Building A Happy And Fulfilling Life Through The Use Of Good Habits
What do your daily habits say about you and the life you lead?
As humans, we are defined by our habits, whether good or bad, yet we fail to see the link between how happy we are and habits we engage in.
Have you ever sat down and looked at your habits and what they are doing to you?
Probably not but now is a good time to take inventory of what you do and what you need to change to become a happier and more successful person.
In this article, I am going to lay out the 5 daily habits you absolutely need to build a happy and fulfilling life that you can easily incorporate into your own situation but let me give you a word of warning… this is very important information that you need to learn or you’re doomed to living a life less than what you envision.
Why Are Habits So Important To Being Happy?
Before you can learn these five habits you must understand the importance of creating good habits and turning them into techniques that bring you happiness and success.
Aristotle says that 95% of everything we do is the result of our habits so if you form good habits, logically good things will happen but it actually goes much further than that. You want to make those good habits your master instead of allowing bad habits to rule your actions.
All habits are learned so you don’t really unlearn those habits. The idea is to replace the bad habits with good habits and continually develop those good habits.
Think about what you do everyday and prioritize those good habits. Life is about getting good results so you must become a results-oriented person.
The key to creating good habits is self-discipline. Self-discipline then, is the foundation which makes everything else possible.
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.”
Here Are The 5 Daily Habits You Absolutely Need To Build A Happy And Fulfilling Life
Many of our everyday habits are so ingrained in our daily adventures that we don’t actually think about them until they come up. The five habits I talk about here are things most people know about but don’t really practice enough. I have found these habits keep us humble and unselfish and at the same time while forcing us to become the best we can be.
1- Practice Generosity – Above all things, generosity leads to happiness. For those who give of themselves, happiness is spread throughout the world. It is the seed that never stops giving.
In PSALM 41:1–3, we read about God’s promise to the generous.
“Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;
the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.”
It’s important to understand that God responds to the kindness and generosity we show to others with His ultimate protection, good health, and the abundance of his love.
This type of habit has been lost in this generation as people put too much emphasis on getting rich, buying things and looking after their own needs first.
Are you a generous person?
Do you give with your heart or your wallet?
The Lord loves a cheerful giver. According to Rev. James L. Harvey III, “When we use our money as God intends, giving a generous portion to His kingdom work regularly, we will feel God’s pleasure because we are doing what we are made to do.” He goes on to say, “God’s grace abounds to us in every good work of giving.”
According to bestselling author Michael Hyatt, there’s a ton of research showing how generosity enhances the quality of life for everyone involved.
He lists 5 ways generosity gives back to us:
- It makes us healthier – Studies show the act of giving lowers blood pressure and reduces the the risk of dementia. It also helps stave off chronic illnesses, like heart disease, by lowering the disease risk factors.
- It makes us happy – According to researcher Christian Smith, happiness is a byproduct of doing good. It also triggers all the feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, and oxytocin which enhances the happiness we feel. Being generous also affects our moods.
- It improves our relationships – Everyone likes to be around generous people because they bring out the best in us. When others are generous to us, we want to be generous back. This habit can’t be taught. Instead, it must come from the heart. Giving brings people together by helping us stay connected to one another.
- It extends our lives – Have you ever volunteered for a charity or at church or for any function at all? How do you feel after helping others? A study in The Journal of Health Psychology of 2,000 people in Marin, California, found that volunteering dramatically reduced mortality rates even better than exercising. “Subjects who volunteered for two or more causes had a 63 percent lower rate of mortality than people who didn’t volunteer during the study period.”This should be a huge difference maker for those who don’t like to give. In fact, older adults who liked to volunteer their time found a better sense of purpose to their lives, higher levels of self-esteem and a stronger sense of personal control over how they live their lives. This is how being generous improves the quality of life for everyone involved.
- It lower our levels of stress – According a study from social psychologist Liz Dunn, people’s cortisol levels rose when they became stingy but for those who gave without being forced their stress levels tapered off. Another study in 2014 study from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia backed this up. They found that stingy behavior increases stress. The researchers played a money bargaining game with subjects, in which the participants had to divide up a certain amount of money. Researchers found that the participants who decided on making low offers experienced an increase in heart rate and stress levels while those who made high offers had lower rates of stress.
2- Surround Yourself With Inspiration – Life would be so boring if there wasn’t any inspiration in the world. According to Nina Amir, the Inspiration-to-Creation Coach, “To achieve that state of being, you must know what makes you happy. Then you have to allow those things to be part of your life. You can’t allow life to get in the way of doing the things that make you feel good and joyous. If you do, you become unhappy—or less happy than possible.”
Think about it…
What inspires you to get up and actually live?
What is it that gives you purpose in life?
What actually makes you happy?
Are you living that happiness or do you live on autopilot?
