By Wendy Castellanos
Maybe you’re feeling down in the dumps or maybe you need a fresh reminder of how you can be your happiest. I strongly believe that happiness is a choice and you’re given the opportunity to either dwell on what’s upsetting you or make the choice to be happy. I know that’s easier said than done, but here are 5 happy habits you can start NOW:
1. Define what success means to YOU.
We are so conditioned to believe that money equals success. Sure, who doesn't love a nice house or a new car? But maybe there's something else that defines success for you. Maybe taking extra vacations or having more time at home with your family is what you consider “successful.” Answer these clarifying questions to help identify what success means to you:
- In a dream world, what would you do with your extra time?
- What accomplishments are you most proud of?
- What are you yearning for?
- When are you the most happiest?
- If someone were to write a review about you, what would they say?
Take your answers and create 2-3 SMART goals to put you on the path to achieving your success.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Just like clients and the people we serve, we all have different circumstances. There is no “one size fits all” approach to life. When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, pause, look around, and appreciate what you have in front of you. Focus on your strengths in addition to where you could grow. Instead of seeing others as a competition, use them as an inspiration to go further in the areas where you would like to achieve.
- What do you feel jealous/envious about? How can you accomplish those things for yourself?
- What positive things are you doing in your life?
- What negative things have you stopped doing?
- What are you doing today that you couldn’t have done a year ago?
- What makes you unique?
Stop yourself from comparisons and silence your inner critic.
3. Let it go.
My mom always told me that your first mistake was an “experience” and that it became a “mistake” if you continued to repeat it. This could be true for a job, a relationship, a habit or some other aspect of your life. The world around us is constantly changing; and by not letting go, you’re unable to move on due to the distraction of the painful experience.
- What did you learn from this “experience”?
- What steps will you take to prevent this from happening again and how will you move on?
- What exactly is weighing on your mind?
- Is fear holding you back?
- What do you have to gain by letting it go?
Commit to letting it go. Sometimes the best lesson is the lesson we learned the hard way. Don't be too hard on yourself but also avoid playing the victim. Let go of the bad feelings in the past to allow harmony into your life by looking forward to the present.
4. Do the best you can.
I have this quote hanging by my front door to energize me every day:
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”
- Are you striving to do better every day?
- In what ways are you helping others do the best they can?
- What simple things can you change now so that you’re doing your best?
- What is a bad habit you can focus on improving?
Take it one day at a time. It’s simple in theory, by doing the best you can every day, you’ll have had the best day, week, or even year ever!
5. Get Moving
There are many ways to increase our happiness mentally, but you should never underestimate the physical aspect. Exercise is an important positive lifestyle factor. Not only does it help relieve stress and anxiety, it increases your energy, helps you sleep better, and gives you a sense accomplishment in meeting your physical goals.
- How many days per week can you exercise?
- How can you make your current exercise routine more challenging or fun?
- What are simple exercises you can do while at work?
- What are your favorite physical activities that you can do more of?
Get out there! Sign up for a class. There are so many fun ways to exercise whether it’s yoga, barre class or a one-on-one training session with a personal trainer.
What other habits keep you happiest? Comment to share your secrets for achieving happiness.
Wendy Castellanos is the VP of Communications for AMIGA. She lives in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where she is a proud wife to her husband, Eli, and a proud mom to her son, Max Elliott. She is passionate about immigration reform and enjoys spending time with her families in Seattle, WA and Mexico City, Mexico.