9 Steps to Be Genuinely Happy

I’m no Pollyanna, but I try to be as proactive in my own happiness as I can be. Figuring out what I need is a huge component. Here’s how I do that:

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These are numbered, but are in no particular order.

{1} Be OK by yourself. 

If you constantly need others around you, if you go from one relationship to the next with no time by yourself in between, if you don’t know what you want, you need some time alone. You have to figure out how to be ok alone. You need to discover what you want. You need to learn how to take care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am a very extroverted and social person, but I’m also ok knowing that if nobody was ever around, I’d still be ok. The periods in my life where I was alone were some of the most important in my life. They helped me to discover who I was, what I needed, and how I could get where I needed to go. They only truly scary things about being alone are the “what-if” scenarios we play in our own heads. We get so caught up in thinking about what could go wrong we end up scaring ourselves into dependence.

{2} Have a SUPPORTIVE social circle.

Be friends with nice people that have similar interests. Hang around people that make you laugh and enjoy your time together. Friends are people who genuinely like you for who you are. Keep the good ones. Get rid of the bad ones.

Whether it’s a toxic friend or family member, if they don’t make you feel great about being the person you are, cut them out. If it’s a family member, you may not be able to discontinue contact altogether, but you cannot let them bring you down. I’ve watched so many people, clients and friends alike, never act on things they truly want because they’re continuously discouraged by someone that plays a big part in their life. Misery loves company so partners or “friends” can easily keep you dragged down with them if you let them influence you. Talk to them and tell them you’re trying to get to a better place. You have to tell them what you need from them. Explain that if they want to support you, things need to change. If they can’t, you’ve got to do it without them.

{3} Take care of your body.

If you feel good, you will look good. You don’t have to be thin or ripped, but you do want to have a body that works efficiently. If your body is in such bad shape that it never feels good, you have to act. Make it a point to learn to cook so you can eat healthy foods most of the time and afford to indulge every now and then. Find a few different physical activities that you like to do and do them throughout the week so that you can handle yourself, move without pain and have enough energy to get through the day. Figure out how to relieve your stress. Whether it’s a walk outside, reading a book, taking a yoga class, or fishing on a quiet lake, do what you have to do to counter the stressors that will undoubtedly occur throughout your week. You shouldn’t be sick, injured, or tired on a regular basis. Your body is capable of feeling amazing. Help it out by making good choices most of the time.

{4} Find a job you LOVE.

If you HATE going to work every day. You are in the wrong job. I understand that sometimes you have to take a job you might not like in order to pay the bills. I get that because I’ve had to do that myself, but at least make a plan to change things in the future. Write down what your ideal work day would look like and how much money you’d like to make. Now ask yourself what you need to do to accomplish that and how long it will realistically take. Start chipping away at it so that someday in the near future you can be there. Sometimes it’s just trial and error. You may need try several vocations before you find the one(s) that you love to do. That’s ok. Just don’t settle!

{5} Know what you DON’T want. 

This is a hard one. Generally because you don’t know what you don’t want until you’ve got it and are unhappy. Then you have to separate yourself from it, which can be awkward, uncomfortable or downright painful. I KNOW that I cannot have a 9-5 desk job. I KNOW that I can’t live somewhere that’s cloudy and gray all the time or I will not be productive. I KNOW that I cannot be with somebody who isn’t already happy. We all take the wrong fork in the road sometimes. The most important thing to know is that IT’S OK to backtrack to get to the right turn. Continuing down the same path that you know is wrong will only make your journey longer and more difficult.

{6} Save some money.

I’ve never been more stressed (and embarrassed) than when I was broke, with lots of bills to pay. The security of knowing I have an entire year’s worth of expenses in my savings account is worth way more than new clothes or a fancier car. So pay off your debt. And other than a mortgage, don’t acquire more. Work hard, but live below your means. If you get a raise, instead of going out and buying things, either put that extra money away or invest in ways to make more money. Spend the money you do make on experiences, not things. We all have enough things. You don’t have to be overly frugal, (your friends will find you annoying and you’ll never do anything fun) but you should aim to find a balance between living a life that you like and making sure you’re covered in case of emergency, and set up for the future.

{7} Know your options. 

Explore! Whether this is checking out neighboring communities and towns, trying different schools or employers, or traveling the world, knowing what else is out there will help you weigh all your options. There’s so much beyond what you know in your own world. You can learn humility from being among those that don’t have as much. You will gain prospective from seeing different lifestyles and cultures. You learn to appreciate what you have and where you come from. You may discover a person, career, or way of life that you love and had no idea existed. Try not to be resigned to the thought that you only have a couple options. This is a great big world and the possibilities are endless, but you have to do some searching to see all that’s available.

{8} Educate yourself. 

One of the biggest ways to get rid of that feeling that you’re “not good enough” is knowing you’re able to stand your ground. You have to graduate high school. Do whatever you need to do to attend and graduate college. Invest in certifications and workshops that pertain to your desired line of work. I feel most insecure when I know that I’m falling behind in what I should know. There are so many resources available to help us get further in life. This is a world where some children are kept out of school, not allowed to learn to read, drive, or work. Take advantage of every opportunity you have! Apply for scholarships, grants, or loans if you can’t afford schooling. Check out books from the library to learn more about what interests you! You are the only person that can make you successful. The more you know, the better your chances.

{9} Be Confident in yourSELF.

We all have flaws and insecurities. It’s how you handle yourself that decides whether you let those insecurities rule your life or if you learn how to operate in spite of them. Do not apologize for who you are or what you want out of life. You are you for a reason and you have lots to offer. If somebody else cannot see that then you don’t need to worry about them. You do not need to please everybody. You do not need to be better than everyone else, you only need to be the best YOU you can be. So be true to yourself and hold your head up high. If you believe that you are worthy, others will too. We will contantly be in hard situations throughout life. Again and again we will need to prove ourselves, so be BOLD and be BRAVE. You’ve got this.

What else would you add to this list?

What are some of your best happiness practices?

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