21 Days Of Changing Your Habits To Change Your Happiness
It’s that time of year again- summer is well and truly here! Christmas has just passed and 2018 is just around the corner. With all this going on how do you feel about New Years Resolutions? How do you feel about changing your habits?
If you struggle with New Years’ Resolutions, you are not alone. By February 1st, 87% of people have either given up or forgotten their resolutions. So how can we go about making sure that we are part of the minority not the majority? How do we become one of the exceptional 13% that follow through with their intent and let their actions speak louder than words?
I believe the trick here is changing our thoughts around resolutions and shifting the focus from the set end point, destination or resolution. Instead, focus on the actual process of change and on changing your habits. For more on this check out this brilliant article by James Clear.
In a recent podcast I heard with Dan Buettner, he was discussing the correlation between the areas of the world most densely populated with centenarians as well as the happiest areas of the world. These two topics are where he has spent most of his life’s research which lead to two of his books; Blue Zones and Blue Zones of Happiness. The unique term here, “Blue Zones,” describes the most densely populated areas of centenarians and happy people. The interesting correlation for both of these things is the environment. Environments that encourage an active lifestyle, cities that are cycle or walk friendly, areas with strong community connectivity all seem to be areas with an increased life expectancy and above average happiness. Believe it or not, Denmark is one of the happiest cities in the world yet everyone, regardless of their profession gets paid the same wage. Likewise, Singapore is the healthiest and happiest country recorded in Asia. Did you know that in Asia you actually receive a tax break if you live close to your parents?
“Research Says It Only Takes 21 Days To Change A Habit”
In Newcastle we are exceptionally lucky to have the beaches, parks and walkways that we do. The recently reopened Bathers way is beautiful and surely everyone has enjoyed a walk along the harbourside foreshore. Given the dearth of parking options in town, if Newcastle was even more cycle friendly the city’s accessibility and happiness would skyrocket.
Dan Buettner goes into detail about some of the key habits that we can change that provide a huge, immediate boost to your happiness level. “But I’ve always done it this way”…. Sure, initially habits are hard to change, they can feel like they are hard wired into our circuitry. However, contrary to popular belief, habits are soft wired. Deliberate drip feeding and daily practice of any new habit will allow you to reprogram and redo your previous actions and therefore allow you to create new outcomes and solutions by applying your new habits.
In a perfect world, the best benefits from these habits come from when you do them and stick to them for a lifetime. However, research says it only takes 21 days to change a habit. So I challenge you to 21 days. After that, it is your choice whether you want to continue or not. I’m willing to bet though, if you find changing your habits improves your happiness this new habit will quickly become your new ritual.
7 Habits To Create A Happier You
There are 7 habits shown to have a measurable improvement and positive effect on your happiness. Pick as many from the list below as you feel like. The number is not important, it’s the commitment that counts. What will you choose to create a happier you in just the first 3 weeks of 2018?
- Commit to moving- For just 30 minutes each day. Even if it is walking your dog morning and night, the intensity is not important nor is the effort. A walk to work, mowing the lawns, walking around the office instead of inter office emails or taking the stairs. The accumulation of time can all contribute to your 30 minute of movement.
- Commit to gratitude– Start a gratitude journal. Pick 3 things you are grateful for each day and write them down. It’s short and simple & we went into a lot more detail in our last post here….. Gratitude anchors yours thoughts to the positive and being positive has to make you happier right?
- Commit to meditate– This sounds tougher than it is. 5-10 minutes daily could prove a huge boost. Our of our clients committed to meditating every day throughout 2017 and he smashed it. Believe it or not it is ok for your mind to wander, to feel like you can not stop thinking. One of the huge benefits here though in 21 days you can learn to listen to yourself. Wouldn’t it be great to listen to your body as opposed to the latest fitness watch or app that tells you how your feeling. The Insight timer is a great, free resource for endless meditation material. focus on you and allow to quieten your mind.
- Commit to Mindfulness– For the time poor this one is for you. Try taking one deliberate deep breath all the way in and out. Feel in your body where that breath is the strongest, is it your nostrils, your belly or your chest. Mindfully be aware of your lungs filling up, your spine lengthening or the power of the breath reaching all through to your finger-tips and toes as they expand. Teaching yourself to feel what is going on within you can be as simple as a few purposeful deep breaths daily.
- Commit to being Thankful- This may sound very similar to the act of gratitude however, the difference here is not for what you have it is for what someone else has done. e thankful to the person who opened the door for you or someone else, for someone choosing to do business with you, for the barista making your delicious coffee that kick started your day or your partner for cooking an amazing meal or getting the kids ready for school. Realising the gift that someone else bestows on you for you to live your life is exceptionally powerful.
- Commit to healthy eating– Did you know that eating just 2 extra servings of vegetables each day can ower blood pressure and cholesterol and lower your overall chance of heart disease? That’s right literally two extra serves. Forget the deep fried wonderland and instead tuck into natures goodness. The antioxidants in these veggies also help to repair damaged skin. So what better way to recover from a long hot summers day? Veggies will help your skin, save your heart and help you feel happier & healthier and they are delicious!
- Commit to being in the moment- School holidays can be a tough time for parents as they attempt to balance work and parent responsibilities. The trick here is to remember that although you have a thousand different things to do your best productivity isn’t achieved by trying to do everything at once. Try to minimise distractions, switch off the phone, computer and devices for at least 1 hour each day. Use that time to connect to who you are with. Your kids, your partner and your friends. Be with them in body and soul and the positive feedback you’ll receive will guarantee to reboot and recharge your happiness energy supplies.
I believe that the overarching mission is to make 2018 the happiest year ever. So once again I challenge you to 21 days of changing your habits to change your happiness. Please comment or post on what you are choosing for your 21 day challenge and I can’t wait to see what you implement into your life. I’ll finish with an unknown quote “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they make the best of everything they have.”