Since this blog is all about different ways of making happiness a habit in our lives, I thought I’d touch on the difficulties and importance of creating habits. Happiness is important and we all need it but we need to make it a habit and we all know starting a habit can be hard to do! But practising small daily habits can lead to building a better version of ourselves.
We usually start habits from a place of having had enough. We want something to change, we want something to be different. We have a picture in our mind of the goal we want to achieve, however this is where things can go a bit wrong. Our minds get seduced by the end goal and we are impatient to get there quickly. The idea of the goal fires up our enthusiasm which is great, but when the changes aren’t happening quickly we start losing the belief in ourselves and it can result in us giving up.
Change is hard – the brain has a built in mechanism which means we need to repeat something a lot for us to get better at it and after hundreds of repetitions (i.e thinking the same thought or learning new foreign words) our brains get faster at it. Unfortunately this is also how negativity has been ingrained in us from past experiences, thoughts and beliefs – it has almost become subconscious and this makes it hard to create new positive thoughts and habits that counteract this. But creating habits for happiness can be achieved.
So what is the secret to a successful habit? It’s all about understanding the importance of the present moment. We tend to take the present moment for granted – it seems insignificant and we believe the little things we do in the moment aren’t changing us.
For example, you want to learn something new and you read 10 pages of a book a day…if you read 10 pages today will you be more successful? No. If you don’t read 10 pages today will you be less successful? No. The difference between reading 10 pages today and not reading 10 pages today is insignificant in the moment but if you read these 10 pages every day for a year you will have read a lot of books and therefore changed your attitude and philosophy on the subject – it will have changed you.
You must invest in the small things over a long period of time and understand that you only have the moment you are in and although these moments seem insignificant when determining whether you succeed or fail at something, it is the combination of moments over time that achieve the big things.
This is especially important for bringing more successful habits of happiness into your life. We need to stop looking so far ahead and not quit based on the day to day moments and realising the discipline to be aware that it is these insignificant present moments that ultimately achieve your goals.
It’s really important to realise that happiness is not about the big things that happen in our lives. It’s not about the money, the big house, the flash car, the perfect job, the perfect family – we tend to think we’ll be happy once these things are here but it’s actually about the little habits that you do consistently and persistently in your present moments. It can be something that takes 5 or 10 minutes in your day like taking a walk, being grateful and thankful for things in your life, ringing up a person you love for a chat or deciding to go for a run. These things gradually build up a mindset of happiness and improves our outlook on life sometimes without us even realising.
We are all on a different happiness journey but for all of us it is about choosing to make a habit of these moments and little things that can shift the way we feel and think. It is inevitable that we have our bad days and negative thoughts so don’t feel like you have failed when you have these down moments. A bad day does not cancel out a good one. Never dismiss the small moments that bring us joy as unimportant – that walk you take, that good chat with your friend, meditating, the 10 minutes you take cuddling your pet – it all adds up to a happier mindset and better life in the long term 🙂