Now it is time to take a look at some exercises that you can do to give your levels of happiness a true boost. The key to being successful is to actively participate in this chapter. Remember that you can do these exercises in private, so give them your all! The more you focus, the happier you can be. I hope that you find all of these exercises helpful and engaging.
Exercise #1: Bring Your Attitude From “Good” to “GREAT!”
Attitude makes all the difference in your level of happiness as well as how successful you are in life. Use this exercise to evaluate your current attitude and push it from good to great.
Step 1: Evaluate Your Current Attitude. What is your attitude like right now? Are you feeling happy, sad, or in between? How does this affect your attitude in general? Take some time and write down your thoughts to these questions.
Step 2: Figure Out the Root Cause Of Your Current Attitude. Brainstorm some ideas as to what might be causing your current attitude. What things in your life are currently taking away from your attitude? Do you consider that to be a good thing or a bad thing?
Step 3: Evaluate Your Environment. How much do you let other people impact your attitude? How does your environment impact your attitude? Is there anything that you can personally do to change those situations?
Step 4: Look Ahead. If you continue to live your life with the attitude that you currently have now, where do you think you will end up in 5 years? For example, if you’re doing good for yourself, working a stable 9 to 5 job, and eating fairly healthy, you’ll probably be in the same situation come 5 years from now. However, if you can see that if you change your attitude about money from “I can keep doing what I’m doing and make the same amount of money” to “I am worth way more and I have the power to increase my earning potential” you will probably be a little richer 5 years from now. If you change your eating habits from “fairly healthy” to “excellent” and pair it with exercise, you’ll probably feel 10x’s healthier later in life. Evaluate all of your good situations and think of how you can make them great.
Step 5: Ask Yourself the Ultimate Question. If you could package your attitude and sell it to other people, would it be a bestseller? Be realistic. Would other people want to live like you? If the answer is “no” or “maybe” to this question, it might be a good idea to start creating a plan to change your attitude.
Step 6: Create an Attitude-Changing Action Plan. Now that you’ve evaluated your current attitude and thought about how you want it to be, the final step is to create an action plan that will get you there. Start by creating a list of 10 things you can do to practice improving your attitude. A good way to start the list is with the phrase: “I will surround myself with positive and supportive people.” The rest of the list is totally up to you. You can pick the best things from Chapter 2 that you think will help you the most.
Here is a good example of a plan to change your attitude:
- I will easily Surround Myself With Positive And Supportive People.
- I will easily Smile at Myself every day for five minutes in the mirror.
- I will easily Rev Up My Exercise Regimen.
- I will easily Laugh At Myself When I Mess Up.
- I will easily Limit My TV Time to One Hour Per Day.
- I will easily Listen to Music That Inspires Me.
- I will easily Help Others Whenever I Can.
- I will easily Work on my Organization Skills.
- I will easily Spend More Time On My Spirituality.
- I will easily Make Sure My Goals Are Aligned.
Set a deadline for yourself to work on these goals. A good time-frame is usually 3 to 6 months for all of them, but just focus on your top favorites until they have become habits. Become consciously aware of how these things change your attitude over time. Then, after you reach your deadline and you notice an improvement, pick 5 more things that you can work on to improve your attitude:
- I will easily Spend More Time With My Loved Ones
- I will easily Stop Comparing My Relationship With Others
- I will easily Make Sure My Goals Are Aligned
- I will easily Start Taking Pride in My Work
- I will easily Count My Blessings Every Day
Set another deadline for yourself and keep stacking your good attitude habits on top of each other until you’ve completely rounded yourself out. The key to building a great attitude is to continuously work on it!
For some extra inspiration on having a great attitude, be sure to check out Tony Robbins’ Motivational Speech on Positive Attitude.
Exercise #2: Find Your True Life’s Purpose
Many people who are happy have successfully found their life’s purpose. Finding your life’s purpose can be challenging because the answer is not always clear! It took me over twenty years before I found my life purpose, however, I was born a bit before my time. The exercise below is intended to help you get into touch with your life’s purpose. Don’t waste countless productive years of your life doing something that does not leave you feeling happy and fulfilled. Take time now to try it truly figure out what you should be doing with your time and energy. You’re life’s purpose may not be the same as anybody else’s. Here are some great tips on how to make a breakthrough revelation:
Step 1: Spend Time Figuring It Out. Although it would be easy and it would save you a lot of time if your life purpose magically fell into your lap like a gift from the heavens. However, the chances of your life’s purpose just hitting you out of nowhere are slim to none. Figuring your life’s purpose for the majority of people takes time, careful analysis and hard work, just like anything else you that you want to achieve in life.
