Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sustaining Your Happiness

It’s easy to work out for a couple of weeks, practice the occasional random act of kindness, savor a success now and again and write an optimistic entry or two in your journal. Sonja Lyubomirsky has tons of happiness activities in The How of Happiness. The real happiness issue is how to keep these great activities going for the long haul.

Dr. Lyubormirsky has a number of suggestions that are important to try and make use of.

Timing. We all have a good time of day to work, to sleep, or to exercise. These are times that work best for our particular body and mind. Finding the right time for your happiness activities is important. Do you journal best in the morning or before bed? Work out at lunch or need a healthy meal at that point in the day?

Variety. Varying your routine is another factor. Me personally, I like to run in the same place. It’s always different to me and I like the familiarity. Some people need to change it up or they’re bored. They need variety to help keep them on track, so to speak. Which works for you?

Social support. Supportive friends or family help us stick to the program, especially if it’s a new program. We know working out with a buddy makes it easier. Getting family on board with schedule changes you may make to accommodate changes in behavior is also important.

Motivation, effort and commitment. Need I explain? You must have a plan and stick to it religiously whether it’s writing in a gratitude journal once a week, volunteering once a month or swimming three times a week. And as I tell people when it comes to dieting, or changing eating habits, this is a lifetime commitment if you want to keep off the weight. It’s the same for all happiness activities.

Habit. Is it really 66 days to form a habit? I’m dubious. 10,000 hours? The more you do something, the more habitual it becomes. It’s as simple as that. Keep on truckin’.

Mood music: Truckin’, Grateful Dead.

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