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Happiness, 6.15 (V) Week 6, Video 13 - The 7 Happiness Sustaining Strategies (2)

And so one of the very first things you wanna do is rather than frame your goals negatively, you wanna frame them positively. You wanna think in terms of actions you're going to perform rather than actions you're not gonna perform. So the question is what am I going to do instead of checking my email too often? How can I help myself to do something positive? What am I gonna do instead of smoking? What will I do with my hands? What will I do with my mouth? So, I'm replacing that behavior rather than just trying to stop myself. That's the first thing. The second thing that you need to do is to remember the environment drives your behavior, cuz the habits are really an association between the environment and the action you're gonna perform. So, one of the things that you really need to do is to influence that environment and in particular, to make desirable behaviors easy an undesirable behavior's hard. Now it seems simple, but we often do that. I mean, I lost a lot of weight years ago. One of the reasons is cuz I used to have these containers of ice cream that I would keep in my freezer and I would sit down at night in front of the TV with a big thing of ice cream and a spoon and I would just eat it till it was gone. And I made this remarkable discovery, which is you can't eat an ice cream that isn't in your freezer. So if you don't buy it, you can't eat it and those simple kinds of changes to your environment influence what you do and what you don't do. So if you wanna walk more often, then put yourself in a situation in which you have to walk more often. People who are driving somewhere, don't park closest to the store. Park at the first space you come to in the lot and walk across the parking lot. Put yourself in the situation where you have to engage more activities, because of the way the environment is set up. A third big thing is you wanna engage with people. We're a social species, we can't do anything alone. I mean, take the biggest, strongest, most powerful athlete you can think of. Put him up next to a bear. I'm betting on the bear every single time, because alone, we're really not all that impressive. But together, we're pretty amazing. And so if you think about all of the social things that influence our goals, one of them is this idea of goal contagion. If you hangout with people doing a particular thing, your goals are literally contagious. You will wanna do what they're doing. So hangout with people who are doing the behavior you want to perform and naturally, you're gonna join in and the other thing is don't be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people are a little embarrassed by the changes they wanna make or they feel like they have to do it alone, there's no extra prize. You don't get an extra gold star, if you change the behavior all by yourself. So give yourself a chance by asking people for help. Find out how did they do the thing that you wanna do and allow them to help you and then when you reach that GUI middle stage of changing your behavior, like in New Years a lot of times people will setup a resolution to change behavior. And for three weeks, they are great and then it just sort of falls off. And maybe if they had a goal to lose a certain amount of weight and they managed to stick with it, their motivation might kick back in towards the end. What do you do in the middle? One of the things you can do in the middle is actually to begin to serve as an advisor or a mentor to somebody else, because a lot of times if you've been doing something for a month or two months or three months, you've forgotten the amount of progress that you've made. If you can turn around and help somebody else, suddenly you begin to realize how far you've come and that can be really motivating. So in a lot of ways, if we change the nature of the goals that we're trying to achieve the focus on the positive one. If we change the environment, so that we're making desirable behaviors easy, undesirable behaviors hard. And if we engage with people, both by hanging out with the people who do what we want to do and learning from them and then serving as a mentor ourselves. We're doing a lot of things that we need to do, that will really help us to change behavior in a way that works with the structure of our motivational system. » So according to Art, there are for things that can help replace old habits with new ones. These four things form the basis for the second, third fourth and fifth strategies, which are second strategy is to frame your goals in positive terms versus negative terms. For example, make your goal, I want to be a happier, more fulfilled person, not that I don't want to be depressed. And frame your goals in terms of I wanna take internal control rather than I wanna be less controlling of others. We have already done this positive framing for you in the way the daily questions are phrased as you will soon see for strategy one, but you may want to remember the importance of positive framing for the other goals you set for your self as well. The third strategy is to alter your environment, so that it's easier for you to make happiness enhancing decisions. For example, put unhealthy snacks in difficult to reach places. We already talked a little bit about this in week number four. Likewise, if you know someone who makes you feel scarcity-minded, avoid them. Similarly, if you