“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
Saying no is often the easier way out.
When you say no you can safely stay within your comfort zone. You don’t have to fear failing or being rejected.
The scary unknown and sometimes difficult change can be avoided.
But if you say yes your life can expand and deepen. The yes allows you to open up your life to more happiness.
Today I would like to share 10 things that I have said yes to and that have helped me to become happier in my life.
Pick one of these that resonate the most with you and focus on making it a part of your life.
1. Being imperfect.
Trying to be perfect is setting the bar too high. It will be impossible to reach.
And so you’ll lower your self-esteem. You may not feel very happy about how things are going in your life.
Even though they might be going very well indeed.
Perfectionism is mindset that eats at you and your happiness. Saying yes to being imperfect can turn that around.
How to do it:
Realize the costs of buying into myths of perfection.
By watching too many movies, listening to too many songs and just taking in what the world is telling you it is very easy to be lulled into dreams of perfection.
It sounds so good and wonderful and you want it.
But in real life it clashes with reality and it can harm or possibly lead you to end relationships, jobs, projects etc. just because your expectations are out of this world.
I find it very helpful to remind myself of this simple fact.
Go for good enough.
Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else very slowly or never being finished.
So go for good enough instead.
Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there then you are finished with whatever you are doing.
2. Being you.
Not being able to be yourself, always trying to change for others or censoring yourself don’t feel good at all.
It makes life feel so small and limited.
So how can you be yourself? Your environment plays a huge part.
How to do it:
Spend more time with the people who support your dreams, values and you. Or are at least neutral.
And spend less time with people who always criticize you or you simply aren’t a good fit for.
Supportive and life-expanding influences outside of your everyday life.
Change your environment not only close to you. Go further and spend more time with sources of information that supports your dreams and can give you information that expands and makes your life happier and more exciting.
Find support from people you have never met via books, movies, blogs, forums and music.
And spend less time with negative and limiting influences.
3. The things that make you come alive.
It is important to find some time and energy for the things that you feel makes you come alive.
How to do it:
Mix it up.
Try something new, even if it is just something small each week.
- Eat the vegetarian dish at lunch if you always eat meat.
- Listen to some music that isn’t your normal cup of tea.
- Go out to a movie, café or pub with friends if you usually stay in at night. Or vice versa.
Create variation and expand your comfort zone regularly in small ways to live a happier life.
Reconnect with what you used to love if it has fallen by the wayside.
If you used to go fishing, paint or play the guitar and it really made you come alive then reconnect.
Use an hour for it this week and see if it still brings you joy and makes you come alive.
Pessimism can really limit your life and bring it to a standstill.
It can make it feel like there's no point in trying because it won’t make a difference or you’ll just fail. It can create ceilings and walls made out of glass where there really are none.
Saying yes a more optimistic way of thinking can on the other hand open your life up.
How to do it:
Ask yourself optimistic questions.
When you’re in what seems like a negative situation then make something better out of it by asking yourself questions that promote optimism and helps you to find solutions.
- What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
- What is the opportunity within this situation?
Start your day off on the right foot.
As mentioned in tip #2, the influences in your life can make a huge difference.
So choose to spend your breakfast time with an optimistic influence like for example a book, a blog or your mom.
Or talk to someone early in the day that most often supports and cheers you up like a co-worker or a friend in school.
5. Turning negative self-talk around.
It is very important to keep your motivation and your self-esteem up to live a happier life.
Your inner critic may be one of biggest obstacles standing in your way of that.
If you make a mistake or fail, if someone criticizes you or if you are just getting tired then that small inner voice can become louder and louder and drag and keep you down.
It can tell you that you are stupid or lazy. That you will not succeed. That you are worse or uglier than someone else.
Being able to turn the inner critic around or to shut it up as soon as it pops up is a very helpful skill.
How to do it:
Simply create a stop word or stop-phrase that you say or shout in your mind whenever your critic pipes up with a distorted and self-esteem hurting thought.
Or: No, no, no, we are not going there again!
Explain to yourself what this will lead to over the next year or more.
As I mentioned in tip #1, reminding yourself of the cost of buying into myths of perfection is a powerful way to replace those thought habits.
This works very well for other self-esteem hurting thought patterns too.
Remind yourself of how the inner critic has shaped your life so far. And in your mind see the cost of letting it roam free for another year or five.
6. Saying no when you feel it is the right thing for you to do.
To have the time and energy to say yes to the most important things you have to say no to some things too.
How to do it:
What do I truly want to focus my time and energy on?
When you get an offer or an opportunity arises ask yourself this question.
When you look over your schedule ask yourself this question. Think about and look at what your top priorities are and what you deep want before you say anything.
Disarm and then state your need.
It becomes easier for people to accept your no if you disarm them first.
You could for example do that by honestly saying that you are flattered or that you appreciate the kind offer.
Then you, for instance, add that you do not have the time for accepting and doing what they want. Or say that you do not feel that this offer is a good fit for your life right now.
