How to Learn the Happiness Habit

Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. What’s cool about this is that if you change one, you will automatically change the other. Originally, the word “habit” meant a garment, yep that means that habits are like clothes.

You know what i’ve found out over the past few months of my personal journey in life?

Our habits are literally like garments that are worn by our personalities.

Our habits are not accidental. You may realize this fact, but some people don’t. I personally didn’t realize it until I was reading Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz(Amazon link). The reasons that we have habits is the same reason that we have the clothes that are currently in our drawers, they fit us. They are in congruence with who we are and have become a part of our unique personality.

When we consciously and deliberately take the time to develop new and better habits, our self-image tends to outgrow the old habits we had and tends to grow into a new pattern of habits.

Many people confuse habits with addictions, which is completely understandable. However, an addiction is something that you feel compelled to, and it’s also something that causes severe withdrawal symptoms. I’m not here to speak about addiction though, as that’s not my cup of tea. The only thing I feel “addicted” to is life and personal development, but I feel that those addictions are beneficial 😉

Habits are something that I have been constantly working on developing over the past few months/years and I feel that I can help shed some light on the subject of developing good habits. What makes me qualified to help you with this? Well, personally I’ve done a few 90 day challenges to change my health and grow my business.  I’m someone who’s done it and has had some great results from doing it.

So what are habits?

Habits are merely reactions and responses that we have learned to perform automatically without having to “think” or “decide” to do. An example of this is with juggling.

When I juggle, my hands don’t “decide” where to go to catch the ball. The reaction is something that is automatic now, because I have been juggling for over 14 years.

PS- you can learn how to juggle in a video course I put together. My hands merely know where to go because I have developed the habit of juggling.

I have programmed the muscle memory in my brain to know where my hands should be in order to catch the ball. The same is true when dancers are dancing, it’s become a habit and your feet merely go to where they’ve been programmed to go during dances.

Our attitudes, emotions and beliefs are something that also tend to become habitual. This can be a good thing if you actively choose to create good habits for each of these, but they can also become negatives for your life.

Over the course of our lives, we have “learned” that certain attitudes, ways of feeling and ways of thinking were “appropriate” for certain situations.

An example of this is to think about the last few parties that you were at. Think about this, do you tend to sit on a couch and strike up a conversation with someone, or are you someone who runs around and hangs out with everyone?

I tend to be a person who wanders and notice that I do this at all social gatherings that I go to. I’m not someone to just sit there and that’s become a part of my habits.

We tend to think, feel and act the same way when we are put in familiar situations. Think about yourself with this example, do you tend to do the same things over and over again? My bet is that you do.

A cool thing about our habits..

We can modify, change or even reverse our habits by making a conscious decision and practicing or “acting out” the new habits we want to develop and program new responses into our lives.

Here are a few affirmations that you can start saying to yourself to acquire the “happiness habit”: Taken from Psycho-Cybernetics

  • I will be as cheerful as possible.
  • I will try to feel and act a little more friendly toward other people.
  • I am going to be a little less critical and a little more tolerant of other people, their faults, failings and mistakes. I will place the best possible interpretation upon their actions.
  • Insofar as possible, I am going to act as if success were inevitable, and I already am the sort of personality I want to be. I will practice “acting like” and “feeling like” this new personality.
  • I will not let my own opinion color facts in a pessimistic or negative way.
  • I will practice smiling at least three times during the day.
  • Regardless of what happens, I will react as calmly and as intelligently as possible.
  • I will ignore completely and close my mind to all those pessimistic and negative “facts” which I can do nothing to change.

Simple? Yes! The thing about habits is that they take 21 days to acquire and make a part of who you are. You can easily acquire the habit of happiness if you make a conscious effort to do so. You can get started today!

Also, if you are interested in learning more about the happiness habit, there is a course available called “The 11 Forgotten Laws” that will help you with acquiring more happiness.

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Chris Hughes

Chris loves learning, going on adventures, surfing and having fun.
Chris on Google+

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Kylewhite214 - August 9, 2010 Reply

When you are contented, you desire no more than what you have. In contentment lies life satisfaction regardless of what you possess, what and who you love, and what you have achieved. In life satisfaction there is peace. When you are at peace, you will learn how to rightfully value your possessions, your knowledge, and your love. In my own opinion, the way to happiness is contentment.
http://drgregcynaumon.com/

Chris Hughes - August 11, 2010 Reply

Do you have any tips on creating contentment in your life?

Val Wilcox - August 12, 2010 Reply

Awesome post Chris!
Staying positive and not allowing negativity to have a place in your life is so empowering. Anyone can find great value in using these steps.
Val 🙂

Chris Hughes - August 12, 2010 Reply

Thanks Val, I'm glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

Anja Drumm - August 14, 2010 Reply

So true Chris. I love the affirmations – it proves that it's the little things in life that can have the biggest impact on oneself and our friends and families.

