Taken from the book “5 habits of highly successful people”
Essential Habit #1 : Make Exercise A Regular Habit
One of the most essential habits that leads to happiness and fulfillment is exercising regularly.
It does not necessarily have to be heavy weightlifting or running a marathon.
This is about doing lightly arduous activity to oxygenate your blood and strengthen the endorphins in your body.
Regardless of what kind of exercise you do, you will benefit from it as long as you do it regularly.
Make a schedule for exercise and commit to it no matter how busy you are.
Aim for an hour of exercise at least 5 days a week to achieve optimum results.
However, there is a strong likelihood of you sticking to something you enjoy doing more.
You’re not limited to working out at the gym or strapping on jogging shoes.
Therefore, allow yourself to look for something you enjoy doing which better suit your lifestyle and preferences.
For instance, you could participate in a dance class, shooting basketball hoops, walking in nature, swimming laps at the pool, joining a community sports league, playing tennis, jogging with your dog, hiking, riding a bike, or doing yoga in the park.
If you are having a hard time thinking of activities you enjoy, recall back to when you were a kid. What sports or games did you enjoy playing?
Exercise isn’t just beneficial for the body. It has a powerful positive impact on both physical and mental well-being. Besides, exercise also releases dopaminine, oxytocin and serotonin into the system, resulting in an almost euphoric effect without having to consume any drugs.
Once you have started this habit, you will feel more motivated, more mental clarity as well as be more emotionally sound.
People who exercise regularly tend to be happier across the board
. Also, they tend to be less stresssed, angry, anxious and depressed.
In addition, exercise doesn’t just help you maintain your health and attractiveness. Studies have shown that it acts as antidepressants which keeps you happy.
Based on research, exercising physically is simply mind-boggling; how physical exercise brings positive impacts to both physical and mental health.
It’s known to be as powerful as the most effecitve psychiatric medication in the absence of side effects.
Researchers believe that physical exercise can protect bodies against some of the illness that can hit people in their later lives which include cognitive decline but it can also help stave off feelings of depression and anxiety to individuals of different age groups.
When dealing with patients suffering from attention-deficit disorder or depression, doing physical exercise is highly recommended by most psychologists as it works wonders.
As stated by the NEF report, “we do not have to do plenty of them, even as minimal as running 3 separate 30minute sessions a week or brisk walking could be beneficial”.
However, in general, the longer and more intense the physical activity is, the better the impact on health.
But as the NEF report pointed out, even a single exercise session of 10 minutes or less can have a positive effect on one’s mental health.
However, one study found that habit formation takes an average time of 66 days to solidify but may happen anywhere between 18 to 254 days.
Therefore, do not get discouraged if you feel lethargic or demotivated to exercise at first as you are going to take time to develop the habit of exercising..
Think what exercise you can do today what time will you need to get up to either get to the gym or exercise at home are you disciplined enough to exercise at home?? cant afford the gym fees ???- buy a skipping rope and start just skipping 10 skips in the morning but double it every day
before long you will be skipping happily and getting fitter at the same time.
Essential Habit #2 : Wellness
Another important ritual of happiness and fulfillment is to develop wellness.
Wellness means doing anything to enhance your body and overall health. For example, being engaged in any activities of selfpampering is of paramount importance for mental health and happiness.
This could include one or a combination of the following: meditating, getting a hot bath, getting sufficient sleep, drinking plenty of water, taking your vitamins, eating food that are both nourishing and healthy, getting a massage and many more.
Happiness, vitality and emotional stability is directly enhanced by the practice of meditation and this is one of the most effective techniques to live a happier life.
Meditation is an effective ancient practice that helps us to control our
mind and thoughts as well as enjoy living in the moment.
In other words, meditation is a kind of exercise for the brain.
When meditation is practiced regularly, part of the brain filled with negative thoughts, anxiety and depression is reduced whereas the other part of the brain filled with joy, fulfillment, and peace is increased. It also boosts parts of the brain responsible in controlling emotions and managing attention.
Furthermore, being mindful enables you to be more entirely involved in your surroundings and hence more aware and appreciative of everything.
To meditate, its not necessary to be religious or even spiritual to reap its advantages.
No pan flutes, chanting, or yoga pants are needed during meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is a simple task which can be carried out by anyone, anywhere and anytime.
It is not necessary to sit on a mountain and say a mantra in order to meditate, you can simply set your alarm clock for half an hour earlier in the morning, get up, have your shower to ensure you are really awake and then sit quietly – preferably outside but if you cant manage that, then away from other people and in a place where you feel peace and quiet.
To begin, there are a several mindfulness exercises for you to practice such as body scanning, walking meditation and mindful eating.