Step 2: Dream. Take out a piece of paper and write down what your life would be like in 5 years if all of your dreams came true. Try to be as detailed as possible. Don’t forget to write about where you’d be living, what you’d be doing, how you’d be feeling and what other people would be thinking about you. Once you’ve written something that you’re happy with, brainstorm some ways that you can take a step toward reaching that dream. Draw a circle around the best idea and put it into action.
Step 3: Take Up a Hobby. Is there something that you’ve been “planning” or “meaning” to do, like learn a new language or a new skill? Do it! If you’ve been thinking about it enough, it probably means that you really have the passion to take up that hobby. If you’re that passionate about something, it could be a clue as to figuring out what your life’s purpose is.
Step 4: Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to feel really good about yourself. Many people discover their life’s purpose from volunteering their time and/or services to others in need. Even if it doesn’t clue you in to your life’s purpose, you can still feel great knowing that you’ve helped somebody. One of the great secrets of success is to choose a life path that brings tremendous value to people.
Step 5: Believe That You Can Be Passionate About Your Career. Many people think that having a job has to be miserable. However, many people who pursue what they love to do as a career end up making thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Many people who love what they do for their career have been successful in finding their life’s purpose. Ask yourself what your dream career is and then brainstorm ways to get started. Draw a circle around the best idea and put it into action! I personally believe in making what they call “passive income.” It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy to get passive income going, but once you are able to have that income cover all your bills and expenses, you are essentially financially free. Something I would highly recommend most people to look into. The four hour workweek by Timothy Ferris explains this in vivid detail.
Step 6: Reflect. Reflecting is a great way to discover your life’s purpose. Put aside some additional time in your schedule and just reflect. It can help if you sit in a quiet place. Some people may find it best to reflect while they are surrounded by nature. Ask yourself personal questions such as, “what makes me happy?”, “what do I ultimately want to do with my life?”, “what change do I want to make in society?”, and anything else you can think of. Once you know what you want, you’re going to have to fight to get it most of the time. Life can be very hard at many times, so that’s why self-development is so important. By building yourself into a mighty hero for humanity, the things you can accomplish are nearly limitless. Be sure to put on your armor every day and go battle for your dreams and goals.
Step 7: Read. Read anything you can get your hands on. Even if you only read one page of a book per day, do it. Reading is a great way to find inspiration and gain ideas for what your life’s purpose is. There is always something new to learn and the ideas that you could unlock in your mind are endless.
Exercise #3: Eliminate All Regret
Have you ever experienced the feeling of regret? You might be thinking about your biggest regret as you read this paragraph. While you are only human and you are bound to have many regrets in your life, it is important to eliminate them. Do not let your regrets hold you back from being happy and successful. In this exercise, you will learn how to separate yourself from your regrets forever.
Step 1: Stop Being a Victim. Although it is easy to let negative circumstances stomp all over you, the truth is that you can control your thoughts, feelings, and actions. If you allow yourself to be a victim, you will never move away from feelings of sadness, depression and negativity. If you decide to get up and take action, barreling through all of the struggles of life and finding the positives among them, you can start to live a proud life.
Step 2: Overcome Your Fears. I touched on this briefly in Chapter 1. If you allow your fears to hold you back from achieving something great, then you will most likely feel regret. If you go after something knowing that you’ve given it your all, then your chances of feeling regret will be much smaller. Sometimes it’s as simple as that! Remember, once again, that fortune favors the brave.
Step 3: Make Your Own Decisions. When you’re a child, it is most likely the case that your parents made decisions for you. Unfortunately, some people grow up and still let their parents as well as their significant others, friends, and co-workers do all of the deciding for them. The thing is, if you don’t make decisions for yourself, you’ll more than likely end up with regrets. You may hurt some feelings by doing this, but let everyone know that you know what is best for yourself and that you are confident in the decisions that you make. As an added bonus, doing this will put you in a great state of mind.
Step 4: Stop Making Excuses. Excuses are the biggest poison of regrets. The longer you continue to make excuses (“I’ll do it later” or “Now isn’t a good time”) the sooner you will run out of time to get anything done and the quicker you will feel regret. This step is as simple as stop making excuses! Go out and pair your thoughts with actions! In general, people tend to look down on others who always make excuses or take no responsibility for their actions.
Step 5: Follow Your Heart. People who are negative and miserable will often try and deter you from “following your heart” or pursuing your passions. As annoying as this is, it’s the reality for many people. To avoid this, you must get into the mindset that no matter what, there will always be somebody who is judging you. The key is to ignore them and do what you think is right, because you are the only person who is living your life.
Exercise #4: Eliminate Negative Thoughts and Think Positively!
