7 Habits For Happiness And Success

successOver the years of reading self improvement books, success literature and blogs, biographies of successful people and just general real life experience I’ve found there are many habits that if adopted and sustained, have been proven to lead one down the path to happiness and success. I’ve compiled a few of them here for this post. This is by no means a complete list, and in this ever changing world we live in hopefully, we are learning more about what it takes to be successful and happy in life. The are some of the habits that have worked for me and others and I’m sure they will help you too.

 

1. Read for at least 30 minutes per day of quality stuff

Daily reading cannot only make you smarter but also healthier. Reading on a regular basis has been proven to lower your stress level and help keep your brain young by slowing cognitive decline. Beyond the mental stimulation you receive there’s also gains in knowledge, vocabulary expansion and memory improvements. You will improve your analytical thinking skills as well as your focus and concentration abilities. And last but not least it’s great entertainment! No one ever said the movie was better than the book!

 

2. Get At Least 7 To 8 Hours Of Sleep Every Night

Getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Studies have shown that people who get adequate sleep live longer on average than those that don’t. Getting the right amount of sleep has shown to spur the creative process and this can lead to numerous benefits. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested loss 56% more fat than those who were sleep deprived. Also if you’re tired all the time you tend to eat more carbs for energy. Getting better sleep helps you to better handle and recover from stress as well as help to control your blood pressure.

 

3. Try To Take One Step Toward Your Goals Everyday

If you can get into the habit of taking one step – even if it is just planning for your goal or visualizing yourself achieving said goal, you will be one step closer to achieving it in reality. Doing this also keeps your goals in the forefront of your mind allowing you to see opportunities to help you meet them. Keeping your goals in mind will allow your subconscious to get used to them and accept them as reality and soon they will be!

 

4. Get 3 to 4 Hours Of Exercise Every Week

One of my favorite authors, the late great Stephen Covey, used to use the phrase of “sharping the saw”. He used the analogy of a woodcutter sawing for days and getting less and less productive. Why? Because he never stopped to sharpen the saw. The same is true with our bodies and our mind. If we don’t take time out to exercise and get the accompanying rest and recuperation then we will eventually run our selves in the ground, and become dull and inefficient.

 

5. Focus More Experiences And Relationships Rather Than Material Possessions

I doubt anyone, on their death bed, ever wished they could have bought that new car or new expensive clothes. Life is made of our experiences and relationships with others – not how many materiel possessions we accumulate. Many people, including myself, would gladly give away most of our material possessions if it meant they can have more time with a deceased relative or friend. Now I’m not saying don’t buy nice things if you can afford it. You work hard for your money and it is part of the reward for your time. And I wouldn’t begrudge anyone that. All I’m saying is when it comes to a choice of spending time with loved ones or taking that trip to a place you’ve never been before, or trying that new restaurant with a significant other – do that, instead of buying the latest gadget. You won’t regret the latter but you might regret the former.

 

6. Learn To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

By this I mean learn to notice when you have a choice between taking the growth path or the fear path and choose the growth path more often especially when you’re young. This habit is not talking about thrill seeking. What I’m talking about for example is if you’re at a social gathering and you want to meet a certain person and are feeling nervous or anxious about it, learn to look at it as either the growth path or the fear path. Overcome your fear and go talk to that person. A famous hockey player once said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So go ahead and take a shot.

 

7. Learn To Set Goals And Review Them Regularly

It goes without saying if you don’t know where you’re going you are most likely going to end up someplace you don’t really want to be. To make sure you get where you DO want to be, you need plan and set goals. I like to use the end of year to step back and see where I’m at and to plan my goals for the next year, but really this can be done anytime. You can start by thinking of where you want to be personally, financially and even physically, meaning your health. Just the act of planning and setting goals can give you clarity and focus in what you really want in life. This can can give you peace of mind in that you know what you want in life and it can help you in your decision making because you will naturally make the decision that gets you closer to your goals. It’s also important to review your goals on a regular basis to make sure you are on track and that this goal is still something you want to achieve. Check out this previous post on effective goal setting.

 

Resources For You:

 

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The Benefits And Keys To Setting Goals For Yourself

goal_settingMost people wait until January and the beginning of the new year to create their goals and resolutions. But really anytime is a great time to set goals for yourself. Setting goals and meeting them gives one a benchmark for their achievements and a sense of accomplishment. Having a plan of action to achieve your goal gives us a feeling that we are in control of our future to some extent. Here we will list the many benefits of setting goals for yourself as well as the keys to setting them and successfully achieving your goals.
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What Do They Mean By Positive Thinking

imagesCAE4VJN0What do they mean by positive thinking? I’m not just talking about the “glass half empty – glass half” full cliches. I talking about how to put into practice the paradigm of positive thinking and experience the real health and psychological benefits that you get from positive thinking. Thinking positive is much more than just putting on a smile and bearing through whatever you’re are going through, although there is some evidence in cases to support the idea of the physical effort of being positive leading to the internal or mental state of thinking positive. Positive thinking doesn’t mean you ignore bad things when they happen it just means you react to them differently and approach them in a more positive and productive way.