Not clinging to the past and to the hurt that is there but to let it go and look to the now and the future is an essential thing to find more happiness in your life.
Forgiving is not always easy and can take time but there are some things that can make it a little easier.
How to do it:
Remind yourself that you forgive for your own benefit.
As long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what he or she did over and over again.
The emotional link between the two of you is so strong and inflicts much suffering in you and – as a result of your inner turmoil – most often in other people around you too.
When you forgive you do not only release the other person. You set yourself free from all of that agony too.
Make a habit of forgiving yourself.
Do not just forgive others but also yourself. By forgiving yourself – instead of resenting yourself for something you did a week or 10 years ago – you make the habit of forgiveness more and more of a natural part of you.
And so forgiving others becomes easier too.
8. Making someone else happy.
Making someone else happier has many benefits. The happiness spreads back to you as you see his or her face light up and as you know you did the right thing.
It spreads back to you as people have a strong tendency to want to give back when you have done something good for them.
And it spreads out into the world as that now happier person may spread his or her happiness to other people.
How to do it:
Help out practically.
Lend someone a hand when they are moving. Or give them a ride in your car. Or if they need information, try to find a solution by asking the people you know or via Google.
Sometime a friend or someone close to you may just want to vent or for someone to listen as he or she figures things out. It may not seem like much but it can be an immense help for someone who needs it.
So be there fully – don’t sit there thinking about something else – and listen.
9. Openness and growth.
Saying yes to being open to the good things in life and growing as a person plays a big role when it comes to happiness.
The other things in this article will help you with that. But here are two more tips that will make your journey a little easier and simpler.
How to do it:
Change one thing at a time.
Changing many things or your whole life at once sure sounds good. But willpower is something we often overestimate and everyday life tends to come in the way.
So to make sure you have a much better chance of changing a habit or area of your life change just one thing at a time.
Just say no to one small thing you don’t want to do this week. Or forgive one person for one thing. Or help and make someone happy in some small way.
Take just one small step outside of your comfort zone.
10. To living your life fully despite setbacks.
When things have been standing still for while or you hit a bump in the road then it's easy to back down. To shrink. To give in or give up.
But a better way to say yes to happiness in those situations is to say yes to living your life fully.
How to do it:
When you fail or make a mistake don’t give up. Reconnect with optimism by using the questions further up in this article. Find inspiration from books and blogs and the people around you.
And don’t beat yourself up. Instead nudge yourself back on track again.
Remember, it's not too late to change your life.
I didn’t really try to improve my life very much until I was 25. And many throughout the world and history have made positive changes far later in life than that.
So if you want to make a change then start today. Work with what you have where you are right now.
Start small and take the first step towards something new.
Comments on this entry are closed.
I really enjoyed reading your blog and of the 10 things to say Yes to starting today I felt for me personally that No 5 – Turning negative self-talk around was the big one for me. I think we are are own worse critics and when we beat ourselves up about not being good enough and all the other negative talk we tell ourselves all we are doing is putting a big road block up to happiness. I am in my fifties and my negative self talk is about where I think I should be in life. I unfortunately compare myself to others around my age and I think that I have failed and haven’t been as successful as others so I know I have to silent that inner critic of mine and not compare my life to others if I want to live a happy life.
I love your positive and optimistic attitude. I always feel better after reading your posts. It just reassures that we can have a happy and fulfilling life. Thank you.
This topic, 10 things to say Yes to starting today helps me remind myself of the 10 things you mention, most of the time I tend to go the other way around. I find this very helpful and good reminder that we create our own happiness.
Its Simply Inspiring. Thanks for this Great Article. I Love it. Feeling Inspired
I absolutely love this article. The negative voice in me which I call Penelope can give me hell sometimes so THANKS SO MUCH for these excellent coping tips .
I like to start my day reading your blog. thank you
I am so happy that I signed up for the email posts.
It creates a positive outlook on my life.
Thank you Hendrik.
Unfortunately, some moms suck. So perhaps in section 4: Optimism, subsection “Starting your day off on the right foot” suggestion, instead of mom perhaps use “someone who loves you.” Only my two cents……..
Your positive blog 10 things to say yes is really interesting and teaching. I am sure will start using it starting from today.
Thank you for helping me see clearer, do better, and make wise health choices. You are so appreciated. Blessing
I love all of the ten points you made in this great article. And more so to pick one, just one and give it a go. So I will go for the “Optimism” one because I tend to get critical about things which may be good for work purposes but not so much for my own personal life. I like the idea to just pick one and really try to blend it into my daily life.
Thank you for the great post Henrik! Always beneficial.
Such a wonderful blog. your art of writing is completely mesmerizing and lovely. I love this article this will help Millions to achieve their goal and this is some of the best article. I have read on internet to be happy it will motivate plenty of people around the world.
keep writing keep inspiring
Henrik: Love your blog. Its like sunshine whenever I get one from you. The tips are actionable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.