If we could have it all, we probably would. The mindfulness of Buddha, the intelligence of Einstein, the vision of Steven Jobs, the wisdom and kindness of Nelson Mandela, the list goes on. We have an ideal image in our head of the person we want to become, however, it is not the person we currently are.
Big goals and dreams are often dime a dozen as everyone hopes to become the next big thing or change the world. Where to start? Instead of setting your sights high, set your sights on lower more obtainable goals and work your way to the bigger goals. Here are some easy steps (life hacks) into becoming a happier and healthier person. Warning: may sound like the standard cliché, however, there are some tested methods for improving our lives in simple ways. Why not try?
1. Don’t compare yourself
It is natural to compare oneself to their ‘best’ selves, their past selves, and others. Does it help us though? If you are busier looking at what you are getting rather than what you have been given, you will always be looking for the bigger & better. Competition is healthy; we thrive from a challenge – to an extent. The moment you stop comparing yourself to who you: (1) Think you should be, (2) who you once were, (3) who your friends are and (4) the rest of the world, life will become more enjoyable. Just remember the saying “No matter how good you think you are, there will always be a 5 year old Chinese child who can do it better.” Learn to let go of comparing and just do. Let other people and their footsteps inspire you, however, I advise not to walk in them.
2.Big goals, small milestones
This very list is an example of smaller milestones; trying to create the bigger picture with one step at a time instead of reaching for the stars immediately. For example, I have a habit of making half year and year bucket lists/to do lists. It fits my current philosophy to live life as though one has five to ten years left to live. When you take on such a mindset, you plan for the future yet still relish in the present. One way to do this is through the half-year bucket list, which involves creating a list of aspirations you have for the coming half-year. Mine often ranged from ten to twenty-five items. The key is to create the perfect blend between realistic and ambitious goals. I recommend a ratio of 60% realistic and 40% ambitious. Then start the new half-year and start checking the items off the list! My goal is usually to get at least 30% of the list checked off at the end of the half-year as I know that if I have managed to achieve more than 20% I am already happy. An example of a goal could be something simple like getting new glasses, mid-level like finishing an online course or a big ambitious goal could be a trip to a new continent or starting (& creating) your own website.
3.Daily good deeds
Daily good deeds can make a huge difference to your experience of your day. Twenty-one scientific studies link kindness and happiness. Doing good deeds gives the doer a warm glow, this includes the smallest gestures like: smiling to a stranger, greeting and thanking your bus driver, opening the door for someone, helping someone carry their items, giving a stranger a compliment, letting someone go before you in the checkout line, giving some money to the talented homeless & other things that are small favours requiring a small effort. Additionally, these favours end up making you happier – a win-win! Check out some of these inspirational videos of happiness increases.
4.Take a moment to reflect on today
Sometimes you can lift your mood by simply counting your blessings or realizing what you have achieved that day. More fabulousness to follow.
5.Take a deep breath
I am sure many of you recognize that moment when your mind is racing, the sentences form quickly in your mind and you are so hyped that you are unable to respond on reason, because you are living in an emotional state of reaction. What is the best way forward from that moment? Take a deep breath. A recent study indicates that slowing your breathing calms you and relaxes you. Additionally, taking the time to focus on a physiological aspect shifts your thinking from the worrying region of your brain to the mechanical physiological command centre. The shift allows you to focus & be more in the now rather than worrying about what has been and what could be.
6. Share love & gratitude
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”― Marcel Proust
Gratitude is one of the greatest ways to increase your happiness because it also positively influences your surroundings. To add to that, gratitude can be rather effortless because it simply requires appreciating the people, efforts, and pleasantries around us. Aren’t you happy and grateful when the weather is gorgeous.
7. Move more
This one is going to sound rather cliché, however, just making an effort to simply take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get your own coffee or tea? It is pretty awesome that if you get more tea and/or coffee, you will need to also use the restroom more often. If you use the restroom more often, you will also need to move more often. Win-win!
8. Meet up with people that make you happy & better
“Focus on the journey, not the destination”. To be filled with additional inspirational content.
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