Your thoughts are what lead to the things you say and the things you say lead to your actions, so it is important to focus on positive thoughts. Unfortunately, many people get caught up on negative thoughts and are unhappy as a result. Give this exercise a try to stop your negative thoughts from taking over your head.
Step 1: Wake Up With a Positive Thought. Start your day off on a great note and think about something positive from the moment that you wake up. Say something like, “Today is going to be a great day!” Or something that is confidence-boosting like, “I make professional and intelligent decisions.” This can help you attract positive energy, which will in turn cause you to be happier.
Step 2: Block Out Negative Thoughts. Anytime you catch yourself thinking a negative thought (“I’ll never lose weight” or “I’ll never make it in business”), imagine yourself zapping it away, literally. Visualize a lightning bolt zapping your negative thoughts and leaving nothing behind but a trail of smoke. Visualization is a truly powerful technique that can leave you feeling great.
Step 3: Have Positive Reactions to Negative Occurrences. It is human nature to have a bad reaction to a bad experience. For example, if somebody you trust steals your credit card, you will likely associate that person with negative thoughts. Another example is when you make a mistake. Most people react negatively to mistakes by human nature. While you can’t control negative circumstances, you can control the way you react. Get into the habit of only having positive reactions.
Step 4: Find the Root Cause of Your Negative Beliefs. If you believe in something that is more negative than positive, chances are that something happened in your life to spark those beliefs. If you don’t do anything about your negative beliefs, they will follow you and haunt you for the rest of your life. It will be very hard to be happy. One way to eliminate your negative beliefs is to figure out when they started. Take a few minutes and reflect on your life, thinking about what might have happened in your past to instill your negatives beliefs in you. Once you’ve figured out what happened to cause those negative beliefs, visualize yourself moving away from that experience. Use what you know now to conquer the fears that paralyzed you in that moment in time and then come back to the present. Now you are consciously aware of the root cause of your negative thoughts and you’ve visually removed yourself from those experiences.
For more information on eliminating negative thoughts, check out Todd Valentine’s YouTube Video Five Minutes That Will Change Your Life. Also, there are a bunch of great “Tapping” videos on YouTube that I would recommend checking out.
Exercise #5: Start a “Gratitude Journal”
Journal-writing is a very powerful technique. My favorite thing about keeping a journal is that you can preserve some of the best moments of your life in a few simple sentences. Writing by itself is considered by many to be a very therapeutic activity. I personally love it because it’s just you and the blank page—no judgment, no backtalk, nothing but you and your thoughts. One great idea for maintaining your happiness is to keep a “gratitude journal.”
A good rule of thumb for keeping your gratitude journal is to only write about good, positive things—things that are worth remembering. How you keep this journal is totally up to you—it can be as simple as a small pad that you carry around with you all day or it could be a big, traditional journal that you keep on your nightstand. You could write about one thing every day that made you feel good or happy. You could write as little or as much as you want but it’s a great way to reflect upon your life satisfaction at the end of the night. If you don’t like writing as much, you can make an audio journal like I mentioned earlier.
Another great idea for maintaining healthy relationships is to write down all of the best memories that you have spent with your loved ones. That way, when they’re annoying you or if you find yourself envying other relationships, you can just refer to your journal and quickly remind yourself about how much you really love that person/those people.
Exercise #6: Make a Bucket List
Have you ever heard of a bucket list? A bucket list is a list of things that you want to do before you die. As Henry David Thoreau famously said, “Live the life you have imagined.” Many people like to get together with their friends and write one up for fun. However, writing out a serious bucket list may help you live a happier, more fulfilling life. You might be thinking, “Why write it down? I can just keep in my head.” While you might think that will work out well for you, research has shown that you are twice as likely to fulfill the goals that you write down than those that you just think about.
My recommendation is to either start the list in your journal or keep a separate notebook for it. You don’t have to write the entire thing out in one sitting. Keep it handy for whenever you think of something that you want to add. Usually great ideas pop up when you least expect it, so always be sure to record them. Be sure to record anything, no matter how big or small. You can add anything from “painting the ceiling in my room to look like the sky” to “climbing Mount Haleakala and touching the sky!” Keep your eyes, ears and mind open for new ideas and inspirations. Just because you haven’t thought of doing something spectacular at the time of writing your list, you never know if you may find something great to add in the future.
Once you have written down at least a good 50 good ideas, make it a habit to scan your list for ideas that you can do right away. Take local trips, cook a new meal right in your kitchen, pick up a new book, or do whatever you can! In between the little things that you can get done, plan out how you will accomplish your biggest dreams.
Most importantly, don’t be self-conscious when it comes to writing down ideas. It’s your bucket list and you don’t have to share it with anyone that you don’t want too—never think that something is too complicated or extravagant. The point of your bucket list is to serve as your guide to living an exciting, happier life.