Want to Be Happier? Challenge Yourself

ultimateblogMany of us want to be happier, to experience more joy and fulfillment, and yet muddle around day after day in the same routine.

It’s certainly comforting having a schedule and structure to your life. But if you never step outside of it, vary it or stretch it, then you are likely to begin to feel trapped, lose momentum or worse, experience the “blahs.”

Even doing some of the things you enjoy can result in a slump without a kick to keep your engines revved up. After all, as humans, we are most energized and sparked when we are challenged, when we have a goal toward which we’re working.

When I began this blog it was a big boost to enter a blog challenge because it motivated me to write a blog post every day for 30 days. By continuing that momentum I had over a hundred posts in a few months. When I realized how much I had written, I decided to use those posts as the foundation of my book, Color Your Life Happy: Create the Abundance, Success and Inner Joy You Deserve.

During another challenge I wrote 25 articles in ten days before the last days of the year. It was exhilirating to push myself to get those articles done and posted.

Now I’ve just joined another blog challenge, the Ultimate Blog Challenge, that begins today.

If you are a blogger and want to give your blog a boost, why not join us. Here are the top five reasons others have joined.

#5 – Set an example for their clients!
#4 – Create a daily habit!
#3 – Reading other peoples posts!
#2 – Make connections (Interact) with other amazing people!

Come back tomorrow to check out my next post.

Want to Be Happier? Take Action About Whatever You Care About

What do you do when something in your life, family, city or job displeases you?

Most of us grumble, complain, grouse. We do everything but take action to resolve the problem or make a positive change in the situation.

When Mrs. Harris fell on a misaligned sidewalk in Oswego, NY she was told by the city that they were not responsible unless they had received notice of the sidewalk problem in writing. So watch the video below to check out what Mrs. Harris did. Then think about something that is bugging you and go out and do something about it.

Practical Happiness Tip: Take One Small Step

Rome2007Whenever you think of making a change in your life, the biggest obstacle is trying to make it in one leap.

Although it’s said that we should think with the end in mind, thinking of it as one step will block your progress and threaten your happiness. You are much more likely to succeed and feel gratified if you can think of one small step, one tiny move that will start your journey. Then take it.

That one small successful step boosts your self-esteem and gives you confidence to take the next one.

On his blog, Work Happy Now, Karl Staib talks about this in his article Loving What You Do is An Ongoing Process when he suggests letting go of a fixed perspective and asking yourself how you can improve by 1%.

Setting out to improve your job, your relationships or your life by just 1% at a time is so much easier to visualize and easy to do. Instead of making you fearful it is encouraging and in line with the way change occurs anyway.

If you’ve ever watched a plant, a child or a project grow, you know that the day-to-day changes are so tiny that they are imperceptible. And yet, you know that little by little they are progressing toward full growth.

Every idea, plan, dream has a first small step. Even if your goal is big one, it still has a small first step. Learn to respect that small step and congratulate yourself for taking it.

What is your big plan, dream, goal?

Whether your goal is getting a job, starting your own business, attracting a life partner, writing a book, traveling or some other wonderful thing, the progress toward it is the same. One small step.

The small step may be just gathering information, completing a phone call or application, talking to someone who is doing what you want to do or making an outline.

The ancient proverb “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” has survived for centuries not because is colorful, but because it is an encouraging reminder of the slow and steady progress it takes to accomplish meaningful and impressive work. (As a matter of fact, when I visited Rome, it was still undergoing construction.)

What one small step can you take toward your change, goal, plan today?

Want to Be Happier? Get with the New Program

Hotel cash ATM machine by cupcake fan on FlickrWhen I was preparing to travel to China the teller at my credit union advised me that merchants around the world preferred their own currency to traveler’s checks.

So, armed only with my debit card and credit cards, I went on my trip. Just as the teller suggested, I got cash from the hotel’s ATM machine and was well prepared for day trips and shopping.

One traveler who was part of our tour group, however, had insisted on buying traditional traveler’s checks because that’s what she had always done.

This disappointed traveler was almost in tears when the hotel front desk manager told her that they wouldn’t accept her traveler’s check. Even though she signed it in front of them the manager insisted that the signatures looked different.

You will be happier on the day that you accept the old way has been replaced with a more efficient and safer version.

Let me give you another example.

Many years ago when newspaper presses were computerized, some employees unwilling to learn to operate the new presses found themselves without jobs. If you’re on any job these days computer use is no longer optional, it’s part of the requisite skills.

Likewise, many people who are seeking temporary employment until they find the jobs they want are discovering that they need to upgrade their computer skills in order to compete. It doesn’t matter whether we think this is fair or not, it just is.

There are likely things that are still equally as good done as they were long ago, but if you’re stuck on doing things the old way you will find many great experiences and opportunities passing you by. In some situations you will just be shut out all together.

Want to Be Happier? Riding a Dead Horse Won't Help

Riding a Dead Horse by James Cridland from flickr

Riding a Dead Horse by James Cridland from flickr

I recently listened to a teleseminar with Brett Harward, author of The 5 Laws That Determine All of Life’s Outcomes He shared many powerful tips on running a successful business all based on the idea that we are not in a recession, but a revolution.

He emphasized that the way of running businesses has changed. The consumer has many choices and a strong voice. Businesses who don’t recognize this are trying to get back to normal. The only problem is that normal has changed.

If you are trying to be happier, but experiencing frustration, you may be trying to live by the old “normal” in your life.

Let me give you an example.

A friend expressed her upset that her teenage nieces and nephews never call her on the telephone or write letters. She continued with accusations of how thoughtless they were. After all, she had done for them when they were growing up.

She confessed that when she complained to them they told her that if she had a computer they would send email or a cell phone they would text her, but that they seldom make phone calls anymore.

That made her even more upset. No way was she going to be forced to get a computer or a cell phone.

Her unwillingness to recognize that modern communication has changed has kept her from more frequent contact with her relatives.

She certainly does not have to invest in a computer or a cell phone if that’s her choice, but she also won’t achieve her objective of keeping close relations with her nieces and nephews by ignoring the changes in how we communicate.

Another example.

A few years before I retired from teaching, we received a notice that all future minutes of our division meetings would be in the form of email. We were urged to read the minutes before the next meeting, notify the Dean’s assistant of any errors or omissions and bring our printed copies to the next meeting.

The Dean went on to stress that “I don’t like to read email” would not be an acceptable excuse and that the only print copy we would receive would be the ones we printed from our own computers.

Our school was actually behind the times compared to the advances in technology on other campuses, and yet some faculty members were upset at this change.

Their upset didn’t block the change in communication. They had to scramble along kicking and screaming, finally learning to use their computers, at least the email.

Are you one of those people who grumbles about the rapid pace of changes in communication, entertainment, transportation and many other things in our lives?

You’re not alone. I can remember dragging my feet on some gadgets and changes along the way. But I soon realized that my success, well-being and happiness were dependent on acknowledging and embracing change.

Riding a dead horse, especially upside down, makes for amazing art full of symbolism.(See photo above) But it’s not a good practice for life progress.

If so, watch out for those bumps and scraps you’re sure to sustain as you get pulled along at the tail end of progress.