7 Simple Steps To a Happier Life

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					7 Simple Steps To a Happier Life
This past month I have heard quite a few New Year's resolutions. These
resolutions include everything from better health to a stronger spiritual
focus. Some of the resolutions people have shared with me are very
admirable. They all also seemed aimed at helping make these people's
lives happier.
I believe that happiness is found by consistently moving toward it,
rather than by once a year decisions. I found a long time ago that I'm
happier when I try to follow a course I've set for my life based on what
is really is important to me. Here are the seven simple steps that help
guide me. Hopefully they will be of some help to you too.
1. Decide on why you are here.
King Solomon once said, "A man without a vision will perish." In other
words, your life needs a purpose. What is your life about? What makes you
feel fulfilled?
Your purpose might be as simple as helping your children to have a better
life than you did. I recently read about a woman from Chicago named Mona
Purdy who, after becoming divorced found she was spoiling her children,
giving them anything they wanted, including name-brand shoes. On a trip
to Peten, Guatemala where she was to run a half marathon, she saw kids
with no shoes dipping their feet in tar in an attempt to protect them
from infection. She decided to do something about it and, starting with
her children's, she put together a number of pairs of shoes and brought
them back to an orphanage in Peten. Out of that experience she founded
Share Your Soles ( an organization that has
distributed over 350,000 pairs of shoes to places from New Orleans to
Now your purpose doesn't have to be that big but it does take some self-
examination. In his book, "The E-Myth", Michael Gerber talks about
imagining going to a funeral. As you step closer and closer to the casket
you are listening to the conversations of the funeral goers. When you
finally get to the casket you find the person inside is you and that
these people are making comments about you. What would you want them to
say? Would they describe you as good parent? How about a good business
person? Were you a good friend? Were you someone who was fun to be
around? Did you make a difference?
What's important is to find something. Decide what your life is about,
what gives you purpose. Then pursue the path that takes you in that
2. Decide to Make It Easy to be Happy.
I had a seemingly successful young man as a client a while back that told
me, "I can't figure it out. I'm just not happy and I'm always stressed
out." Now, as a high achiever this young man had set a lot of significant
goals for himself, two which I remember distinctly. One was to make a
minimum of $500,000 a year from his business. The other was to weight 180
pounds and have less than 10 percent body fat. He told me he had to so
these two things in order to feel happy. He had set other high goals that
he said would mean happiness in many parts of his life. As you might
imagine, happiness, for him, was hard to find.
Compare this man to a man that appeared on the "Johnny Carson Show" many
years ago. He was an Ontarian with a broad smile. As Johnny interviewed
him it was obvious that he was very happy and content and his personality
stole the show. Finally Johnny asked, "What is your secret to being so
happy?" The man smiled and answered, "Well, every morning when I wake up
I have a choice to be happy or not. I just choose to be happy." This man
made it very easy to find happiness.
Now don't confuse what I'm saying. I'm not arguing against setting a high
bar for your goals. Goals need to make us stretch. Goals must make us
grow or they aren't really goals. On the other hand a definition of
happiness that says "To feel happy I need to be successful in everything
I do" can make just about anyone unhappy and stressed out. Set high goals
but make feeling happy easy.
3. Decide to be Consistent
In order to feel good about ourselves we need to make consistent
decisions. Last year I set a goal to eat healthier. It wasn't that I ate
unhealthily. It's just that I like to partake in the ice cream, chocolate
and other not so healthy foods that somehow found their way into my
house. Now having the ice cream and other things in my house wasn't bad
in itself. The problem was I usually ate them until they were completely
gone. I decided that in order to be consistent with my goal I would have
to stop the flow of these items into my house. So I didn't buy them. What
a concept! A great side affect of my new eating habits was that my weight
moved from a healthy 187 pounds to much healthier 176 pounds.
Inconsistencies can keep us from feeling happy. When we are inconsistent
in following the steps to our goals, we can feel like failures which can
lead to unhappiness. Think about your goals. What goal have you been
trying to achieve that seems to be eluding you? If they continue staying
out of your grasp check if it is something you really want. If it is,
check your consistency in pursuing them. Once you align them you'll
probably find that your overall happiness improves also.
Sometimes these inconsistencies are lodged in the subconscious. If you
continue to have a challenge in this area, hypnosis and NLP can help you.
If you're in San Diego and would like help to be more consistent, give me
a call.
4. Decide to be Happy about all Your Successes
You set a goal to lose a few pounds. Your goal is actually to lose ten
pounds in five weeks, a fairly reasonable goal. Five weeks after you
start you are eight pounds lighter. Instead of being ecstatic about
moving 80 percent toward your goal you start beating yourself up. You are
unhappy. You are focused on what went wrong.
We are a society of focusing on what goes wrong. Check the news. Do you
see a lot of headlines saying "Last night there were no murders or fires
in our city"? Of course not, in fact news people will candidly tell you
that this type of news doesn't generate viewers or readers. The headlines
we see are focused on all the tragedies of the past twenty four hours or
so, of drug induced robberies, bombings in the Middle East, grisly
murders and the sort.