know that being out in nature Reinforces an abundance mindset, do that. In the reference section this week, you'll find a bunch of books and movies that help me to give the scarcity mindset, and reinforce the abundance mindset. Please take advantage of them, and also please share your own set of movies, books, videos, articles, and other resources with everyone through the discussion forum, so that all of us can benefit from this. The fourth strategy involves joining other seekers of happiness and fulfillment. As you may know we have Armando Sulsa, and Kim Conga, they've already started such a community for this course on Facebook. Which has close to 1,000 members as I speak. You might want to consider joining this group. You can also sign up to receive free emails from dailygood.org. Dailygood.org is one of those initiatives that my friend Nipun Mehta, the guy who helped start Karma Kitchen, helped found, when he and his friends recognized that few media outlets disseminate good news from around the world, of people behaving in kind, trusting, forgiving ways. Personally, I find that reading an email from DailyGood helps me reinforce the abundance mindset. Particularly when I go to work early in the morning, it's a good thing to do. Of course, in addition to being part of these virtual communities, it will be great if you also considered putting together a face to face group, and met with them, say, at once a week. Perhaps you can actually start a group like that in your own city if you have other people taking this course from your city. The fifth strategy is to serve as a mentor to somebody else, that is, to help someone else figure out how to go about leading a happier and more fulfilling life. Now, even as I say this, I also have to quickly mention that please be careful in implementing this strategy. Most people don't like to get advise from other people, particularly on happiness. I think that's because most of us have our own pet theories on happiness and we don't like to have those theories challenged. So pick and choose your mentees carefully. Close friends and family are okay, but if it's a colleague or a neighbor, I would think twice. So these strategies, two through five, that I just discussed, are based on what Art Martman covers in his book, Smart Change. In addition to these five strategies that I've covered so far, I'm gonna mention two more that I think you will find useful. The sixth strategy, is to continue to be open minded to new happiness enhancing habits and exercises for the rest of your life. As you know, open-mindedness is a very very important trait, that I stressed at the beginning of the course. An openness to new experiences is hugely important in any domain it turns up, but I think it's particularly important in the domain of happiness. It's very easy to get wedded to a particular idea, ] that I am this kind of person. I'm an introvert, so I can't do certain things like gratitude exercise. Or that I'm a kind of flow person so I can't hang out with status seekers. Although some of these identities, for example I'm a flow person, are better than other types of identities, like I'm a status seeker for happiness, all identities are ultimately somewhat constraining. So the more you believe that you don't have a set identity and that it can change into who ever you need to become, that is, you give yourself the freedom to evolve continuously, the more easily you will find that you are able to adopt new happiness habits and exercises. Here is Art Martman, talking about the importance of open-mindedness for leading a happier and more fulfilling life. » If you find yourself in a behavior pattern in which you're not experiencing much joy and fulfillment in your life, or not as much as you think you could, then there's no reason to believe that persisting in the same set of behaviors that you 're doing already, is gonna make you happier in the future. You're gonna have to make some kind of a change, if you want there to be a change in your internal set of feelings. and that is going to mean taking on a little bit of the discomfort of trying something new and recognizing, that until that new thing becomes familiar, it's gonna feel uncomfortable. You know, a lot of people who are on the closed to experienced end or don't want to try something will do it half-heartedly for too short a period of time and then say see, that didn't work, that was no fun. And of course it's no fun. The mere exposure effect that Bob Zine studied, shows that when you first encounter anything you don't like it very much. The first time you hear a song that's destined to become your favorite song of all time, you still don't necessarily like it all that much. Because it's new, and then after you hear it a few times, it grows on you. Same thing with a lot of the foods that we eat, and a lot of the people that we meet. You may not click with those things right away because they're new, but over time, the familiarity actually makes you like them better. And see you have to give these things a chance if you want there to be any opportunity to allow those new opportunities to make you happier. » As Art just mentioned, new things, for example, practicing loving kindness meditation, may make us feel uncomfortable. So we may not be willing to give them a wholehearted try. But once we get past that initial discomfort, It's quite likely that we'll find them useful because they have been found to be very useful for many, many people in all these studies.



