I’ve been giving this some thought lately, because let’s face it. It’s too easy to spend our lives on auto-pilot and forget what keeps us feeling happy and content. Do you know the one thing that keeps you happy when nothing else does?
Too often as we grow older, we lose sight of what turns us on. We assume we already know everything there is to know about ourselves! But if we’re clever, we realize we never stop growing up and learning.
Those habits you have (me too) that seem unbreakable? What if we shook them up?
Don’t give up healthy habits that support you, but DO give up unconscious habits that keep you stuck in a less than satisfying rut.
Let me think of an example.
An unconscious habit that keeps us in a rut could be meeting the same workout friend at the gym. Might be an awesome habit if that friend keeps us motivated, happy and energised. If all they want to do is gab or hang out instead of working out, our healthy habit isn’t serving us is it?
I get it. You still want to work out and get that endorphin rush. How about getting another partner to work out with? Or go solo and focus on you and what you want to accomplish?
What have habits got to do with happiness?
Most of us prefer to make things easy, not a struggle. Habits make it easy for our brain to connect the dots to make an action or sequence simpler for us. A habit of going for a walk every day after dinner means you’re not expending as much energy to get yourself out the door. You’ve already done the hard part by creating a habit. Does that make sense?
Habits that lead to happiness work the same way.
If we intentionally set up habits to reinforce feeling good, we get to reap the benefits on the regular. The more jazzed this healthy habit makes us feel, the easier it is to consistently find our happy place. Being in our happy place makes the healthy habit easier to maintain. It’s like being on a healthy hamster wheel!
Speaking of happy place, have you tuned into The Good Place? It’s a humorous and quirky take on the afterlife. I caught a couple of episodes on the plane and then watched the rest on Netflix. Check it out and let me know what you think!
OK back to the habit of happiness.
If we can find that one habit that reinforces feeling good about ourselves, we’re golden. The very nature of a habit is something we do voluntarily. We humans have this cute ability to program ourselves when we need to. Like getting up in time so we don’t miss the train to work!
Why not use it for good?
Create a habit that consistently brings you back to feeling happy about yourself and your life. Become conscious of habits that don’t serve you. I’m not saying give up Netflix and the couch. That’s one of the simple joys of the 21st century! BUT how about making that binge an occasional treat instead of an unconscious habit?
Here’s how you could discover the one thing that keeps you happy
- Are you a thinker or a mover?
Thinker – Start planning a dream scenario in your head visualising all the details. Dream big!
Mover – Create a habit of moving that turns you on. Dancing, running, biking or fly-fishing. Go!
- What’s your favorite way to express yourself?
Verbally – Call a trusted friend once a week and dish. Connect positively!
Written – Get a journal and make a habit of writing down all your great ideas and thoughts. Let it out!
- What makes you lose track of time?
Dancing – Make a habit of dancing to your favorite tunes. Don’t use a mirror!
Music – Listen to music that lifts your spirits. Play it loud!
Gardening – Indoors or outdoors any time of year. Get your hands dirty!
Reading – Read uplifting, romantic or positive words. Immerse yourself!
Grandkids – Make a regular play date. Let go and have fun!
Nature – Get out and walk, breathe and smell. Don’t wear a watch!
You get the idea don’t you sweetie? You’re a smart cookie. It’s not hard to discover the one thing that keeps you happy when you tap into those times you’re in the flow. When you forget what time it is.
The trick is sticking to it. Make a habit to feel good.
Start by consciously reminding yourself you deserve this. Make yourself a priority. Let go of any expectations of what you should be doing. Instead make it a conscious habit to mindfully do what brings you joy. Only you know what that is. Spend some time to really dig around and remember what sparks those happy feeling and and then make a habit to feel that way.
What I’ve found is this. If we spend too much time in habits that aren’t serving us, we forget what it feels like to be authentically happy. Our bad habits can run our lives.
This is just a little nudge to say, wake up to what’s working for you and what isn’t. Choose a new habit that keeps you smiling and content. Your new positive habit will be your secret weapon to get over the days that aren’t so great too.
What’s the one happy thing you’ve decided to make into a new habit? I’d love to hear it!