As children we get a lot of this type of negative focus also. Our parents
paid attention to us when we were misbehaving. Our teachers let us know
what we problems on the math test we got wrong. Unless we were extremely
lucky, the reinforcement we received as children was much more negative
than positive.
Now, just as we have been trained, we focus the same way, just like in
the example above, where you have moved to within twenty percent of your
goal. Instead of focusing on the fact that you moved eighty percent
closer to your goal, you're focused on that you're still off by twenty
percent, or even more likely that you didn't achieve your goal. If we
truly want to move in the direction of our goals and dreams, if we truly
want to be happy, we need to change our focus to the positive events in
our lives and celebrate when we do things to move us in that direction.
This type of focus can actually motivate us toward achieving our goals.
So when you move in the right direction, when you move to within twenty
percent of your goal, or sometimes even 50%, reward yourself. It could be
as small as a trip to the mall or as big as a drive up the coast. Maybe
you'll have a cup of tea with a special friend Whatever it is, keep
focused on the positive by rewarding yourself for your positive
achievements, and then keep moving.
If you find yourself stuck on negative focus try hypnosis and NLP. They
can work wonders for you.
5. Decide to be Disciplined
The word discipline often makes people nervous. In fact sometimes I hear
"How can you be happy if you are being disciplined?" First you are not
"being disciplined". You are making disciplined efforts, deciding to do
what is needed to move you toward happiness.
In order to achieve anything you want you need to make disciplined
movement toward your goals. Anything worthwhile takes disciplined effort.
I taught martial arts to children for many years. Sometimes when a child
seemed to be discouraged with how well they were doing I'd ask, "I can do
whatever it was they were trying to do. What's the difference between me
and you?" Of course they'd say, "Well you're a black belt." I'd always
smile and say, "No, I could take this belt off and still be able to do
whatever it was. The difference is I've been practicing a little longer
than you."
All accomplishments come with disciplined behavior. It takes discipline
to play the piano. It takes disciplined effort to get in better shape. It
takes discipline to graduate from high school or college. It takes
discipline to become a black belt. It takes disciplined effort to
accomplish anything in life. A single disciplined step done day after day
in the direction of our goals will eventually bring you to your goals and
toward happiness.
6. Decide to Have Compassion
The famous speaker and author, Stephen R. Covey, related this story in
one of his books. He talked about riding the subway and on the ride a man
and his children boarded the train. The man sat down as his children
wildly ran around the subway car. The man seemed to be ignoring the kids,
as though he couldn't see or hear the commotion they were making. Stephen
tried to tolerate the behavior but finally it got to him so he turned to
the man and said, "Do you think you want to do something about these
The man turned to him and said, "Oh, I guess I should. We just returned
from the hospital. Their mother just died. I guess they don't know how to
cope with it and quite honestly, neither do I."
This enlightenment changed how Stephen saw the situation and he said it
changed the way he related to people from then on. He said this incident
made him realize that no matter what seemed to be going on there might be
something else happening as well.
To be happy we need to try to understand where the other person is coming
from. This will keep us from jumping to conclusions. You see, as
insightful as we are, we don't know what's going on inside of other
people. Try to be less judgmental and have more compassion. This will
reduce your misunderstandings and allow you live a happier life.
7. Decide to Be Less Serious
As I heard it stated once, "Release the pact to keep your act intact."
The person who said this was making the point that we all have facades,
or acts, that we present to the world in order to make ourselves feel
good. The problem is that these acts can make us take ourselves too
In my life the places that have been most difficult have been when I've
taken my self too seriously. When I've confused taking myself seriously
and taking what I do seriously. When this happens I find myself in
conflict with the world and the people around me which hasn't helped me
at all.
So stop taking yourself so seriously. This isn't to say if you're a pilot
that you should take your job less seriously. No way! If I'm riding with
you I hope you take getting me to my destination safely very seriously.
What I'm saying is that we should all decide to relax our acts, to be
more spontaneous, to take ourselves less seriously, to be happy! Laugh at
your mistakes and understand that part of being a goal seeking individual
means having to make some bloopers along the way. You don't have to look
like you just sucked on a pickle. You can decide to lighten up.
So there you have it, 7 steps to a better life. First, decide on why you
are here. Second, decide to make it easy to be happy. Third, decide to be
consistent. Forth, decide to reward yourself for what you do right.
Fifth, decide that discipline is good. Sixth, decide to have compassion
and finally, seventh, decide to be less serious. Seven decisions you and
I can make every day to make a happier life for ourselves, and the people
around us. Now go and be happy!
Wil Dieck is the founder of Total Mind Therapy, a combination of
hypnosis, NLP, breathing techniques from the martial arts visualization
used for goal setting. His practice is located in San Diego, California.
For more information about Wil and his practice please go to or go to his blog at

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