12 Secrets From Experts to Be Happy and Successful
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To help you make the best of the year, I contacted a few experts to share their tips and secrets to be happy and successful!
If you haven’t done it yet, read my tips to make the best of 2017 here and download a FREE workbook to help you create new habits, reach your goals and have fun!
You can also find a selection of very cool planners that are more than a calendar in this article. These planners will help you reach your goals but also reflect on your life to become happier.
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Brendan grew up outside New York City and then received his undergraduate, law and MBA degrees from Cornell University. Brendan started AdventureDaze as an online community to help people maximize their lives after spending several years on Wall Street. He shares all of his best personal growth and self-development tools and strategies so that others can achieve the highest levels of success, fulfillment, and happiness.
Spend 2017 Collecting Experiences Instead of Things
I grew up as an “acquirer.”
From electronics to sports autographs, purchasing these arbitrary items would keep me happy and fulfilled…for a few days.
Then, inevitably, a new model would come out or I would discover a new version of what I had just purchased, and then I would just need to buy that one to be happy and fulfilled again.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was unfulfilled in my life and I was using the acquisition of material goods as a way to feel better about myself.
The problem was that each purchase would only keep me satisfied for a short period of time, and the cycle would repeat. There’s a saying that “you can’t get enough of what won’t satisfy you.”
Here’s the solution: figure out what truly satisfies you.
Beginning in 2014, I made a list on my iPhone called “Things I Love.” Every time I did something that lit a fire inside of me or got me really pumped up and excited about life I would add it to the list.
Over the next few weeks, I learned that I loved photography, traveling, watching documentaries, learning new languages, biking and more. I looked at this list in amazement as I began to discover who I really was. And then I came across the quote: “Collect experiences, not things.” And I began to apply my time, money and energy to these life experiences rather than physical possessions.
Make your own “Things I Love” list and see what comes up. Then you can start trading in those expensive possessions you don’t really want or need for richer experiences.”
Implement a mindfulness practice which is meaningful to you, integrates easily into your life and inspires you.
Rachael Kable is a mindfulness mentor, blogger, and host of the top-rated podcast, The Mindful Kind.
There are so many ways to live more mindfully, from being more mindful during simple everyday tasks, to going on active, mindful adventures.
You can strengthen your relationships by being more present and less distracted, you can achieve better sleep by teaching yourself to feel calm, or you can become more creative and productive at work by taking simple, mindful breaks and single-tasking.
Whatever you hope to achieve in 2017, you can practice mindfulness in a way which lights you up and helps you be a better version of yourself.
It doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated; mindful living is more about small actions, conscious choices, and gradual mindset shifts.
Begin by taking three deep, long breaths, paying attention to the journey of each one as it moves in and out of your body. Notice any tension melting away and if your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the exercise.
While it may be simple, this practice can be powerful in the moments before a stressful work presentation, when you’re about to snap at your partner, or when you can feel negative thoughts spiraling out of control.
Allison is an NYC school teacher turned full-time traveler and blogger, writing about solo travel, offbeat adventures, mental health, and wellness.
I’ve learned the value of focusing your energy on where it counts. Every night before I go to sleep, I free write for 10-15 minutes about anything: what I’m anxious about, what I’m hoping to remember to do the next day, what I’m proud of or happy about.
Mostly it ends up being a purge of all my anxious thoughts, but that’s okay! That means I get the worries out there on paper, which helps me sleep better.
I read it the next morning and try to reflect on how I can channel those thoughts and energies to make changes for that next day. With fresh eyes and a cup of coffee, I make a to-do list for the day and try to tackle things I felt I couldn’t do the day before. I also try to practice yoga a few times a week, usually in the morning.
The most important thing for me is setting an intention for the day’s practice. It started off simple: my first intention I ever set was to enjoy the day’s practice and to not view it as just exercise.
Slowly, I’ve embraced other intentions: to be more patient with myself, to let go of frustrations with others, to be more focused on my daily tasks.
I find that the days I’m able to squeeze yoga in are the days I’m happiest and most productive, so I’m hoping to make it a daily practice in the upcoming year.
Laura is a professional counselor and blogger. She loves helping people maximize their potential, embrace their identity, and clarify their purpose. During the day, she works with people in crisis in an Emergency Room. In her free time, she works on Ivory & Pine.
I recommend mindfulness with intention. Mindfulness is a huge buzzword, but we often forget what it really means or doesn’t understand it in a way that’s motivating.
Mindfulness is part of meditation, yes. The beginning of mindfulness is becoming aware of your surroundings, physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings. But the point is to practice mindfulness so that you can use it during your day-to-day life. Mindfulness with intention.
