I was thinking a couple of weeks ago about what makes us happy – not in an “I’ve achieved a state of Nirvana and spiritual awakening” sense, but in an everyday “I feel really good about myself at the moment” sense.
For some reason, I’ve been incredibly productive over the last few months. Perhaps it was the thought of my impending birthday, the looming of being another year older forcing me to get my backside in gear to be organised and more “grown up” before the clock ticks over. Maybe it’s just one of those things, I’ve hit my “spring cleaning” point in the year and just felt like getting things done. Whatever the reason behind it, I’m not complaining!
The upshot of this productvity, getting stuff out of the way and pre-empting items that may come up has made be really happy and fulfilled, this in turn has made me even more motivated to get extra stuff done. This then got me thinking: how can we replicate this so that we feel happy and motivated all the time? What are the triggers to being happy within ourselves and maintaining motivational levels and a sense of happiness?
I wanted to try and make my answer as simple as possible. That way it’s an easy fix (or trick) to get myself happy and motivated again. So, here a the three simple tips I’ve come up with and tried to work on over the past couple of months to keep me going on this path to personal happiness.
Productivity seems to breed productivity. Get one thing done and you want to do more. The net result? You accomplish things and feel really good about it.
Sort out your to-do list anyway you feel happy – app, online, paper, whiteboard, moleskine – whatever you feel comfortable using and can update easily in order to track your progress. I’ve been using Coach.me to track certain to-dos such as “Inbox Zero”, “Write a blog post” and “500 Word Every Day”, and I use a white board and any.do to track the rest of my to-dos. There’s a sense of enormous satisfaction crossing an item off and seeing your progress unfold before you. Seeing your list of items slowly decrease helps you move on on to the next item and you’ll feel so much better for it.
Don’t just wait for the fires to start, look around and figure out if anything is going to be a problem in the near future and try and pre-empt it. This could be anything from hoovering your house the day before relatives visit so you’re not in a last minute panic to preventative car maintenance so your vehicle doesn’t go kaput in the winter.
Proactivity isn’t just about helping ourselves either, it’s about helping friends and family too. Is you father always moaning that he hasn’t got enough time to go out and clean the gutters? Do it for him. Perhaps your friend keeps on forgetting to buy a particular item they’ve been wanting for ages – go and get it. This has the added bonus of not just making you feel good, it makes others feel good too which is a double bonus.
Take the time to look around you and notice things that may need doing in the near future, listen to what other people are saying so you know what they need help with and note them down so that they can be actioned at the appropriate time.
“Good things come to those who wait” as the saying goes and “Patience is a virtue”.
Patience can help you feel happier in a variety of ways: saving up for a purchase can make you appreciate it more, having patience with others helps you feel calmer and raises their self-esteem.
It’s quite easy to get wound up if someone just doesn’t “get it”, or is rude to you. This has an obvious biological effect, but it also affects us mentally as well. Taking time to calm down and put together a rational response (or ignore what’s happened completely) can help you to remain in your happy state of mind and also feel health benefits as well (lower blood pressure for starters).
Buying something on the spur of the moment can seem like a good idea at the time but if you haven’t properly thought through your purchase and made sure it’s exactly what you’re after and right for you this can cause buyer’s regret. Making sure you really want an item by researching it thoroughly, saving for it or just thinking about it until your really sure you want (or need) it can really help.
Over To You
Productivity, Proactivity and Patience are just 3 facets of what can make us happy but I think they are easily achievable and just take a small shift in our habits rather than a complete overhaul of our lifestyles.