I always felt unfulfilled and unhappy in life, until I adopted these 9 new habits

I used to wake up every day with a pit in my stomach, feeling empty and discontented, as if life was a jigsaw puzzle with a piece forever missing.

Then I introduced nine new habits into my life.

It wasn’t about grand transformations or sudden revelations. It was about small, everyday changes that gradually shifted my perspective and fostered a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness.

In this article, I’ll share these habits with you. They’re simple, they’re practical, and they just might change your life the way they’ve changed mine.

So, if you’re feeling stuck in a rut or just need a little push to make your life feel more meaningful, keep reading.

1) Start a gratitude journal

Life often feels like it’s moving at a breakneck speed, with constant demands and pressures from all sides.

In this whirlwind, it’s easy to miss out on the small moments of joy and contentment that are scattered throughout our days. We end up focusing on the gaps, the things we don’t have, rather than appreciating the abundance that’s already present.

That’s where the habit of keeping a gratitude journal comes in.

Gratitude journaling is a simple practice that involves taking a few minutes each day to jot down things you’re grateful for. It could be a good cup of coffee, a compliment from a colleague, or the feeling of sunshine on your face.

The act of writing it down forces you to slow down and pay attention to the good things in your life. Over time, this shift in focus can lead to an increased sense of fulfillment and happiness.

So grab a notebook, find a quiet corner, and start recording your moments of gratitude. You might be surprised at how much there is to be thankful for.

2) Daily exercise

I’ve always been one to groan at the thought of exercise. The idea of waking up early and hitting the gym was more dreadful than exciting. But as I began my journey towards finding fulfillment, I knew health had to be a priority.

So, I started small. A 15-minute walk around the block every morning. It was nothing impressive, but it was a start.

To my surprise, I found myself looking forward to these walks. The fresh morning air, the quiet streets, the feeling of peace and solitude – it was a perfect way to start my day.

Over time, these walks turned into jogs, and eventually runs. Now, I can’t imagine starting my day without exercising.

Not only did I notice a physical transformation, but mentally and emotionally too. I felt happier, more energetic, and even more confident in my own skin.

The lesson here? Don’t underestimate the power of exercise. Even if it’s just a short walk each day, get moving. Your body and mind will thank you.

3) Practice mindfulness

In our fast-paced lives, our minds are constantly juggling a thousand things. We’re thinking about our to-do list, worrying about the past, or planning for the future. Amidst this mental chaos, we often forget to live in the present moment.

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing your attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. It’s about being fully engaged with what you’re doing, not lost in your thoughts or distractions.

Research has shown that practicing mindfulness can actually change the structure of your brain. It can increase the density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.

So whether it’s through meditation, yoga, or simply taking a few minutes each day to focus on your breath, incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can have profound effects on your well-being and happiness.

4) Embrace impermanence

One of the core tenets of Buddhism is the concept of impermanence. It’s the understanding that everything in life is transient, constantly changing.

We often resist change, holding on to things that are comfortable and familiar. But this resistance can lead to suffering and unhappiness.

Embracing impermanence, on the other hand, allows us to let go of our attachments and flow with the natural rhythm of life. It helps us appreciate the present moment, knowing that it won’t last forever.

In my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego“, I delve deeper into how we can apply ancient Buddhist wisdom to modern life. I talk about how understanding and accepting impermanence can lead to a more fulfilling, joy-filled existence.

So, why not give it a try? Start by noticing the small changes around you – the changing seasons, your growing children, or even the transforming skyline. Remember, change is not something to be feared but embraced for a more fulfilling life.

5) Be kind to yourself

There was a time when I was my own worst critic. I would beat myself up over every small mistake, every perceived failure. Not surprisingly, this constant self-criticism took a toll on my happiness and self-esteem.

Then, I started practicing self-compassion.

Self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness, understanding, and forgiveness that you would extend to a good friend. It’s about acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes, everyone has flaws, and that’s okay.

This doesn’t mean ignoring your mistakes or shying away from self-improvement. Rather, it’s about treating yourself with kindness as you learn and grow from your experiences.

Since I started practicing self-compassion, I’ve noticed a significant shift in my mental and emotional well-being. I’m happier, more optimistic, and I handle setbacks with much more grace.

So the next time you’re berating yourself for a mistake, pause. Take a deep breath. And treat yourself with kindness.

6) Cultivate meaningful relationships

There was a time when I was so focused on my career and personal goals that I neglected my relationships. I thought success and achievements would bring me happiness. But despite the accolades and accomplishments, something still felt missing.

It wasn’t until I started investing in my relationships that I realized what had been missing all along – connection.

I began spending more quality time with my loved ones, expressing my feelings more openly, and showing gratitude for their presence in my life.

One of the most memorable moments was a simple dinner with my family. We laughed, we shared stories, and for the first time in a long time, I felt truly present. That night, I felt a sense of fulfillment and happiness that no career achievement could match.

Remember, humans are social beings. We thrive on connection. So don’t neglect your relationships in the pursuit of personal goals. They might just hold the key to your happiness and fulfillment.

7) Embrace boredom

In our hyper-connected world, we’re constantly bombarded with information and entertainment. We’ve come to demonize boredom, filling every spare minute with scrolling, watching, or doing.

But here’s the thing – boredom isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be quite beneficial.

When we’re bored, we give our brains a chance to rest and recharge. It’s in these quiet moments that creativity often sparks. That book you’ve been planning to write, that business idea you’ve been mulling over – they all need space to grow, and boredom provides that space.

Moreover, embracing boredom can also foster a greater sense of peace and contentment. When we’re constantly chasing stimulation, we’re essentially saying that the present moment isn’t enough. But when we allow ourselves to just be, without needing to do or achieve anything, we cultivate a deeper appreciation for the here and now.

8) Define your values

Happiness and fulfillment don’t come from external achievements or possessions. They come from living a life that’s aligned with your deepest values.

But here’s the catch – you can’t live in alignment with your values if you don’t know what they are.

That’s why defining your values is such a crucial step towards a more fulfilling life. It’s about identifying what truly matters to you, what you stand for, and what you want your life to be about.

Your values might include things like kindness, honesty, creativity, adventure, or family. There’s no right or wrong here; it’s about what resonates with you.

Once you’ve identified your values, use them as a compass to guide your decisions and actions. When your life is in alignment with your values, you’ll find that happiness and fulfillment naturally follow.

9) Find your purpose

Finding your purpose is the cornerstone of a fulfilling life. It’s about discovering what you’re truly passionate about, what makes you come alive.

Your purpose is not just about what you do, but who you are. It’s about the impact you want to make in the world, the legacy you want to leave behind.

When you live with purpose, everything else falls into place. You’re not just going through the motions, but living a life of intention and meaning.

So take the time to uncover your purpose. It might be a journey of self-discovery, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

Final thoughts

Life, in its essence, is a journey, marked by peaks and valleys, joy and sorrow, fulfillment and emptiness. It’s an ongoing process of learning, growing, and evolving.

And the beautiful thing about this journey is that we have the power to shape it. We have the power to cultivate habits that enrich our lives, foster happiness, and lead us towards a deeper sense of fulfillment.

In my book, “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego“, I delve deeper into these topics. I share insights on how we can draw upon ancient wisdom to navigate the complexities of modern life.

But remember, real change doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires commitment and patience. It involves taking small steps every day, consistently and persistently.

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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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