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And so one of the very first things you wanna do is rather than frame your goals negatively, you wanna frame them positively. You wanna think in terms of actions you're going to perform rather than actions you're not gonna perform. So the question is what am I going to do instead of checking my email too often? How can I help myself to do something positive? What am I gonna do instead of smoking? What will I do with my hands? What will I do with my mouth? So, I'm replacing that behavior rather than just trying to stop myself. That's the first thing. The second thing that you need to do is to remember the environment drives your behavior, cuz the habits are really an association between the environment and the action you're gonna perform. So, one of the things that you really need to do is to influence that environment and in particular, to make desirable behaviors easy an undesirable behavior's hard. Now it seems simple, but we often do that. I mean, I lost a lot of weight years ago. One of the reasons is cuz I used to have these containers of ice cream that I would keep in my freezer and I would sit down at night in front of the TV with a big thing of ice cream and a spoon and I would just eat it till it was gone. And I made this remarkable discovery, which is you can't eat an ice cream that isn't in your freezer. So if you don't buy it, you can't eat it and those simple kinds of changes to your environment influence what you do and what you don't do. So if you wanna walk more often, then put yourself in a situation in which you have to walk more often. People who are driving somewhere, don't park closest to the store. Park at the first space you come to in the lot and walk across the parking lot. Put yourself in the situation where you have to engage more activities, because of the way the environment is set up. A third big thing is you wanna engage with people. We're a social species, we can't do anything alone. I mean, take the biggest, strongest, most powerful athlete you can think of. Put him up next to a bear. I'm betting on the bear every single time, because alone, we're really not all that impressive. But together, we're pretty amazing. And so if you think about all of the social things that influence our goals, one of them is this idea of goal contagion. If you hangout with people doing a particular thing, your goals are literally contagious. You will wanna do what they're doing. So hangout with people who are doing the behavior you want to perform and naturally, you're gonna join in and the other thing is don't be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people are a little embarrassed by the changes they wanna make or they feel like they have to do it alone, there's no extra prize. You don't get an extra gold star, if you change the behavior all by yourself. So give yourself a chance by asking people for help. Find out how did they do the thing that you wanna do and allow them to help you and then when you reach that GUI middle stage of changing your behavior, like in New Years a lot of times people will setup a resolution to change behavior. And for three weeks, they are great and then it just sort of falls off. And maybe if they had a goal to lose a certain amount of weight and they managed to stick with it, their motivation might kick back in towards the end. What do you do in the middle? One of the things you can do in the middle is actually to begin to serve as an advisor or a mentor to somebody else, because a lot of times if you've been doing something for a month or two months or three months, you've forgotten the amount of progress that you've made. If you can turn around and help somebody else, suddenly you begin to realize how far you've come and that can be really motivating. So in a lot of ways, if we change the nature of the goals that we're trying to achieve the focus on the positive one. If we change the environment, so that we're making desirable behaviors easy, undesirable behaviors hard. And if we engage with people, both by hanging out with the people who do what we want to do and learning from them and then serving as a mentor ourselves. We're doing a lot of things that we need to do, that will really help us to change behavior in a way that works with the structure of our motivational system. » So according to Art, there are for things that can help replace old habits with new ones. These four things form the basis for the second, third fourth and fifth strategies, which are second strategy is to frame your goals in positive terms versus negative terms. For example, make your goal, I want to be a happier, more fulfilled person, not that I don't want to be depressed. And frame your goals in terms of I wanna take internal control rather than I wanna be less controlling of others. We have already done this positive framing for you in the way the daily questions are phrased as you will soon see for strategy one, but you may want to remember the importance of positive framing for the other goals you set for your self as well. The third strategy is to alter your environment, so that it's easier for you to make happiness enhancing decisions. For example, put unhealthy snacks in difficult to reach places. We already talked a little bit about this in week number four. Likewise, if you know someone who makes you feel scarcity-minded, avoid them. Similarly, if you know that being out in nature Reinforces an abundance mindset, do