Through body scanning, mindfulness is cultivated by paying attention on your different body parts. To do this, you should focus on your feet first and slowly move upwards like progressive muscle relaxation. Rather than relaxing and tensing your muscles, you should concentrate on the feelings obtained from every part of your body without judging them as either “pleasant” or “unpleasant”.
Meditation should be made a habit or a daily ritual, as the poet John Dryden once said “We first make our habits and then our habits make us.” Meditation also does not need you to be in a sitting posture or still. Mindfulness in walking meditation includes focusing on every step you take – how you feel when your feet touches the ground, your flow of breath while you move, and when the wind blows against your face.
Next, if you hunt for food especially when you’re stressed out or swallow your food down hurrily, you should attempt to eat mindfully. All you have to do is take a seat at the table and give undivided attention to your food without any distractions from television, newspaper and others. Take your time to eat slowly so that you can enjoy fully and focus on every bite. If you are able to implement a practice of mindfulness meditation, you will eventually start to realize and savor life’s pleasures more.
Your mind needs time i a day where you can slow the flow of thoughts that are continually whizzing around in it – sit quietly and then count backwards from 100
go 100 -99-98-97 until s thought creeps into your mind immediately eliminate that thought and start all over like anything else it takes practise but if you just focus on your breathing you will get the hang of it very quickly. These few minutes will clear your mid and make you ready for the day.
Essential Habit #3 : Develop Positive Thinking
The third essential habit that leads to fulfillment and happiness is to emphasize on cultivating positivity.
Our brains tend to be more aware of something unpleasant that has happened rather than the good things.
Therefore, our brains should be trained to develop positive thinking.
However, this does not mean wearing a fake smile everyday or sing a happy song regardless of what is happening.
You should not ignore reality and act like everything is amazing even when things are not going your way.
Mulling over negative things contributes to anxiety and depression whereas deciding to observe, appreciate and expect positivity is a strong cheerfulness booster.
Allowing yourself to feel grateful can make a big impact in your total happiness.
Research has shown that gratitude helps to trigger positive feelings, have a good feeling about yourself, build better relationships and enhance the immune system of your body.
A new study proves that gratitude causes you to be more penny-wise on things you spend on.
There are multiple simple tasks you can benefit from to boost and develop an attitude of gratitude.
Firstly, you should learn to thank others sincerely.
When someone lends you a hand and ease your day, be fast to thank them and show your appreciation no matter how big or small the favour is.
It does not only cause the person to be happy as you will also gain a happiness lift from it.
It becomes an immediate reward to observe how an expression of gratitude can make a positive change in someone else’s day.
Then, you will realize that there’s a connection between humans and the things we do to each other matters.
According to research, owning a gratitude diary is an effective way to make you feel more contented right away as you will feel more connection with other people and become genuinely appreciative.
It is also important to make a mental list of the things you appreciate about your life, whether small or big, as well as counting your blessings.
Make a routine to reflect on everything you are thankful for regularly, notice all the wonderful people you’ve come across in life who have taught you valuable lessons, your past experiences whether good and bad as well as the things you have in your life now.
It is of paramount importance to accept the negative event from your past as you can gain positive lessons from even the most painful experiences.
You will definitely be happier and more grateful when you can find meaning in even the bad things you’ve experienced.
Other than that, a letter of gratitude can brighten up someone’s day too.
Write a thoughtful gratitude letter or email to someone who has done something that affected your life in a good way whom you never have to chance to thank properly.
In the letter, you should express the positive impact that this person brings to your life and how much it means to you.
Martin Seligman, a positive psychology expert states that reading a letter of gratitude can cause a boost in happiness.
The importance of developing positive thinking aside, it is essential to surround ourselves with positive people too.
It’s true that we can’t make everybody happy meaning that we can’t be friends with some people either.
In other words, we should cut contact with those who constantly let us down by injecting negativity into our lives.
The key to happiness and fulfillment is to to spend quality time with positive minded people who can influence us positively.
I would love to put this on my facbook page or should we just put a link from facebook to my blog?
To me this is probably the most important as we all have exactly the same number of hours, minutes and seconds in a day – you need to use them well
To me, most people sleep too much – just think, as i write this i am 66 years old – if i had slept for 8 hours a night, every night, i would have been asleep for 22 years!!!
Utilise your time wisely and cut down on sleep – you really dont need the full 8 hours – i get by on four and i feel so much better for it!
Essential Habit #4: Effective Time Management
Effective time management is a crucial aspect that can influence your overall happiness and sucess.
How well you manage the precious time you have says a lot about what you are capable of achieving.
Also, since all of us have equal amount of time in this world, how you leverage this resource will determine your potential for success.
We all have 24 hours a day, with 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. Not one person, regardless of how they look, whether they are wealthy or poor, their race and religion, or their geographic location has more time than the other.
People who manage time effectively can handle their responsibilities in life and manage to juggle everything appropriately.