I believe that if you start practicing mindfulness as part of a meditation or morning/night routine, you can take it to the next level by practicing mindfulness throughout your day.
Start noticing your feelings and reactions at work.
Observe the tastes and smells of your meals.
The sounds of your spouse’s voice or your children’s laughter.
I believe a daily mindfulness practice can lead to significantly more gratitude. As you grow in your intentional, mindful reality, I believe you will become more focused, grateful, productive, and happier overall.
Good luck and blessings to you.
Megan is a STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor and will help you feel the best you possibly can in the rockin’ bod you were born with.
MAKE A PLAN – AND MAKE IT FLEXIBLE
Growing up, my brother and I often heard the refrain “make a list!” from our engineer father.
We used to laugh it off but I’m pretty sure he’s getting the last laugh – I love making lists. It helps me organize my thoughts and lay everything out in a way I can prioritize in a flash, and try as I might to make them look gorgeous and Instagram worthy, I should really just buy stock in Post-It notes. I live by Post-Its.
My work is often a blizzard of coffee mugs and to-do lists.
Post-Its are my favorite list making tool in part because they are so temporary and I think that’s a theme we all need to embrace as we launch headfirst into 2017: allow for change. Allow for evolution.
Making a plan is awesome and a key to long-term success.
Keeping that plan (and your attitude *cough cough*) flexible is what will guarantee success.
It’s so easy to get precious with the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of a New Year – heck, we don’t even call them goals, we call them “resolutions” – and it’s important to remember that sometimes the best thing we can do is let the goals evolve and grow with us.
Amy is a self-care and wellness blogger; inspiring balanced living through mind & body self-care, positivity, and empowerment.
Make yourself a priority.
Self-care isn’t selfish.
When we take the time to tend to the things we need, we are better equipped to care for others.
Self-care serves everyone’s best interests.
This looks different for everyone.
Whatever keeps you grounded, breathes life into your days, and inspires you… do those things and find ways to work them into your daily routine.
Brie is a mom to 2 boys in Vancouver, BC. She shares advice for getting out, staying calm, and taking care of your mental health through the trials of motherhood.
For those of us who struggle with mental illness, “happiness” does not always come naturally Happiness is something you have to make an effort for. I have a few rules that help keep depression in remission and remind me of the good things in my life.
- Get out of your house every day. Barring illness (and not just malaise), try and leave your house for at least 20 minutes every day. It is easy for one day at home to slide into 2 days, which turns into a week, which in turn makes it harder to leave and tolerate social anxiety when you do finally go out.
- Learn to tolerate unpleasant emotions using mindfulness. Not every minute of every day is amazing; many moments are awful! The key is knowing how to distract your mind, how to ride a wave of emotion to the peak and down, and knowing that it won’t last forever! As a mom, sometimes I’m not just tolerating my unpleasant emotions, I’m controlling joy unpleasant emotions in relation to my kids’ unpleasant emotions! I use the mantra “this too shall pass” at least a few times a day!
- Track moods with a mood diary. I recently downloaded the app Daylio, which is a simple mood and activity tracker. It helps me see if I’ve had too many “Meh” days or even too many “AMAZING” days in a row. That way I can adjust and maintain a better equilibrium.
- Keep a “happy thoughts” list. Write down things that make you happy, things that make you swoon, things that make you feel extraordinary, special, intimate, or peaceful. More than just a list of blessings, a “happy thoughts” list can transport you from an unpleasant moment into a wonderful moment just like that. Make sure and log the little moments and minutiae, and give them as much detail as possible.
Abby is a yoga teacher, blogger, traveler, author for TryBelle Magazine, and second-grade teacher. She is passionate about yoga, holistic living, and mindfulness.
My advice to make 2017 a year of success and happiness is to make a morning and evening routine for yourself.
Start slow and only do the things you have to do.
Then slowly start to fill the routines with as many good habits as you can.
Eventually, you will have routines that start and end your day in a productive way that makes you feel amazing and accomplished.
I am not a morning person, but I have found a routine that has made me love mornings.
You can see more details about my morning routine and how to make a morning routine in my recent blog post.
Laura is a big dreamer, full-time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and to live towards their dreams and making the most out of their lives. She has been blogging for about 6 years now, more recently finding her glorious niche’ of sharing her stories and thoughts of life and daily inspiration.
2017 brings a year of new beginnings and new opportunities. This is your year to make new magic come to life!
- Don’t wait until the “time is right”. I used to be one of those people that thought I had to everything in perfect order and just right until I could go running after my goals. There is no “perfect time” to get started, the time is always right now. Write down your goals and then get started on reaching them. Take little steps if that’s what works for you, but take steps. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t start moving.