that. In the reference section this week, you'll find a bunch of books and movies that help me to give the scarcity mindset, and reinforce the abundance mindset. Please take advantage of them, and also please share your own set of movies, books, videos, articles, and other resources with everyone through the discussion forum, so that all of us can benefit from this. The fourth strategy involves joining other seekers of happiness and fulfillment. As you may know we have Armando Sulsa, and Kim Conga, they've already started such a community for this course on Facebook. Which has close to 1,000 members as I speak. You might want to consider joining this group. You can also sign up to receive free emails from dailygood.org. Dailygood.org is one of those initiatives that my friend Nipun Mehta, the guy who helped start Karma Kitchen, helped found, when he and his friends recognized that few media outlets disseminate good news from around the world, of people behaving in kind, trusting, forgiving ways. Personally, I find that reading an email from DailyGood helps me reinforce the abundance mindset. Particularly when I go to work early in the morning, it's a good thing to do. Of course, in addition to being part of these virtual communities, it will be great if you also considered putting together a face to face group, and met with them, say, at once a week. Perhaps you can actually start a group like that in your own city if you have other people taking this course from your city. The fifth strategy is to serve as a mentor to somebody else, that is, to help someone else figure out how to go about leading a happier and more fulfilling life. Now, even as I say this, I also have to quickly mention that please be careful in implementing this strategy. Most people don't like to get advise from other people, particularly on happiness. I think that's because most of us have our own pet theories on happiness and we don't like to have those theories challenged. So pick and choose your mentees carefully. Close friends and family are okay, but if it's a colleague or a neighbor, I would think twice. So these strategies, two through five, that I just discussed, are based on what Art Martman covers in his book, Smart Change. In addition to these five strategies that I've covered so far, I'm gonna mention two more that I think you will find useful. The sixth strategy, is to continue to be open minded to new happiness enhancing habits and exercises for the rest of your life. As you know, open-mindedness is a very very important trait, that I stressed at the beginning of the course. An openness to new experiences is hugely important in any domain it turns up, but I think it's particularly important in the domain of happiness. It's very easy to get wedded to a particular idea, ] that I am this kind of person. I'm an introvert, so I can't do certain things like gratitude exercise. Or that I'm a kind of flow person so I can't hang out with status seekers. Although some of these identities, for example I'm a flow person, are better than other types of identities, like I'm a status seeker for happiness, all identities are ultimately somewhat constraining. So the more you believe that you don't have a set identity and that it can change into who ever you need to become, that is, you give yourself the freedom to evolve continuously, the more easily you will find that you are able to adopt new happiness habits and exercises. Here is Art Martman, talking about the importance of open-mindedness for leading a happier and more fulfilling life. » If you find yourself in a behavior pattern in which you're not experiencing much joy and fulfillment in your life, or not as much as you think you could, then there's no reason to believe that persisting in the same set of behaviors that you 're doing already, is gonna make you happier in the future. You're gonna have to make some kind of a change, if you want there to be a change in your internal set of feelings. and that is going to mean taking on a little bit of the discomfort of trying something new and recognizing, that until that new thing becomes familiar, it's gonna feel uncomfortable. You know, a lot of people who are on the closed to experienced end or don't want to try something will do it half-heartedly for too short a period of time and then say see, that didn't work, that was no fun. And of course it's no fun. The mere exposure effect that Bob Zine studied, shows that when you first encounter anything you don't like it very much. The first time you hear a song that's destined to become your favorite song of all time, you still don't necessarily like it all that much. Because it's new, and then after you hear it a few times, it grows on you. Same thing with a lot of the foods that we eat, and a lot of the people that we meet. You may not click with those things right away because they're new, but over time, the familiarity actually makes you like them better. And see you have to give these things a chance if you want there to be any opportunity to allow those new opportunities to make you happier. » As Art just mentioned, new things, for example, practicing loving kindness meditation, may make us feel uncomfortable. So we may not be willing to give them a wholehearted try. But once we get past that initial discomfort, It's quite likely that we'll find them useful because they have been found to be very useful for many, many people in all these studies.


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