Chris Hughes - August 14, 2010 Reply

Thanks Anja! You're right, little things make a HUGE difference 🙂

Beth Allen - August 19, 2010 Reply

I love the analogy of habits to clothes. I know I have some “clothes” in my closet that are less than flattering or out-of-date with my current personality! 😉 And I agree that affirmations are a great tool for changing our image and our habits ~ and repetition is key. What is easy to do, is also easy not to do! Thanks for an inspiring post, Chris!

Chris Hughes - August 20, 2010 Reply

hehe Beth, I've definitely got a bunch of clothes in my closet that are the same as what you're saying…maybe this week calls for a clean up of the closet?

Yorinda - August 20, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris,

thanks for your post. I love the book Psychocybernetics. I studied it a few times in a study group and then learned how to facilitate the groups myself. I also like the “Power of the Subconscious Mind', or/and any other book on the subject.
I learned how to juggle by inventing a game where 2 people throw 2,3,4 or 5 ball. This helped me to learn in a fun way. We laughed a lot and sometimes just threw the ball(homemade filled with rice) at each other.

Much appreciated
Yorinda

Chris Hughes - August 21, 2010 Reply

I just finished Psycho cybernetics…i've had the book for over a year but it hadn't really caught my attention until the past month. TONS of insight in there, as wel as the Power of Your Subconscious Mind! Any other great book recommendations with similar information that have helped reinforce what these two books have?

haha that's awesome that you learned how to juggle in a creative way!

Loic - August 23, 2010 Reply

I was surprised to read that it takes 21 to acquire a habit. How interesting. I do believe with time and effort anybody can change its habit. I am working on mine. Fortunately i can say i am not addicted to anything.

thanks for sharing

Beverly Monical - August 23, 2010 Reply

Affirmations are awesome. I have read books as well as taken a course about positive affirmations.I believe if you do it,like you said for 21 days, you will create a new positive feeling for yourself. Thanks Chris. I would have loved this even more if you had put in a video to talk to us about this subject.Have you ever considered using video?I will be happy to help you.

Alexander Hay - August 24, 2010 Reply

Thanks for the post. Developing new beneficial habits is often difficult given the fact that negative habits have a way of creeping in and taking over. A positive approach helps enormously.

Chris Hughes - August 24, 2010 Reply

One of the major habits that I had to break was being lazy in my college classes. I honestly just didn't care about the classes and my grades somewhat reflected that. In my first few years, I had no motivation to go to class or do any work or study…I just wanted to party!

It took a realization for me to realize that this wasn't up to my true ability and it took me about 21-25 days to really change my habits of being a lazy college student. I've read a few places that it takes the 21 days, but I feel it really does depend on the habit. Just like with smoking cigarettes, the physical addiction is gone after 3 DAYS, but it's often the next 20 days or so that truly determines if the change is permanent.

You are absolutely right about with time and effort anyone can change. I've done a few changes and am very happy with where it's led me so far.

Thanks for stopping over!

Chris Hughes - August 24, 2010 Reply

Positive affirmations kick ass!

Hmm Beverly, you've got a good idea there! I've been using video here and there, but find that I get more interactions on the blog when I have written word….maybe I'll need to create a video to go along with each blog post I write?

Do you think that would be a good idea?

Chris Hughes - August 24, 2010 Reply

You're absolutely right Alexander, negative habits LOVE creeping back into our lives. I know that personally this has happened to me multiple times….one of these was drinking…my excuse for that was “college”, but I still needed to minimize the amount of time/money I spent on that nasty habit.

I still haven't completely kicked the alcohol out of my life, but at this point I am not sure I want to yet 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Julie Ann - August 26, 2010 Reply

WOW great post Chris. Someone else in the past few weeks has mentioned that book Psycho-cybernetics to us as well. I will have to go pick it up. Very powerful stuff and your right the affirmations are very important and help you stay positive and focused on your goals. Thank you so much for sharing this great information.

theuns - August 28, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris

I Just love your post .

Yes we can change and add to all the time
and that will help us not to live in the past but
go forward in life .

We must not let go of good habbits we just need to
add new ones.

Great Blog

Theuns

Chris Hughes - August 30, 2010 Reply

Thanks Theuns!

I agree with you and getting new habits that improve upon existing ones is vital to improving our lives.

I hope that this post helped you out and thanks for stopping by!

Chris Hughes - August 30, 2010 Reply

It's a pretty good book and a real quick read so I'd definitely pick it up. Amazon's got it for pretty cheap as well.

Do you have any affirmations that you currently use Julie Ann?

Vanessa - September 1, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris,

I too enjoyed the clothes analogy. I'm a horder and keep clothes despite them not fitting me and I find myself getting more and more fustrated when I see an overflowing wardrobe with clothes that I'll never wear again.

This morning I had a clear out, four big black bags worth which I dropped into a charity clothes bin locally. Hoping that breaking this habit of hording and giving to charity is a postive habit that I can continue with in the future.

Vanessa

p.s. 21 days seems like a long time to create a habit but the happiness habit sounds like a good place to start!

Jerome Ratliff - September 2, 2010 Reply

Hi Chris,

This reminds me of the book Happy for no Reason. It teaches you that you should be grateful for what you do have and doing simple things like putting a genuine smile on your face can make a huge difference.