Inspiration is a habit that not many people look upon to give them happiness. In fact, inspiration seems to be unimportant to most people. They feel they’re too busy to be inspired or that only creative people are inspired in life. This is a great fallacy that has hindered finding happiness for too many people over the years.
From pockemindfulness.com blog, they state, “We all need a touch of inspiration to reignite the fire in our soul, be it to stimulate creative ideas for a project we are working on or simply to break the monotony of life’s autopilot and lose ourselves in the moment of possibility for a while.”
It is in that moment of possibility that we find the secret of happiness and success. It’s not about money or power but looking for that fleeting instant of inspiration that pushes us forward in life.
The most successful people in the world find inspiration in the little things in life. They make it a daily habit which brings out their gratitude for life and what they have at that moment in time.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”
Helen Keller saw and heard more than most people will ever experience. What was her secret? Inspiration!!! She was a lifelong learner who wanted to make a difference in the world and used the habit of inspiration to become one of the most prominent women of the 20th century.
Why is inspiration so important to being happy and successful?
Most of us take life too seriously. We work too hard and don’t take enough time to enjoy life or what it has to offer. In a November 1, 2008 article by Scott Barry Kaufman entitled, “Why Inspiration Matters” he talks about why inspiration is so important and why it is so elusive. “In a culture obsessed with measuring talent and ability, we often overlook the important role of inspiration. Inspiration awakens us to new possibilities by allowing us to transcend our ordinary experiences and limitations. Inspiration propels a person from apathy to possibility, and transforms the way we perceive our own capabilities.”
Psychologists Todd M. Thrash and Andrew J. Elliot say that inspiration has three main qualities:
- Evocation – Inspiration is evoked spontaneously without intention.
- Transcendence – Is transcendent of our more animalistic and self-serving concerns and limitations. It involves a moment of clarity and awareness of new possibilities.
- Approach Motivation – In which the individual strives to transmit, express, or actualize a new idea or vision.
According to Thrash and Elliot, “Inspired people were more open to new experiences, and reported more absorption in their tasks.” This is important to understand how inspiration enhances our experiences and helps us enjoy life to a much greater degree.
Finally, inspiration is the springboard for a more creative and happy life. Be inspired to create the life you want on your terms!
3- Challenge Yourself – Most people see challenges as a “Me against the world” fight and a “Win or lose proposition” but challenges are what makes life interesting. Just like inspiration makes our experiences that much bolder, challenges force us to actually be a part of our own lives.
What types of challenges are you facing right now?
Are you learning from them?
Are you making the most of them?
Here are some challenges that will inspire positive habits in your life.
- Challenge your beliefs regarding what you are capable of – Stop with the I can’t excuses and start pushing yourself beyond your supposed limits.
- Challenge your ideas about life – What does life mean to you? Are you following the crowd because you don’t want to think for yourself or are you afraid of being/feeling different?
- Challenge your commitments – Are you guilty of failing to finish those things you want to do but never get around to doing?
- Challenge your opportunities – Are you scared to take advantage of opportunities because you might fail? Sometimes, you need to dive head on and find your purpose while other times require you to make quick decisions. This is where doors open to a life you may be hiding from.
- Challenge your thoughts – Are you one of those people who is filled with negativity? Work at being aware of what your thoughts are doing to you. Happiness depends on positivity. Be mindful of what you think and learn about the things you are thinking. Why are you thinking the thoughts you think? What are they doing to you? Make it a habit to confront the negative thoughts and try to replace them with positive ones until you gain control over your thoughts.
- Challenge your comfort zone – Get out of from behind the walls you have erected and take chances with your life. We all know why it’s important to push the boundaries of your comfort zone but why do most of us cringe when it comes time to do just that? It helps you become more productive, you will have an easier time facing new challenges and it will be much easier to brainstorm and harness your creativity because you have broken those chains that have always held you back.
Challenging yourself is the best way to improve yourself. Sometimes, you may fail but in the long run but you will gain trust in your abilities and strength in your character.
On the Plaza College website, they have an article dated July 24. 2013 entitled, “The Importance of Challenging Yourself” which meant to inspire students to achieve the best in all their endeavors.
It states, “Challenging ourselves to always achieve a level greater than what we expect is beneficial to not only our mental health, but also to our personal well being. As we conquer challenges that stand in our way like roadblocks, refusing to allow our passing, we find confidence in our abilities. Confidence is such an important characteristic to finding the path to success. If you do not believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you? With confidence in your own work, comes the reward of the confidence of others in you. Boosting that confidence is the growing self-esteem, which results from tackling challenges.”
One of the most important ideas with challenging yourself is that it triggers change. Change is good when you are able to face that challenge but bad when you run away from change. Challenges are meant to help us gain clarity and maturity. These are things the right habit can help us achieve in the long run.
