We can spend as much time as we want talking about how men and women ‘should’ act in their relationships or while dating, but one thing will always remain true: The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. If that one isn’t healthy, none of your others will be.
For that reason, we need to get our own lives in order first and then be able to share ourselves with someone as a whole, complete person. Happiness is a choice, it comes from within, but sometimes we need to put in work and effort in order to uncover it. What are some of the best methods for doing so?
1. Set consistent, realistic goals for yourself.
Having defined goals is the lifeblood of progress. It gives you something to look forward to as well as to work towards. Goals are the checkpoints along the road of life. I believe it is important for (some) of these goals to be attainable in a relatively short period of time. If they are too far off into the distance then it may be difficult to stay motivated to reach them.
Set short term as well as long term goals, and lay out a plan for yourself in order to reach them. As you meet each short-term goal, your sense of accomplishment will increase and eventually they will bring you to your long term goals.
Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish.
2. Surround yourself with positive people.
They say that you become like the five people you spend the most time with. Surrounding yourself with the right people will motivate you to become the absolute best version of yourself, without changing who you really are…just by being around you. The right people will be pursuing their own dreams and therefore believe it is possible – so they will encourage you to follow your own; even if they don’t have to say anything to do it.
The right people will be standing next to you not only on the sunny days, but also on the rainy days. In fact, they’ll be the ones holding the umbrella over you.
3. Let go of negativity.
Every single day I find myself shaking my head as I scroll down my Facebook newsfeed. There are so many people who seem to be consistently negative and never really have anything happy or positive to say. These people seem to consider themselves ‘unlucky’ in certain capacities. They have limited faith in the human race and always seem to be surrounded by drama and conflict.
Of course there are people who find themselves in unfortunate situations by no fault of their own, but there are also many who, let’s be honest, make bad decisions and then call it bad luck. If we can let go of negativity, be thankful for what we do have, and consistently work to become better – our lives can change instantly.
4. Accept responsibility.
The people referenced in point #3 often share another common habit: Placing the blame on others and not taking responsibility for their own lives. This means making excuses, always pointing the finger, and refusing to admit they are wrong.
I actually enjoy finding out I am wrong about something, because it gives me the opportunity to learn something new. How can someone who thinks they are always right possibly learn and grow? They think they already know everything, so where can they go from there?
Apologize, be okay with making mistakes, that is the only way we can move forward. A mistake is only a mistake until you learn something from it – then it becomes a lesson.
5. Strive to live in the present.
It seems as though we are becoming more and more disconnected these days and therefore less fulfilled. We strive to be socially connected, to share our experiences with the world through social media and to live vicariously through the highlight reels that our Facebook friends provide us – but in doing so, are we looking at the sunset through an Instagram filter more, and absorbing it with our own eyes less?
If we are always looking to the future while we push for the next best thing, or to the past while we scroll through old photos, when do we have time to truly enjoy the present and just exist?
Don’t get so caught up in documenting your life that you forget to actually live it.
6. Give to others.
Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
Tony Robbins said: Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”
The theme is easy to see: There is deep fulfillment to be had in contributing to others. It could be on an individual level or a community level. Donating to a cause you are passionate about or volunteering your time to help those in need. I have never met a person who gave selflessly and was less happy because of it.
7. Live a healthy lifestyle.
I have never been the most disciplined person in the world when it comes to health and fitness, but I do know when I work out consistently and eat better, I look better, which leads to feeling better, which leads to having more confidence, which makes me happier and more productive.
Staying active for at least a short period of time every day, cutting out unhealthy foods, and getting enough sleep can greatly impact your level of happiness with a moderately low amount of effort.
8. Enjoy life’s little pleasures.
In the 5th point we discussed the importance of being present wherever you are in life. Part of this is taking the time to enjoy the small things. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak, whatever this means to you. It could be something as simple as leaving your phone in the other room while you have your morning coffee, or something as major as planning the European vacation you’ve always wanted to go on.
The consistency that arises from enjoying the pleasures of life is that these are the memories we will carry with us forever. When we sit with our grandchildren, we won’t be talking about the Instagram filter we used on the photo we took of the mountains. We will be talking about the way our perspective of the world was forever altered by the breaths we took while taking those mountains in.
Enjoy the little things in life, because someday, you will look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault
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