You may be able to feel happier with less effort than you think. We think we need a big change or a life overhaul but often it comes down to prioritizing surprisingly tiny habits. Because you may struggle with habit changes especially when it comes to doing things that simplify life or help you feel happier, I want to invite you to join me today at 7:30 PM EDT to learn a simple trick for effortless habit change. If you can’t attend at that time, still sign up and we’ll send you the replay.
3 Surprisingly Tiny Habits That Will Help You Feel Happier
What makes these habits surprisingly tiny is that you can practice them easily without a big commitment. You don’t need any special equipment or big schedule changes either. These new habits can significantly impact how you feel. Everyone is different, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the first one made you happier immediately, and you’ll notice a difference after a week or two of practicing the second and third habit (maybe even sooner).
1. Prioritize simple pleasures to feel happier immediately.
I look forward to waking up because I know there are a few simple pleasures waiting for me. When I make my coffee, I appreciate how it smells and how lovely it will be to enjoy it while I call my daughter to chat about the day. If you have a coffee or tea in the morning, or a breakfast you like, ask yourself if you consider it a regular part of your day or if you allow it to help you feel happier by seeing it as a simple pleasure.
To keep this new habit surprisingly tiny, start with the things that are already happening and pay attention to how special it is. Then, after a couple of weeks of turning your ordinary habits into simple pleasures, consider adding something new. As you can see, this tiny habit has the power to make you feel happier instantly.
2. Honor your bedtime.
This habit is surprisingly tinier than you think. If you struggle to sleep well, start with your bedtime. Are you going to bed at a reasonable hour or are you staying up in the name of doing, “one more thing” because it’s never only one more thing and it always takes longer than just a sec.
Start by setting a reasonable bedtime. I like 9:30 but if you are used to staying up later, choose something before midnight, and something that will allow you to sleep for 7 or 8 hours. Once you commit to a bed time, honor it. Even if you aren’t falling asleep right away, create the gentle practice of putting yourself to bed at the time you choose. Read or do something else that doesn’t require a phone, tv, or tablet/computer if possible. If you want to listen to a meditation or sleep sounds on your phone, that’s ok but no checking the weather or social media or anything else. Each morning, jot down a couple of words about what it felt like to go to bed on time and how you slept.
I know there may be some exceptions here, like if you work a night shift for instance but otherwise, leave the emails, tv shows, extra house cleaning and other tasks for another day. At first, you may feel a little frustrated especially if you struggle with Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. “We value productivity so much that we pack our days,” says Lauren Whitehurst, a cognitive neuroscientist and sleep researcher at the University of Kentucky. Revenge bedtime procrastination, she says, “is really a kind of commentary on [our lack of down time.]” It’s not about the inability to sleep – it’s about delaying sleep in an effort to assert some kind of control over your time (from this NPR Article).
3. Say “No thank you”
I don’t know who needs to hear this but you are allowed to say no or no thank you even when you aren’t busy. I don’t say “no” because I’m so busy, I say “no” because I don’t want to be so busy. Just because you have time or availability for something doesn’t mean you are obligated to say yes. You are the only one who can protect your time. Don’t create space so you can do more things (especially things you have no interest in). Create space for more life, for more being you.
While I think it’s clear how this habit can make you feel happier (less time doing things you don’t want to do and more time enjoying your life) but you may be wondering why it’s tiny? Saying no can feel hard. While there are simple ways to help, the way to keep it tiny is to keep it short. It’s when you over explain that saying no get’s complicated. Keep this habit surprisingly tiny starting with something or someone other than the hardest thing or the person who is the hardest to say no to. Practicing this habit won’t just help you feel happier, it will help you to trust yourself, to feel less overwhelmed and overextended. It will give you an opportunity to come back to you.
As I’ve simplified my life, I’ve realized that I need much less than I think to feel happy. And still, creating little boosts of happiness through tiny habit changes that often come with other benefits is always a win. In the cases where you aren’t aiming for a happiness boost but working through depression or grief, please ask for the support you need. Not everything has a quick fix.
The more you practice these three habits, the more comfortable they feel. When you practice healthy habits, like these surprisingly tiny habit you will feel happier. When you feel happier, you add a layer of ease to things that may have felt challenging before.
If you are tired of the same old ways of looking at how to change your habits, there’s another way to add ease to your efforts and I’m sharing it today on a live free call (because I’m tired of the old ways too). It’s a simple trick for effortless habit change AND I’ll answer any questions you have on the call. We’ll have plenty of time to talk about the changes you want to make too. Sign up here for the live call and/or the replay.