They pay attention on their goals in the long run and proritize activities that will strive to motivate them instead of dragging them behind.
Therefore, it is essential to implement a good system for managing time and make it habitual. This isn’t difficult to do but requires conscious and consistent effort to make it happen.
Once this habit has been adapted into your daily routine, virtually anything is possible and it wouldn’t be a problem to attain any goals in life.
At times, isolation is the most effective technique to complete your to-do list.
Keep in mind that the best reward for your effort and discipline is that you have completed all the things you had to do.
However, when we fail to manage time effectively, most likely that our stress and worries would increase.
We tend to get so distracted daily responding to life’s stressors and thus fail to tackle things preemptively that will help us get rid of unwanted crises or emergencies in the near future.
For example, we forget to settle our accounts, miss important meetings, and neglect our activities to pursue our goals.
Without proper time management, we have the tendency to procrastinate, become too socially active and also binge-watch series.
Left unmanaged and uncontrolled, mobile phones, text messages and emails, more laptops and gadgets make us constantly available and attentive for long periods of time.
So much precious time were taken away from more important longterm goals.
Eventually, we end up feeling depressed when our wants or necessities in life aren’t fulfilled.
Instead of making good use of time advancing towards our goals, we would regret at that moment as we realized that we are a few steps further away from reaching our goals due to time spent doing unecessary activities.
As a result, it is clear that it’s not about the amount of time we have that causes unhappiness or discourage us from reaching our goals, it’s about how we can make full use of the little precious time we have.
On the other hand, it is important to manage time effectively as having too much or too little to do may be harmful to our mental health. If we get too busy, we won’t have sufficient time for self-enhancement which would prevent us from learning and growing.
Conversely, if we have too little to do, we will begin overthinking everything in our lives which does not only drastically boost our stress levels, but would also not help us to blossom.
The importance of effective time management can bring a positive impact to our lives by allowing us to continuously feel balanced, productive and inspired.
So plan your day, week, month and year and remember – always start with the end in mind.
- what do you want to accomplish at the end of the year?
- end of the month?
- end of the week?
- and the end of today??
Remember you cannot hit a target you cant see so write it down stick it up and work through it diligently every single day.
Essential Habit #5: Efficient Goal-Setting
Even in the best of times, long-term goals may appear overwhelming.
However, by adopting a daily goal-setting strategy, this can be overcomed by focusing on the one-day-at-time, short-term scenarios.
Efficient goal setting means setting the right intention where you’re clear about what you want to achieve.
No matter what your goal is; short-term and small, or long-term and grandiose, you are required to take actionable steps in order to attain your goals.
You should ensure that your goals are difficult enough to stimulate your interest and keep you motivated but not so laborious that you realistically have zero chance of achieving them.
As you can see, the comparison between setting a goal to become a worldclass air pilot and setting a goal to literally fly a bird are two completely different goals.
Finally, you need to have a constant check back on your goals to make sure you are on the right track to achieving them.
It is pointless and time-consuming to set goals you have no intention of achieving them. Normally, what prevents us from succeding in life is our failure in setting goals appropriately.
Recently, a study has shown that only approximately 8% of the population who make a new year resolution actually attain them.
Apart from those New Year’s resolution, its very common for most of the people to set goals without having the intention to achieve them.
Definitely, we’ve all set goals before but eventually gave up in the end due to the inefficient process of setting goals.
Whenever we set goals which are passive, we often just say it for fun but we don’t actually note down the goals and list all out with full details, nor make a plan to achieve them.
As a result, we either end up failing or gave up on our goals.
On the other hand, others who have appropriate goal-setting, the SMARTER technique tend to have higher chances to achieve success.
SMARTER goals are defined by as
- (R)elevant, and
- (T)ime-Based goals which are
- (E)valuated, with a
- (R)eAdjusted approach which have been set until you achieve success.
This is a crucial process to acheive success and those who don’t follow this goal setting would find goal attainment way tougher.
SMARTER goals only work when you start writing your goals down on paper.
Include what you want to achieve specifically and elaborate it in full details without missing out any important points.
For instance, don’t just mention you aim to be a millionaire or to become fit.
State an exact figure on how much you aim to earn and an accurate quantity of Kgs that you aim to lose as well as include a specific date for its attainment.
If the goals you set are meaningful where they aren’t just superficial goals which keep you motivated, you’re halfway there.
In addition, lofty goals are also discouraged as you don’t want to end up getting disappointed. For instance, you aim to earn a billion Rands within 1 year but you’re currently have a heavy debt burden.
Having progress on our goals contirbutes to more positive emotions and more fulfillment with life.
Also, it boosts our well being and overall happiness.
Consequently, positive emotions drives up our motivation to act.
This is a win-win situation if we can just get started with the setting of SMARTER goals.
Sent with Love