When obstacles come, research shows that when you see them as challenges and not threats, you have a much better chance of overcoming them. The motivation comes when we strive to better ourselves and work on our signature strengths.
4- A Sense Of Balance – It has become increasingly hard to maintain any hope for balancing the work/life/play syndrome most of us face. We either work too hard and don’t spend enough time with ur families or we spend too much time with family life which affects how we work. The problem is, we have forgotten how to balance things to remain happy and fulfilled.
Maintaining a healthy balance in life is essential for being happy and a sense of well-being.
You need to remember that balance is an ongoing process that you must work at on a daily basis. You have to practice it to become better at it. Find what is important, prioritize then focus on it and do it. It really is that simple.
We tens to make everything so complicated in life that we forget that balance is all about keeping everything in perspective. The balance tips when we go overboard in any one area of life.
The balance habit is about keeping your life in perspective. It’s about the process of living not trying to life. Remember that. If you spend too much time trying to live and not actually living your priorities get screwed up and you lose balance rather quickly.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”
How To Find Balance In Life
There are two parts to everyone finding balance. They are
The internal starts with the mind, the heart and your health.
- The mind is about making full use of your intellect while still giving your mind time to unwind.
- The heart is about being open to giving as well as receiving love.
- Your health (both physical, mental and spiritual) is about taking care of yourself without overdoing things that can lead to illness.
The external starts with work, Social interaction, family, and experiencing fun.
- Work is about achieving your goals while enjoying what you do.
- Social interaction is about maintaining friendships without losing time for yourself.
- Family is about meeting the needs of your family while taking care of your own needs
- Having fun is about taking time to enjoy life without overdoing it.
Are you being pulled in any one direction? Finding balance when life is pushing from all sides may seem like a heavyweight boxing match but this is where getting focus on what is important, getting things organized both in your personal and business life and being flexible come in handy.
You can’t hope to feel balanced if you can’t simplify your life. The more you complicate things and have too much to handle the harder it is to maintain any type of real balance. Practicing the habit of keeping things balanced allows you to create daily routines that keep things running smoothly.
Without a balanced lifestyle, it is easy to become depressed, disenchanted as well as stressed out and overburdened. Balancing everything may seem overwhelming but it all comes down to creating structure in your life that you can count on when things get crazy.
5- Learning the art of persistence – When the face of negativity appears, persistence is it’s Kryptonite.
According to 99 Perseverance Success Stories: Encouragement for Success in Every Walk of Life
- Success is a process, not destination.
- Time is your only asset; anything else is just a function of time.
- Every action gives results; sometimes it’s experience, sometimes feedback, sometimes the output you desired. It’s never in vain.
- Work on your important goals every day.
- You can do only one thing at a time; choose wisely which one.
- Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
- You need a burning desire to get what you want
“Success is the study of the obvious. Everyone should take Obvious I and Obvious II in school.”
Michael goes on to say, “We always notice things that we’re paying attention to. Wherever our focus is, our mind’s eye follows.” This is where persistence leads us. It’s that main focus where we put all our energy on to get what we are searching for.
Thomas Edison failed over a 10,000 times to invent a commercially-viable electric light bulb but he never gave up. When asked why, he said, “We sometimes learn a lot from our failures if we have put into the effort the best thought and work we are capable of.”
That’s why persistence pays off. It’s a habit most of us lack. We give up right before we actually find the answer. It is also one habit we teach our kids without really trying. They see us give up and take after our example. We wonder why they act this way later in life but we are to blame from our past examples.
Being firmly focused is the proper pathway to being persistent. You need to find a deep-rooted reason that drives you where you need to go and then pursue it wholeheartedly.
But you can’t just go all in without a plan. Persistence is nothing without a plan. Learning how to problem solve is also key to being persistent. When you have different ways to approach a task persistence becomes easier. Backup plans allow you to hit a problem from all angles.
Why is persistence so important to happiness and being fulfilled?
Have you ever settled for things and felt guilty for doing so? All of us have but it’s the ones who make the supreme effort to go far beyond mere acceptance who get what they want. They don’t settle for things they don’t want. It’s a habit they’ve built up all their life and once they outline their action steps, they go all in. Whether they succeed or fail isn’t really important here but the will to find the answers.
When you combine all five habits together you see that discipline makes them work in harmony. It all starts with the first step.
Being happy and fulfilled is a goal all of us share but it’s the ones who are persistent in their approach who achieve results. When you connect your goals to an already established habit you will able to experience happiness and fulfillment in everything you do.
The key is to establish these five habits and live by them. This probably the best quote on persistence I have ever read and I believe this is how you get what you want in life… “It’s the fire you keep trying to start inside yourself until it grows and becomes bigger and bigger.” by James altucher.
I challenge you to make these five habits an important part of your daily routine. I know they will work for you because they are staples in finding true happiness and living a fulfilling life.