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A happy life starts with a happy day. And developing a few happiness habits can go a long way toward creating happy days. Happiness habits are simple, fun actions that you can start taking today to boost your own daily happiness.
What do you think, does happiness happen by chance or by choice? Is it a matter of luck? Or maybe it’s about achieving goals? I’m thinking not. I’m thinking money or success don’t really have anything to do with happiness, either. I’ve achieved goals, had a few coins in my pocket, and even had a small degree of success in some of my endeavors – and those things all feel good, kind of a temporary high, but they don’t really seem to lead to happiness.
Here is my theory on the whole happiness thing. It comes first from faith and trust in something bigger than ourselves (Jesus would be my recommendation), and second, from the everyday choices we make. Happiness isn’t the result of big events or external influences but instead is a daily choice.
Years ago I received some great advice that lead directly to my own Daily Happiness Habits practice. This person suggested writing down a list of simple things that make any day a good day. No matter what happens in the day, if you do one or two of these things, then it is a good day – things like hug a friend, read a good book, pray, meditate, listen to the wind blow.
It is choosing these simple actions that add a tiny touch of grace, beauty, and happiness to your day – day in and day out – that leads to a life filled with grace, beauty, and happiness.
1. How to create happiness habits
It is actually quite fun and easy to create happiness habits. All you need to do is write out a list of simple things that you can do every day that bring you joy and feed your soul.
List out a variety of items. Things like:
- Stuff you really enjoy doing – reading a book, drawing, playing an instrument.
- Stuff that is good for your soul – praying, reading the Bible, meditating, greeting your family with a smile every morning.
- Stuff that is good for your body – stretching, taking a walk, pausing to breathe deeply.
- And stuff that is important to you – studying an interesting topic, working toward a goal, stopping work at 5:00 to spend quality time with family.
That’s it! A simple list of things that make each day feel good!
2. How to keep track of happiness habits
Once you have your list of happiness habits, it’s really easy to stash it in a drawer and forget about it! Not that I’ve ever done that, or anything! 😉
I’ve found that if I don’t have a simple system of tracking my happiness habits, then I tend to not do them. To be honest, some habits have truly become second nature to me, so I don’t include them in my daily happiness habit tracking. But for the most part, if I don’t have some sort of personal accountability, then I easily forget the habits I want to create and fall into the thoughtless routines of mindless living.
It’s really quite fun and very satisfying to track happiness habits. Here’s what you do – at the start of every month, list out the happiness habits you want to focus on for the month down the left side of a sheet of paper or journal. For me, the list is often exactly the same from month to month, but sometimes it changes as my interests change. Across the top of the page, write out a number for every day of the month. Then at the end of each day during the month, go through and mark off the items you completed that day. Easy, fun, and a great way to develop happiness habits that will stick!
3. How NOT to use your Daily Happiness Habits
Daily happiness habits are about creating happiness. Go figure!
But if you aren’t careful, they can become guilt habits.
Always remember that the point is to create happiness – if you choose not to do something today, not a big deal. All that you’ve done is chosen to not do something that might have brought you a bit of happiness. No reason to feel bad – consider it again tomorrow. If you don’t do something for a week, not a big deal either. Consider if you really even want to do it, and cross it off if not. Or maybe it’s simply not practical this month. If so, revisit it again next month. If you find you are really NOT enjoying doing something, cross it off the list, too.
No guilt or obligation allowed.
That’s it! Easy-peasy! Who would have thought something so simple could go so far toward creating happiness?
So what about you? What daily happiness habits are you going to try? I would love to know! Feel free to share them in the comments below…
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Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
happy are those who hold her tightly.