- Find positivity in every situation. We all have downs and ups in every year but make it a priority this year to find the lesson in every experience. When you find yourself in a tough situation, take a moment and pause. Ask yourself, “What am I gaining from this situation? How will this situation make me stronger in the future and help me grow?” There is always a lesson or a positive note in everything that happens.
- Take time for yourself and to reflect. I get so easily swept up into the hustle and bustle and life that I forget to rest, I lose track of the task of reflection. Set time aside each week to reflect on what you’re grateful for and what you’ve accomplished. This is important to keep you motivated and happy.
Make this year your year to shine! Every time I think of a new year, I think of all of the great things I want to accomplish and I find myself filled with excitement. With a little persistence and enthusiasm, we can make anything happen!
Bri is a 22-year-old college student who is making the most out of life with mental illness. Her goal has always been to make sure other people know they aren’t alone.
If you’re setting goals for yourself (and you should be), make sure they’re somewhat within reach. Think about it: wouldn’t you feel less likely to give up if you felt like you could actually meet your goals?
I personally keep myself on track by breaking up my goals into smaller steps.
Let’s say I wanted to cut out soda from my diet. Instead of setting one goal to not drink soda for a whole year, I would set several goals, depending on where I’m at now. If I was currently drinking a glass of soda every day, my first goal would be to skip it for a day. Then, for a week. Then, for two weeks. Then, for a month. Then, for three months. You get the idea. When you hit a goal, keep going!
When I set goals, I try to celebrate every milestone I hit. There isn’t any shame in being proud of yourself, and recognizing that has boosted my self-esteem.
I suffer from trichotillomania (compulsive hair-pulling), and my hands are on my head nearly 24/7. A few months ago, I gave myself the task of choosing any of my 4 classes and sitting through that class without touching my hair. Afterwards, I rewarded myself with gelato to reinforce that I did something awesome and because gelato is amazing.
If you set goals and make them within reach, celebrating your smaller successes along the way, you can make 2017 your year!
To make 2017 a year of success and happiness, wake up just a little bit earlier and ritualize your mornings.
Now, this doesn’t have to look like jumping out of bed each morning to practice kundalini yoga or brave the cold for a vigorous jog.
Ritualizing your mornings can be as gentle as drinking a glass of water and reading in bed for the first 15 minutes of your day.
By having a ritualized morning our bodies are able to slowly wake up, and receive a sense of grounding before going about our often hectic days, leading us to be more present and aligned with our feelings throughout the day.
Sandra is helping young women into more kindness, balance, and joy through stress release, mindfulness, and therapy. She is very passionate about allowing kindness and trust into our lives in order to live a happier life and when she’s not working you can find her dancing salsa.
Get to know your breathing. Breathing is one of the strongest and most powerful tools we have in order to control our body and mind. Just as simple as 10 long breaths each day will change your life. Why? Because long breathes are activating the paralimbic system which shortly told will have a relaxing effect on your body. If you don’t know to get started sit down, place your feet on the ground, close your eyes and inhale while you slowly count to 6 and then exhale while slowly counting to 6. Do it ten times and notice how much it relaxes your body. With a good connection to your breath and your body, you are able to release stress and let things go more easily.
Realize that your thoughts aren’t the truth. Thoughts have a way of becoming our truth. How we can’t do that or how we will fail if we try this. Thoughts are like a radio going on and on, all day long without any button to turn the damn thing off. We can’t control our thoughts, but we can control whether we listen to them or not. I know it sounds easy and I know it isn’t. But if you imagine a river with your eyes closed and then try to put every single thought into the river for 10 minutes. Also the thoughts about this stupid exercise that probably isn’t working or how your thought is just running away with you. It doesn’t matter. Put everything down that river each day and by time notice how you slowly are separating yourself from your thoughts. Just the knowledge of our thoughts aren’t the only truth will help you to take the steps in order to feel more happiness and reaching for your dreams.
Accept your feelings. We have a tendency to divide our feelings into good feelings and bad feeling, and when we do that we often suppress the feelings we perceive as bad ones. Maybe because we are a little afraid of them and maybe because we think something is wrong with us. But here’s the thing. It is perfectly normal. I always use the metaphor that feelings are like the waves. They are coming whether you like it or not, but they will always go again. They come with different strengths and sometimes it will be stormy and other times quiet. And that is perfectly normal. Accept every single feeling you feel, good and bad. The more you accept every feeling you feel the easier they will go again, especially the ‘bad’ ones. It is okay to have bad days or a few bad months and it is even more okay to take time just to be with them. Because in the end accepting our feelings will save us a lot of trouble and give a lot of peace in mind.
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Over to you
What are your tips to be live a happy and successful life? Share them in the comments!