8 habits of happy people who always move forward in life

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There’s a marked difference between people who are perpetually happy and those who aren’t. It all comes down to habits.

Happy people have certain habits that help them navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and positivity. They don’t just sit back and hope for the best; they actively move forward, embracing change with a smile.

Now, I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time studying happiness from a mindfulness and Buddhism perspective. And what I’ve learned is that anyone can adopt these habits to live a happier life.

In this article, we’ll explore the 8 habits of these happy, forward-moving individuals. Read on and you might just find your own roadmap to happiness.

1) Embrace change

In a world that’s constantly evolving, happy people are those who can adapt and evolve with it.

Change isn’t something to fear or resist for these folks. Instead, it’s an exciting opportunity—a chance to learn, grow, and experience something new.

Buddhism teaches us the concept of impermanence – that everything is constantly changing and nothing stays the same. And it’s in this acceptance and understanding of change where we can truly find happiness.

How many times have you found yourself clinging on to old habits, situations, or relationships, despite knowing they no longer serve you? It’s a common human tendency, but not one that leads to happiness or progress.

Moving forward in life means embracing change, not shying away from it. The more comfortable you become with the idea of change, the happier and more resilient you’ll be when faced with life’s inevitable ups and downs.

It’s not the strongest or most intelligent who survive, but those who can best manage change. And happy people have mastered this art.

2) Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the habit of being present, aware, and engaged in the moment. It’s about appreciating the here and now without getting caught up in worries about the past or future.

As someone who has devoted much of my life to studying and practicing mindfulness, I can tell you it’s a game-changer. It brings a profound sense of peace and contentment that can help you navigate life’s challenges with grace and positivity.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Vietnamese Buddhist monk, once said: “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

And he couldn’t be more right. When we’re truly present in the moment, we see the beauty in life that we often overlook. We become more grateful, more appreciative, and yes, happier.

If you want to be a happy person who always moves forward in life, start practicing mindfulness. Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few moments each day to breathe and be present, make mindfulness a part of your daily routine.

3) Accept suffering

Life isn’t always sunshine and roses. There are times when we all face suffering and hardship. Yet, the way we react to these challenges can significantly impact our happiness and progress in life.

Buddhism teaches the concept of ‘Dukkha’, often translated as suffering. But it’s not about being resigned to a life of pain. Instead, it’s an acknowledgment that suffering is a part of life, and through acceptance, we can alleviate it.

You see, a lot of our suffering comes from resistance—from wishing things were different, from struggling against the reality of what is. When we accept that suffering is a part of life, we stop resisting, and we start to find peace.

It’s not easy. It’s raw and honest and sometimes really tough. But it’s also liberating. Because when you can look at life realistically, when you can accept the good and the bad as part of the journey, you free yourself from the constant struggle for perfection. You open up space for genuine happiness.

Acceptance isn’t about giving up. It’s about facing reality head-on, with courage and grace. It’s one of the key habits happy people who always move forward in life have mastered.

4) Live intentionally

In a world that often seems to be running on autopilot, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle without ever really considering what we’re doing or why. But this is a path that rarely leads to true happiness or progress.

Mindfulness teaches us to live intentionally—to make conscious choices about how we spend our time, who we spend it with, and what goals we pursue.

Living intentionally means making decisions that align with our values and contribute to our overall well-being. It means choosing actions that lead us towards the life we want, rather than simply reacting to whatever life throws at us.

This isn’t about having a rigid plan or schedule. It’s about being present in each moment and making mindful choices based on what is best for us in that moment.

It involves saying no to things that don’t serve us and yes to things that scare us. But the result is a life lived on our own terms—a life that brings genuine happiness and constant forward momentum.

If you want to be a happy person who always moves forward in life, start living intentionally. Make conscious decisions. Be present in each moment. Embrace the power of mindful living.

5) Cultivate compassion

Compassion is a powerful force. It’s the ability to empathize with others, to understand their pain, and to genuinely want to alleviate it.

Having spent much of my life studying Buddhism and mindfulness, I’ve found that compassion is not just beneficial for the people you’re showing kindness towards—it’s also incredibly beneficial for you.

In my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, I delve into how cultivating compassion can lead to a more fulfilling and happier life.

When we show compassion, we’re reminded of our interconnectedness with the world around us. We recognize that everyone has their struggles, and this understanding can make our own problems seem less overwhelming.

Happy people who are constantly moving forward understand this. They prioritize compassion not just as a moral duty, but as a pathway to their own happiness and wellbeing.

Cultivate compassion—in your relationships, in your work, and most importantly, towards yourself. The more compassionate you are, the happier and more forward-moving you’ll be.

6) Let go of attachments

One of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism is the wisdom of letting go of attachments. This doesn’t mean that you should not care about anything or anyone. It’s about understanding that clinging onto things or people excessively can lead to suffering.

In our lives, we often become attached to material possessions, relationships, and even our own self-image. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying these things, the problem arises when we build our happiness solely around them.

The raw and honest truth is that everything in life is transient. Relationships end, possessions fade, and our self-image evolves. When we attach our happiness to these impermanent things, we set ourselves up for disappointment and suffering.

Mindful individuals who are consistently happy have understood this. They enjoy life’s pleasures without becoming overly attached to them. They understand that true happiness comes from within and isn’t contingent on external circumstances.

Practice letting go. Embrace the impermanent nature of life and find your joy within. It’s a challenging journey, but one that will lead you towards genuine happiness and continual progress in life.

7) Practice gratitude

Gratitude is a potent tool for happiness. It’s about recognizing the good in your life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.

The raw and honest truth is, it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong in our lives. We’re often quick to complain, slow to appreciate. But this mindset only breeds negativity and dissatisfaction.

Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” This beautifully encapsulates the spirit of gratitude—appreciating the simple joy of being alive and present.

Happy, forward-moving individuals habitually practice gratitude. They acknowledge the good in their lives, and this positive acknowledgment propels them to move forward, even in tough times.

Start cultivating gratitude. It could be as simple as thanking someone for their kindness, acknowledging a beautiful sunrise, or appreciating a delicious meal. The more you practice gratitude, the more you’ll realize there’s always something to be thankful for.

8) Embrace stillness

In a world that glorifies busyness, this might seem counterintuitive: Happy people who are always moving forward know the value of stillness.

Mindfulness teaches us that there’s power in stillness—in taking a moment to just be. It’s not about being idle or lazy; it’s about creating space for reflection and self-awareness.

In the rush of life, we often forget to pause and check in with ourselves. But these quiet moments can provide valuable insights into our thoughts, emotions, and desires.

Happy individuals understand this. They regularly carve out time for stillness, for mindfulness. They meditate, practice yoga, or simply sit quietly for a few moments each day.

These moments of stillness allow them to recharge, refocus, and move forward with greater clarity and purpose.

Counter as it may seem, if you want to keep moving forward, remember to embrace stillness. It’s not wasted time; it’s an investment in your happiness and progress.

Conclusion

Happiness and progress aren’t just about what life brings your way. They’re about the habits you cultivate, the mindset you adopt, and the choices you make each day.

Each of the habits we’ve discussed can help you live a happier, more forward-moving life. They’re not always easy to develop, but the effort is well worth it.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into these practices and understanding how they can transform your life, I invite you to take a look at my book Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego.

The journey towards happiness and progress is a personal one. So take these habits, adapt them to your life, and see where they lead you. Here’s to your happiness and continual forward movement.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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