Pick one and try it!
Change. Many of us dread it. We are plodding along just fine so why do we need to change anything? Change just causes stress which only leads to more unhappiness. Right?
Ask yourself if you're really happy. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow would you go to the other side with no regrets? Have you lived a life that made your heart sing?
If your answer to my question is "yes", well done! If your answer to my question is "no", read on.
If you want to know how to be happy with your life, change these 5 things about yourself — even if change scares the $*%& out of you:
1. Your thoughts
You know those pesky thoughts that incessantly course through your head? You know the ones. The ones that tell you aren’t enough. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not successful enough.
Yes, those thoughts. The thoughts that are holding you back.
Did you know that letting those thoughts run rampant through your head does only one thing? They allow those things to become your reality. Running negative thoughts manifests negative outcomes. Running positive tapes manifests positive outcomes.
It’s time to change those thoughts. It won’t be easy but with a little determination you can bring about big change.
One of my clients spent a lifetime telling herself that she just wasn’t worthy of love. A variety of factors had led her to believe this to be true and because her brain consistently reinforced her belief, she had a hard time finding someone to love her. And not finding love reinforced her belief that the words in her head were true.
I challenged her to challenge those thoughts. I challenged her to talk back to the negative thoughts and provide evidence that they just weren’t true.
When she thought that no one ever loved her, I encouraged her to make a list of those who had — her various boyfriends throughout the years, her parents, her friends, her kids, the barista guy who had flirted with her for years. Those people liked and loved her — happily.
She kept this list easily accessible and when that dreaded thought reared its ugly head she referred to the list. Gradually that thought in her head, being starved of reasons why it was true, became much quieter.
And then, armed with her new feeling of self-worth, she flirted back with that barista and it looks like she just might live happily ever after.
2. Your mind
Ok, so you have a disagreement with someone over something big or small — politics, who left the toilet seat up, the color of the sky, or if crunchy peanut butter is better than smooth peanut butter. Everyday stuff.
That disagreement gets heated and there is just no settling the difference of opinion. You both stalk off in a huff.
How important is it to you to be right all of the time? Are you capable of looking at both sides of an argument and maybe being swayed to change your mind?
Being able to change your mind is a powerful thing. It is not the weakness that some might see it, but a really great strength.
I have a client who always had to be right. In any and every conflict she dug in and insisted that it was her way or the highway. As a result, her relationships were struggling. Her spouse spent most of his time working on his golf game, her teenagers only talked to her when they needed money, and she knew that her co-workers avoided her.
It was only when I started pointing out to her how many times in one hour she said "but I was right" did she start connecting the dots. Her desire to be right was alienating her from all that was good in her life.
My client made a conscious effort to change her behavior: she decided to start picking her battles. Things that weren’t as important to her she would let go. Who left the toilet seat up? Who cares. The color of the sky? Who knows. Smooth or crunchy? Oooh, that’s a tough one.
As a result of being able to change her mind, my client became a lot more pleasant to be around and her loved ones returned. She learned, the hard way, that not being right all the time felt a whole lot better than being right and alone.
3. Your habits
Yes, we love our habits. And we all have many of them. Habits are very comfortable and allow us to go through our days on auto-pilot.
Habits can be anything — eating the same breakfast everyday, always driving the same route home, or stopping for a doughnut before picking your kids up from school. Habits are like a comfy pair of slippers you can wear all day.
I'm not suggesting that you break your habits completely, but a little shifting can make a big difference.
Try eggs instead of cereal for breakfast one morning — you'll find that they give you more energy for your day. Drive a different way home from work and you might find the Thai restaurant of your dreams on that alternate route. And, while doughnuts are yummy, there is a whole world of sweet junk food out there to indulge in on your way to school. Ever tried a Yodel? It will change your life.
Try it. Change things up a little. See what you discover in the process.
4. Your relationship
I can’t tell you how many clients of mine stay in a relationship WAY past its expiration date, past the point where it is full of love and joy and healthy companionship. Instead, they live in relationships that make their every day a sad place, a place that causes them to be depleted instead of fulfilled.
We stay in relationships for many reasons— because of the kids, finances, or the mistaken belief that we will never find someone else to love us. All of these reasons are valid and worth considering. But just for a minute, consider this…
Imagine waking up in the morning next to someone who makes your heart beat faster. Imagine holding hands with that person walking to the subway, talking about your upcoming day. Imagine a lunchtime phone call from that person who just wants to hear your voice. Imagine feeling your heart skipping as that person walks in the door at night. Imagine that person wrapping themselves around you as you drift off to sleep.
How do all of those imaginings make you feel? If they make you feel good, deep down to your core, pay attention to that. If that’s not how you feel about the relationship you are in right now, it’s time for a change.
Really, wouldn’t being really loved and truly loved in 2017 be a wonderful thing?
5. Your friendships
Yes, our friendships are incredibly important. A good friend can make all of the difference getting through good times and bad. I know that I have a friend for every mood and am incredibly thankful for each of them.
On the flip side, there are friendships that are not fulfilling. Those friendships are one-sided, two-faced, or life sucking. It is these friendships that need to be considered.
I have a client who had a life-long friend. They grew up together and then settled in the same town to raise their kids. A few years back, my client’s friend started having trouble in her marriage. My client was there for her friend, letting her rant about her husband’s behavior and accompanying her for dinners out so she wouldn’t have to go home. That’s what a good friend does, after all.
My client began to notice that her friend started criticizing my client’s marriage. She would point out issues with my client’s husband and their relationship. She would get angry when my client wouldn’t recognize or acknowledge those issues. My client started getting paranoid about her relationship, wondering if something was happening that she just wasn’t seeing. She was a mess.
After working with me, she started seeing that her friend was projecting her helpless unhappiness onto my client. My client had to choose to walk away from the friendship. It was painful but it had to happen. For my client’s happiness and the health of her marriage.
Interestingly, when my client pulled away from her old friend that friend, missing an outlet for her anger, was able to take a clearer look at her marriage. This clearer look allowed her an opportunity to actually do something about it. And she did.
So there you go, the 5 things you can change to be happy.
The year 2017 is upon us. Another new year means another opportunity to live the life of your dreams. And the best way to do that is to start approaching your life differently than you have been approaching it thus far.
Albert Einstein said that you shouldn’t try to "solve problems with the same consciousness that created them." If you are unhappy in certain areas of your life it’s time to make some change that will allow you to approach that issue in a new way that might actually be effective.
Imagine living the life of your dreams, a life full of everything that you have ever wanted. You can make this happen by simply having the courage to make some changes.
You can do it! You are worth it!
This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.