“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” ~Dalai Lama
We all have these personal voices.
There’s one voice that says you can achieve whatever you desire.
Then there’s this pesky little voice offering reasons why you can’t do what you want, and it’s often repetitive, resilient, and persistent.
How many times have you made a commitment only to have this voice chime in with one of these common excuses?
What if?” Nothing good follows afterward. And once an excuse is gone, another one quickly replaces it.
It took me a while to realize that I wanted more from life.
It was difficult to notice what I wanted when I was consistently living in fear and resorting to excuses.
I wouldn’t let myself try anything new because I feared embarrassment, risk, loss of comfort, judgment, or that I wouldn’t be good enough.
Once I became aware of this problem, I sought a way to fix it.
I had to do something. I was sick of letting this voice control me.
I realized that I had been avoiding commitment and stalling on things that interested me because I didn’t want to lose my freedom. I didn’t want to invest too much into my personal relationships, my hobbies, or my craft.
But then I realized that commitment and freedom can co-exist, and I started creating new possibilities for myself outside my comfort zone.
The first thing I did was go to a salsa class. I had always wanted to try, but I feared I wouldn’t be good enough, or that I’d consistently step on other people.
It went better than I expected and I had fun in something new and exciting. This was the start of finding out what freedom really meant.
When we pursue new possibilities, it’s not just for growth or personal development but also for something more meaningful—being happy and engaging with the moment.
It’s about living in the present and immersing yourself in whatever you’re doing.
Not happy with how you’re living? Try one of these ideas to feel more engaged and alive.
1. Share your fears with a trusted friend or on a forum, or write about it in your blog or journal. Get to the bottom of your fears and why they may be holding you back.
2. Tell a friend or a loved one what you want and need from them. Be honest and don’t hold anything back.
3. Tell someone you care for them, love them, or that you want to see them happy. Don’t repress, express!
4. Ask someone you look up to for advice and let them in on your personal life. You’ll be amazed by the responses you get.
5. Go up to that person that really excites you. Just go up and say hi. You never know what could happen.
6. Tell your best friend (or anyone) about your pursuit of happiness. Share your greatest dream. It helps with accountability.
7. Discover your talents. Invest time in something you’ve always wanted to try.
8. Open up your blinds and let in natural light. Let the sunlight elevate your mood.
9. Put your favorite music on blast at least once a day. Not only will it improve your mood, but you’ll also be taken on a mental journey.
10. Change your perspective. Take a negative situation and see how you can make it positive. Gratitude goes a long way.
11. Let go. As the famous Zen proverb goes, “Let go, or be dragged.”
12. Show yourself to the world and be genuine instead of hiding who you really are.
13. Dream. Visualize your dreams, goals, and what you want to achieve in life.
14. Hug. Hugging releases oxytocin, the good-feel hormone that makes us love and trust one another.
15. Express your creativity. Paint, write, sketch—find an outlet and just create!
16. Get out of your comfort zone and try a new class that looks challenging. Remember, no one begins as a professional.
17. Practice yoga. Stretch, strengthen, and relax your body and mind. You’ll be glad you did.
18. Redecorate your environment to express how you want to feel. Set an intention for your space.
19. Start a bucket list. Write at least three things you wish to accomplish this year.
20. Meditate. Ohm.
21. Get out of the house. Take a walk in nature. Go nearby to a trail, walk alone, and see what you can appreciate. Focus on the tiniest detail possible.
22. Sign up for the conference or workshop that you’ve always wanted to attend.
23. Establish positive relationships. Spend time with those who motivate and inspire you.
24. Disconnect from the Internet. It’s not as scary as it sounds
25. Remain resilient. Any failure is a lesson, not a defining moment in your life.
26. Give, give, and give some more. Find one way to give something to someone every day. A genuine compliment goes a long way.
27. Instead of saying no, say yes. Especially to something challenging.
28. Drop any grudges. Anything negative that you hold onto will only cultivate more negativity.
29. Exercise. A wise Harvard Law School student once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
30. Go on a journey or vacation somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
31. Help someone out. Focus on seeing how you can help make a change in someone’s life.
32. Work on one quality or characteristic you’d like to possess.
33. Go on a bike ride. Denmark is infamously renowned for being the world’s happiest bicycle-friendly nation.
34. Do something thoughtful for someone you love. If it involves money, see if you can buy an experience instead of a gift.
35. Be thankful. Practice gratitude; there is always something to be thankful for.
You don’t have to try all of these in order to be happy. Try the ideas that resonate within you and see which ones will remove you from your comfort zone and bring you back to life.
Over to you: What habit or activity always makes you happy? What change have you made recently that has brought you happiness? What is one reason you haven’t been able to start something you’ve always wanted to try?
About the Author:
Dragos Bernat writes at SelfHabit where he shares methods and strategies based on research and practical knowledge to help make creating good habits, living healthy, and increasing productivity. For refreshing ideas on how to simplify your lifestyle both physically and mentally, and optimize your happiness, join his free newsletter.