ones to implement to start feeling happier today.
13 Ways to Start Being Happy Today
1. Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude is one of the simplest and best ways of being happy. Gratitude is the simple act of praising the goodness in our lives. Once you start taking notes on all the things you are grateful for, you are able to experience all of its benefits.
Practicing gratitude helps us experience more positive emotions, sleep better, and express compassion for people around us. It helps us connect to people around us. Once we practice gratitude, we are able to be thankful in any circumstance. We can walk through the storm with our heads held up high, knowing that nothing bad lasts forever.
2. Start Making Progress
You can be happier when you start making progress towards your goal. Every person has an ideal version of what their life can become. However, most people aren't making progress towards those goals. The problem most people have with making progress in dealing with delayed gratification.
Most goals take long, persistent, hard-work to achieve. It took Michael Jordan 7 years to win his first championship. It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint the Sistine Chapel. The point here is: no goal worth achieving comes overnight. You need to take time to master your craft and find mentors who are willing to help you. But the fastest way to being happy is to fall in love with the journey and the progress of who you are becoming.
3. Stop Giving Up
Let's get honest here: most people give up way too early. Most people run for 7 days straight and give up when there is no weight loss. When I started writing on this website, it was a ghost town for months until it wasn't. When I see people giving up on their craft or trade, I almost want to yell "Wait! The best part is coming up!"
The most important part of any journey is the commitment. When you commit to excellence at your craft, there is nothing that can stop you. Everyone starts on day 1. However, not everyone ends up on day 3650. There is so much joy to be found on the other side of unbreakable grit. Be like Batman, never give up.
4. Say "No"
Start saying no to things that are taking you further away from who you're becoming. It is way easier said than done, but once you do it, you'll be grateful that it's done. People will always want to draw on your time and resources. Be willing to say "no" if it does not help you in becoming who you are meant to be.
For example, if you want to become a loving person, and someone is telling you to act contrary to that, say no. You don't need to be who someone else wants you to be. You need to become who you want to be.
5. Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination is a problem most people deal with. It's easy to keep pushing things off until tomorrow. It's easy not to think about things that are challenging. However, delaying the work also delays the reward.
There are millions of excuses to procrastinate. However, none of this will get your closer to being happier. When you become better than your best excuse your life starts to change. Remember, you are the only person that can take action to change your life.
6. Start Setting Goals
If you're not doing it already, start setting goals to create the foundations to make change happen. Goal-setting is the mechanism for making your dreams come true. When you set goals, you create a sense of commitment, growth, and peace.
When you write down your goals, it helps you prioritize them. It helps you raise your standards. It gets you up in the mornings. It helps give you a sense of purpose and lasting happiness.
7. Adopt a Growth Mindset
When you adopt a growth mindset, you embrace failure as an opportunity for learning. You understand that you will need to learn through your entire life. When you shift your view of failures and learning, you are able to able to grow and find happiness when things don't go your way.
Start to understand that life is a continuous journey of learning. Strategies that work today might not work tomorrow. Be willing to humble yourself to learn every day. Be willing to adapt to the changing world and the trends that are happening.
8. Meditate Every Day
Daily meditation can become a life-changing habit. Meditation helps you increase focus, reduce stress, reduce anxiety, improves creativity, among many other benefits. When you create a habit of meditation, you will be able to stop letting the little things steal your happiness.
9. Change Your Body Language
Your body language dictates how you feel. Imagine how someone who is crushing it on stage looks. They probably have a strong, wide posture and their back straight and eyes forward. Now imagine someone who is defeated. They probably have their shoulders slouched, arms crossed, and eyes averted.
You can feel happier just by changing your body language. When you laugh or smile, you release endorpins. Think about a point in your life when you felt invincible. Look at pictures and videos of that time to see how your body language looks. Start by adopting that body language and see how much happier you feel instantly.
10. Create the Exercise Habit
Exercise is the quickest way to change your mood. When you start working out, you will instantly feel better. Runners famously achieve a euphoria when they run called a runner's high. Working out serves as nature's best painkiller.
When you start exercising, it's going to be tough and it's going to hurt. But once you've created a routine of working out, you will feel happier for it. With consistency and time, you will start seeing changes in your mental and physical health that compound over time.
11. Stay Away From People That Drain Your Energy
Do you know that one person that seems to be negative all the time? Regardless of anything that is happening, they are sucking the energy out of every room that they enter. I refer to those people as energy black holes. Stay away if you want to prevent getting sucked into their gravitational pull.
The 80-20 rule applies to people as well. The majority of your stress will come from a couple of people. In certain cases, you will not be able to get away from these people because they are your family or coworkers. The strategy in these situations is to practice kindness and empathy, while not getting sucked into their gravitational pull.
12. Stay Close to People With Positive Energy
There are people who have natural positive energy. These kinds of people are the real-life version of the Energizer bunny. When you are around them, you're instantly inspired to take action.
Start finding who the people that inspire you to do more. These individuals might be people you know directly or people who you look up to and are inspired by. Once you discover the people that give you energy, stick with them. You will be happier for it.
13. Stop Playing the Victim
It's easy to play the victim. It's easy to blame everyone and everything for your problems. The key to stopping playing the victim is to stop trying to control things outside of your direct influence. You are only responsible for things within your control. Don't compare your circumstances to anyone else around you.
When we are stressed out because "life isn't fair" or "things never go my way", we are doing nothing to change our fortunes. The only thing we can do is to move into the future instead of being stuck in the past of pain. We do not need to be defined by our worst moments. We can be redefined by what we do now to change our futures. When you move out of victimhood, you will find happiness on the other side.
Being happy is a life-long journey. There is no fix-all strategy that applies to every person. But as long as we have the courage and apply the principles above to our lives, we can incrementally find happiness in every moment. Start falling in love with your journey. It is a uniquely different journey from anyone else in the world. But it's yours to own.