I was recently asked by a friend of mine how I could possibly be so happy all the time. This question made me laugh. Me, happy all the time, what do you mean? She said you just always seem so happy and positive; what is your secret? I said, well I do not really have a secret, I just stick to my rules and that makes me happy.
I think a lot of us are in a similar situation to my friend. We are trying to better our lives and find happiness within ourselves. This is easier said than done. It took me a long time to figure out what made me happy and how to be positive even when everything around me was not. My definition of what makes me happy changes all the time and will continue to change as I get older. When I was 21 going to clubs and drinking with my friends made me happy, now three years later taking a hike with my dog and husband makes me happy. However, one thing that has not changed are the rules that I have followed to get to my happiness and the rules I continue to follow to maintain that same happiness! If you are on the quest to better your life and find happiness check out the rules that I follow each day!
1. Take Control of Your Life
One of my favorite phrases from the Radiance Retreat I just attended was “If not you, then who?” I ask all of you the same question. If you are not going to take control of your life and go after what you want then who is going to do it for you? The answer to that… well nobody! If you want to lead a fuller, happier, more successful life the only person who can make it happen is well.. YOU! Take some time for yourself, figure out what you want, and figure out how you can make it happen. What changes can you make each and everyday to help you get closer to your goal? How will you hold yourself accountable? When will you make it happen by? I find it helpful to write everything down in a journal and track my progress. I am a list person and love crossing things off when I achieve them.
2. Limit Your Time with Technology
In a world that is so consumed with technology it can be so easy to get caught up! Limit your cell phone usage! Designate times during the day when technology is okay, but also designate times where technology is not okay. My husband and I have a no cell phones in bed rule! We also give up all technology at least thirty minutes before bed. This gives us a chance to read a book or chat about our day and relax our minds. Through my own sleep tracking I can tell you that the nights that I do not use my phone thirty minutes before bed I sleep much better than the nights that I use it. We also put our phones away for dinner or any other meal that we are having together. These guidelines may not work for you, but create a list of times where cell phone usage is not okay or times during the day where it will be limited and stick to it. You will feel better and others will adapt. My friends and family know that after 9:00 pm I am always unavailable.
3. RESPECT YOURSELF
This is probably my favorite of the list, and quite possibly the most important! Let me start to explain by using a favorite quote of mine: “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anyone or anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy!” This is a hard lesson to learn, but probably one of the best and most beneficial. We would not keep a pair of pants that made us feel bad about ourselves, we would not keep making a recipe that we did not like, so why would we keep people in our life who make us feel bad about ourselves or make us miserable? Why would we ever want to do that to ourselves? We deserve so much more than that. Check out this post, it really drives the point home! Cutting ties with toxic people can be tough but remember it is not selfish, it is us showing respect for ourselves and demanding EXACTLY what we deserve! We deserve happy, healthy relationships, friendships, and partnerships and we should not settle for anything less!
4. Get Some Exercise
Get your workout on! Just adding :30 minutes of physical activity each day can make a huge difference. This does not mean that you need to go to the gym everyday! You can take a walk, go for a hike, go for a bike ride, you can do anything that gets your heart rate up! Exercise has so many benefits! It builds your confidence and helps you feel better about yourself, gives you a mental boost, fights depression, reduces anxiety, builds concentration and so much more. Treat your body with the respect that it deserves and work it out! Trust me, your body will love you for it!
5. Eat Real Food
Remember you are what you eat so if your food is treated with chemicals and pesticides or highly processed and refined that is all going into your body. I love the quote by Jennifer McGruther “real health comes from real food and real food does not come from a box!” Eating real, whole foods is the best choice for so many reasons. Real foods will improve your energy! How many times have we all eaten too much of a some highly processed food and felt so sick after. I know I have. I always end up laying on the couch with no energy, whining about how I shouldn’t have eaten what I did. Don’t put your body through this; feed it real food, let food give you energy and keep you going, after all that is what it is there for isn’t it? Check out this article about how processed foods are damaging to your health!
6. Get Some Sleep
Sleep is vitality important to leading a happier, fuller life. This is your body’s chance to recharge. You should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep. This amount of sleep will improve your health and alertness! Did you know most adults only sleep 5 or 6 hours a night? Getting less than 7 hours consistently will not only make you cranky but can put you at risk for a number of health problems. Turn off your TV, Cell Phone, or any other distraction and go to sleep! You will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day! When you are trying to get the life you have always imagined sleep is incredibly important!
7. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries? What does that even mean? Let’s lead with another quote: “setting boundaries is a way of caring for myself, it does not make me mean, selfish, or uncaring because I don’t do things your way, I care about me too!” Boundaries are simply limits that you set for yourself or others. These boundaries help you maintain your integrity, self-esteem, and your security! You should never feel bad about setting a boundary. This means that you need to look inside of yourself and figure out what you need and communicate it to those around you. Here are some of my personal boundaries: it is not okay for people to: ask my about my financial situation, invade my personal space and personal time, take their anger out on me, and force me to do things (other than obligations) that I do not want to do. These are things that I am not willing to sacrifice. I have a right to ask for personal space and privacy and boundaries make this possible. Remember your boundaries are important. Here is another example: my personal time or me time, as I like to call it, is important to me. I need this to be able to function as the person that I am. It is okay for me to cancel a social interaction or turn off my phone because I need time and space. That is a boundary that I have set and that will not change!
I encourage you to incorporate these 7 guidelines into your day to day life and see how much better you feel! Remember it is your life, you deserve only the best!