Eating healthfully is just once piece…
of achieving your greatest potential as a person.
Let’s break it down to what many researchers and personal development gurus call the “Essential” areas of having a well-rounded and fulfilled life.
Here is what I’ve compiled that are my Pillars of a Happy Life.
1. Find Your “Why”
By this, I mean find what motivates you to your core. Why are you in your job? What attracts you to your friends? What types of hobbies do you have?
2. Eat & Drink Healthfully
3. Get Enough Sleep
I can’t stress enough how important this is.
When we’re tired, our bodies can’t tell the difference between actual hunger, and hunger in order to stay awake. So we end up overeating. AND, typically end up drinking excess caffeine, which keeps us awake the next night. It’s a cycle that you need to break NOW.
4. Have a Good Relationship with Food
Stress eating, boredom eating, emotional eating, bingeing on something we’re feeling like we’ll never be able to eat again, none of it is good.
We need to create strategies for ourselves to get through these tough times, without using food to cope.
It’s of course a good thing to do to eat healthy, wholesome foods most of the time, but it’s also important to include some less-healthy foods on a regular basis if that’s something you really enjoy. Restriction can often lead to overeating and guilt.
5. Make Enjoying Your Life a Priority
As Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass (with the yellow cover - I’m sure you’ve seen it in the airport!) says: “It’s the people who make enjoying their life a priority who… enjoy their lives.”
We are all busy. It’s up to YOU to make enjoying your life a priority. You have the power to do this - not your boss, not your professors, not your mom.
Pursue a hobby, enjoy the moment, limit time spent on your phone, limit the TV you watch, get enough sleep, that type of thing.
6. Declutter Your Environment
Donate clothes you don’t wear and food you know you’re not going to eat. Keep your apartment and your desk organized and clutter free. You’ll be better able to think, breathe, and live. I promise :)
Need help? Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up is excellent (and now everyone is ON IT thanks to Netflix haha!), magazines with tips & strategies like Real Simple, and Instagram-famous organizational accounts like “The Home Edit” are great places to start for inspiration and how-to guides.
7. Prioritize What Products You Put ON Your Body
What we put IN our bodies (food & drink) matter a lot, but what we put ON our bodies matters too. Clean beauty is something I’m recently passionate about. By “clean beauty” I mean using beauty products that are made without harmful, chemical products - shampoos, lotions, makeup, etc.
Women on average use 12 products daily - and consume over 7 pounds of lipstick (in their lifetimes) with toxic heavy metals. Did you know that 80% of ingredients in beauty products have never been tested? And, in cosmetics, the European Union has restricted 1,400 harmful chemicals but the United States has only restricted 30?
It matters. It really does. It matters for your health now, and your future health.
If you want to get specific updates about clean beauty, get started HERE!
8. Move Your Booty
This does NOT mean that you need to take a gym class every day.
This DOES mean that moving your body - be it a walk or just some simple stretching if you’re just starting out or pressed for time, will help you in so many ways. Moving your body helps: declutter your mind, sleep easier, destress, relax, etc.
Make time in your schedule to do this. Schedule it into your day - getting off the subway 1 stop earlier to walk an extra 5 minutes home counts.
9. Visit the Spiritual Gym
No gym membership required :)
What I mean by this is connect with a higher power, or the universe, on a regular basis. Meditation, affirmations, and inspiration boards are my go-to’s.
Similar to exercise or working out, if you don’t “use it, you lose it” - which is why this section is titled “visiting the spiritual gym”.
10. Focus on Relationships, but Only with Important People
This does NOT mean that you need to keep up relationships with every single person in your life. As we age and really grow into the people we’re meant to be, we foster fewer, but deeper relationships, and that is normal and 100% ok!
Do make time to be with the people that are the most important to you - visit them, talk to them on the phone, send them birthday gifts.
11. Manage Your Money
paying off debt,
donating to causes you care passionately about, and
making purchases that contribute to your happiness and foster your good habits
I also like the Dave Ramsey envelope method for budgeting - put a certain amount of money into each envelope per week, and you CANNOT dip into other envelopes as the week comes to a close. Envelopes at a minimum can consist of: 1) groceries; and 2) fun (eating out, weekend plans).
12. Stop Being a Perfectionist - Done is Better Than Perfect
Something that’s made a big, recent difference in my life is “Parkinson’s rule” that generally states, the work will take up the time you allot it.
Meaning, if you give yourself a week to finish a project, it takes a week. But if you were given a day to complete it, it takes a day. Time is an illusion. It’s always there. WE choose how we spend it. You are in control!
13. Create Habits That Work for Your Personality
Everyone is different, and embracing what makes you YOU, as fast as you can, is one of the quickest ways you can live up to your full potential.
Habits are the backbones of our lives. Did you know we repeat 40% of our daily behaviors? If we can shape our habits to align with these Top 12 Pillars of a Happy Life, we can be our happiest, truest selves.
Some people rely on external accountability, “Obligers”; some people rely on internal accountability, “Upholders”; some people question all accountability, “Questionners”; and some people reject all accountability, “Rebels”. Which one are you? I’m an Obliger!
I talk about this more in this post - and what you can do about it to shape your habits to suit YOU.