Over the years I developed wonderful new habits. But you know what, I also developed a few bad ones. At least I'm working on them.

By the way, I love Psycho-Cybernetics. I have the book and the newly revised audio with Dan Kennedy on it. It's awesome!

Have a great day,
Jerome Ratliff

Chris Hughes - September 3, 2010 Reply

Jerome, I haven't read Happy for no Reason yet! I'll definitely need to pick up a copy of it and read it.

Have you developed more good habits than bad ones?

The new revised audio of Dan Kennedy? I definitely need to pick that up.

Chris Hughes - September 3, 2010 Reply

Woohooo!!! Congrats on the clear out! The charity that you donate them too is going to be so happy to get them. Giving to charity is something that I often try to do and whenever I grow out of clothes or don't want them anymore(happens from time to time), I end up giving them to family members who are younger or sometimes friends younger brothers, while other times giving them to charity.

21 days is definitely a long time, but when you think about it in the length of our lives, taking 21 days out of our life is definitely a worthwhile investment in my opinion if you are trying to make an improvement 🙂

Luay Rahil - September 4, 2010 Reply

I will always be cheerful.

Tommy DiPietro - September 9, 2010 Reply

Hey Chris,

This was a great post. I love reading about affirmations, very powerful.
Sounds like a great book, will have to add it to my list.

The happiness habit sounds like something I would like 🙂

Have a great day,
Tommy D.
MLM Prospecting Hero

social bookmarking - September 9, 2010 Reply

Hey Chris, great post as usual. We all have habits. As you say, you can REPLACE your habits. You never just toss them without putting anything else in its place. It is funny, because for a while I was traveling a lot for my job. As a result I was not able to do all the things that I habitually did. It was very difficult for me, until I developed new habits to replace the old ones. That made all the difference in the world.

Howie Perks - September 10, 2010 Reply

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the great post. I love the analogy of “habits” being like “garments”. I actually didn't know that originally habit meant garment but it makes complete sense!

Like you said we can change our habits just by making a conscience choice to do so. With the daily affirmations you provided and many other personal development techniques, anyone can begin having more success in their lives today by taking a hard look at what habits may be holding them back.

Learning the “happiness habit” is the first step of this process 😉

In Success,
Howie Perks

Darlene Davis - September 11, 2010 Reply

Chris,
What a powerful reminder to use daily affirmations in creating strong, positive “habits” with which to live by. It is so easy to forget the simple things, like smiling, or being less critical of others. The one that really hit me this morning is: “I am going to act as if success were inevitable …” I'll carry that thought with me all week. Thanks, Chris!

Peter Fuller MBA - September 12, 2010 Reply

Hey Chris

Boy do I have some bad habits 🙂

We have habits because they are easy to do without thinking, but it is tough to change those habits because we have to consciously think about them.

Time to work on those bad habits.

Peter

Matt Bousum - September 20, 2010 Reply

Thanks for the great post Chris. I had never connected the fact that the old-world garment was called a habit. It really makes sense now and put that way I think creating and holding those good habits will be a little easier. Time to go work on that happiness habit!

In Success
Matt Bousum

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

I never knew that with the garment either Matt, it was quite a surprise 🙂

Woohooo good work on working on the happiness habit! I hope you enjoy your new habits!

-Chris

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

haha Peter, I have had my fair share of bad habits…some have gone completely, others have come back from time to time. It's all about choosing which ones we really want to keep!

It is definitely hard to work on our habits but it is worth it 🙂

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

It definitely is easy to forget the simple things! I've been working on them a lot lately though and hope that this helps you out Darlene 🙂

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

I hope this helps you out Howie! The affirmations have helped me and I know that as I grow, i'll be having new affirmations to take me to different levels of success. I wish the same successes come your way!

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

One of the reasons I love chatting with you Luay!

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

Do you have any tips for those people traveling on incorporating new habits? I know that some people are beginning to travel now and it can be difficult to incorporate “habits” while always in different places.

Chris Hughes - October 4, 2010 Reply

I'm glad you enjoyed it Tommy! It definitely is a great book and is a quick read so it won't take months or longer to finish 🙂

Vanity Strike - December 3, 2010 Reply

Positive thoughts are good for you mentally but also physically. I have some health problems and I find if I stay in a positive frame of mind that I stay healthier. My trust in God is a steadying force that brings me joy. I try to focus on the positives .. Thanks for sharing your Self Esteem Affirmationsthoughts!

Chris Hughes - December 3, 2010 Reply

Staying positive is a great way to enjoy life and stay healthy 🙂

Zaid Khalid - March 22, 2017 Reply

Hi

Everything you wrote was by your heart, and we all have our fair share of experiences. No offence, i just wanted say, these tips don’t work every time, i tried! Still, i really loved your work.

Chris Hughes - March 22, 2017 Reply

Hey Zaid, sadly nothing works 100% of the time every time. These are just some helpful tips. Have you read Psycho-Cybernetics? It goes deeper than I do in this blog post.

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