Since I was little, I studied hard to get good grades. I was told to get good grades to graduate High School, so then I could get into college. I went to college to get a good job, so that I could buy a car, move out and create a life with my boyfriend. Over and over I was doing one thing in order to get to something else. I was always chasing the next thing.
It’s no wonder then, that I ended up burnt out and unfulfilled by the time I got married, bought a house, and had two dogs and two kids. This burnout though, was a blessing, as it finally led me on my personal path to clarity, ease and peace.
Now, I’m all about achieving results and reaching my goals.
It’s in my DNA to be this way. However, we can learn to enjoy the ride even during times of plateau (little or no change after massive action) through mindfulness practices and changing up our daily habits.
If we are to master anything, we must practice patient, dedicated effort without attachment to immediate results. This is difficult for most of us, as it’s not what we are taught. As parents, we are even doing this to our kids (without realizing it ) by asking them to go to school, get good grades, and so on and so forth.
We live in a world of instant gratification.
If someone said it would take at least 5 years to become a professional athlete, most of us would throw in the towel the moment it became ‘hard’ or we didn’t ‘see’ any progress. What we must remember, is that we can be making gains even though the results may be hidden from our view, or even invisible. Nowadays, we are trying to hack everything in order to see instant effects. We want to know the ending of the movie before it begins. We silently worry, “Am I on my way to becoming X?”
It sounds cliche’, but the JOY of life is in the journey.
All things become sweeter the longer we practice, right? For example, meditation, exercise, relationships – it’s when we are attached to a particular outcome that it gets complicated.
Creating new habits takes time. Commit to mastery and then be mindful of when you’re resisting versus allowing, doing versus being, and trying to intellectually ‘know’ versus trusting the process. These are the true attributes of detachment that make any trip worthwhile.
When you are aware of your beliefs and thoughts about success and happiness, you can begin to shift your experience from living as a reaction to life toward creating your own highly successful life. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
Take a moment to consider the possibility that success and happiness are not what happens to you, but what you get to choose in every moment of your life. You are unique, and the choices you make are infinite. This is why it’s important to have a clear vision of what happiness and success look like. Then, you must commit and hold yourself accountable to the required actions needed to create the life you really want.
One of the first actions you can take is to begin practicing impactful behaviors that will help guide you toward achieving your vision. Here are five practices that can be incorporated into a morning ritual or become part of a new daily practice. Try one or all of them, and see the difference it can make toward increasing happiness and success in your life.
You don’t practice meditation to get better at meditating, you practice meditation to get better at life. The opportunities that present themselves to you outside of meditation prove meditation is working. Meditation is the one way to access the Self, who you really are—the energetic being within you. By cultivating a relationship with the Self (your essence) through meditation, you stay connected to the attributes of the Spirit, which are peace, calm, and joy, to name a few.
The practice of meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Meditation is more than sitting down and closing your eyes. If you have never meditated or wish to deepen your practice, seek out a teacher in your area who can guide you. Thanks to technology, there are also meditation apps that can be downloaded to your computer or phone, which provide ways to learn from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few to check out:
The Ananda App
The Mindfulness App
2. Detach from the Outcome
It’s common to attach yourself to outcomes in an automatic and seemingly unconscious way. Notice where in life you are attached to the way something “should” be, whether that’s with people, circumstances, or yourself. By noticing when (not if) you are attached, you can consciously choose to detach, which frees you to:
Be your true self
Say what you truly feel
Allow others to be themselves
Detachment is freedom. This freedom is the “not knowing” or the field of uncertainty marked by:
It’s human nature to want to know how things will turn out. But, if you already know the ending, that’s no fun. Let go, detach, and enjoy the flow. Be surprised by what the Universe has in store, and delight in something even better than you could have imagined for yourself.
3. Move Energy from the Body
Over time, the body can accumulate stress. This buildup can lead to experiences of “feeling stuck” or “dis-ease” in the body. Thus, it’s important to have a regular practice in place to eliminate trapped energy from the body, allowing layers of stress to be released and restoring your body to a healthy state.
There are many effective ways to move stale energies out of the body and create space for the new, including:
Yoga (asanas or postures)
Pranayama (breath exercises)
Toning (using sound to remove blockages in the body)
4. Seek Out Laughter
The Laughing Buddha is a symbol of abundance and happiness. Having this statue in your home or place of business is said to bring prosperity and good wealth, while also reminding you to keep things light. When things get too serious, try laughing to bring levity to life overall. Choose to find the humor in everything—it’s there, you just need to look.
At least once a week, make it a point to watch a funny movie, TV show, or live comedian. This vibration of joy brings more joy to us—it’s the Law of Attraction!
5. Eat Natural Foods
You eat for energy and for your body’s vitality. If you put low quality gasoline in your car, how well does it run? This same concept applies to your body. The more attention you give to the quality of foods you eat, the better you feel. When you feel good and have ample energy, you are happier and more successful in life.
Every day, you are bombarded with information about what to eat, when, and why. This can cause more confusion and lead to giving up on trying to eat well altogether. Keep it simple, and try to eat fresh foods, preferably from a local grower or farmers’ market.
According to Ayurvedic teachings, fresh foods carry more life force, or prana, that can improve your overall health. By eating this way, you will notice that the more natural the foods consumed, the better you will feel. Feeling good is your intrinsic nature. When you feel bad, you are out of balance with your true spirit. As a common rule when choosing what to eat, avoid FLUNC foods:
While there is no catch-all recipe for success and happiness, by practicing these behaviors, you can begin to recognize how to create the life you want to live. All of your experiences are the result of your thoughts and beliefs. Be aware of the thoughts you are choosing every moment, and notice the beliefs about yourself which lead to the events in your life. Awareness of your beliefs (they can be subtle) gives you access to adopting new ways of being, or taking new courses of action.
You are a powerful Creator. Create happiness and success in your life by having clear intentions for the future, while having your attention on the present moment throughout your day. For it is in the present moment that the future is created.