 
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Gratitude – Why We Should Start Showing Some

gratitudeThere is a line in a song, and I’m paraphrasing here, that says – that (happiness) is not getting what you want as much as wanting what you have. That is a form of gratitude. Having or showing gratitude has shown to have numerous and cascading health benefits for oneself. With all our striving for success and the hustle and bustle of trying to get ahead in everyday life, sometimes its good and apparently healthy, to step back, look around and be grateful for that we do have rather than be depressed, worried or anxious about the things that we don’t have. In fact having an attitude of gratitude can actually go a long way in setting you up to grow and succeed more. There have been many studies done in the neuroscience and psychology fields of the many health benefits of showing and keeping an attitude of gratitude. Let’s look at some of them.

 
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What’s Your Mindset? Growth Vs Fixed Mindset

mindsetWhat would you say is your dominate mindset? First of all, what do we mean by mindset and how is this a success factor? Dictionary.com defines your mindset as “a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person’s responses to and interpretations of situations. An inclination or a habit.”

Your dominate mindset can go along way in determining how successful and happy you are in life. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
– Carol S. Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University and a leading expert in motivation and personality psychology suggests there are basically to prevailing mindsets. The fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

 
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Top 5 Wayne Dyer Books – IMO

wayne-dyerWe lost a great man and one of my all time favorite authors recently – Dr. Wayne Dyer. Dyer’s first book, Your Erroneous Zones was the first self help, success psychology book I ever read. It fueled my interest in this field that remains to this day. In this book I was also introduced to Abraham Maslow and his hierachry of needs which has had a major influence on not only psychology but advertising, marketing and business management as well. Dyer listed Maslow as one of his mentors. Being a teenager at the time, and full of emotions I didn’t understand, Dyer in his first few books seemed to be able to cut through all the psychological babble and explain things in a very common sense way without ever talking down to the reader. He made it sound like he had found or realized something really unique and wanted to tell all his friends (his readers) what it was.

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Can You Choose To Be Happy

happyAs the song says “Don’t worry, be happy!” A question I’ve always had is, can you just choose to be happy regardless of your current situation. And if so, is that a good thing. Well of course optimism has been well studied and has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits both physically and mentally. People who are optimistic tend to be more successful in day to day life. They have more friends and a better social scene. People tend to gravitate to happy positive people. I mean who wants to be around Debbie Downer all the time. People who are happy and optimistic tend to be able to handle stress better and can weather the eventual down times that everyone goes through. But what I was curious about is whether you can make yourself happy or is it solely based on outside circumstances.

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Exercise And The Brain

exercise and the brainYour physical health and your brain’s performance are very much related. Studies have shown that a good exercise regimen can have very positive effects when it comes to learning and memory. It provides protection from neurodegeneration and can alleviate depression especially in the elderly. Exercise can increase synaptic elasticity or the ability of synapses to strengthen over time. Since memories are represented by vastly interconnected networks of synapses in the brain, synaptic plasticity is one of the important neurochemical foundations of learning and memory. On a lower level exercise increases your heart rate which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the bodily release of a bunch of hormones, which provide nourishment for the growth of brain cells. Running in particular has shown to be a potent cerebral enhancer. Some studies have shown it to have the ability to spark neurogenesis, which is the growth of new brain cells.
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Mindfulness – What Is It And How Can It Help

mindfulnessMindfulness is described as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It is also described as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while only acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. In layman’s terms it is a state of open consciousness where you are aware of things – thoughts, feelings, sensations – but from a distance. You are not judging and are just observing them. You are living in the moment so to speak. In my mind it is a close relative to meditation and they’re usually used together but can be separate. Research has shown that mindfulness has many benefits beyond just relaxing the mind.

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Using Positive Thinking And Self Talk To Enhance Your Life

positive-thinking Most of the time we pay little attention to the words we use when describing our self or our current situation when talking to ourselves either outwardly or inwardly. Science shows people tend to be much happier and much more successful when they are conscious of and control their self-talk.

The study of the positive effects of self talk go all the way back to the early 1900’s and the French doctor Emile Coue. He achieved great success by having his patients repeat several times a day a mantra of “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”. Coué thus developed a method which relied on the principle that any idea exclusively occupying the mind turns into reality and his patients benefited greatly by it. It later became know as the Coue Method.
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