Independent financial advisors need to be self-motivated and focused to succeed. This discipline doesn’t apply just to our work, however. Being happy in both our personal and professional lives takes practice just like any other skill. A few weeks ago, I posted part one of this article, featuring several good habits to help increase your daily satisfaction. If you’ve already started incorporating those habits, here are a five more to consider.
1. Stop Dwelling on the Past
The past doesn’t define who we are unless we refuse to let it go. While we can’t change past mistakes, we can choose where to go from here. Be mindful of where you are now, and take notice of the opportunities before you. It’s easy to ruminate on what went wrong or fear catastrophic future outcomes, but this mental roaming can distract us from what is truly important in the present.
2. Be Grateful
Taking the time to be grateful for the good things in life can have a profound impact on one’s sense of well-being. Make a habit of taking a moment at the end of each day to list three things that you are grateful for. Writing them down in a gratitude journal will allow you to flip through previous entries and can serve as a nice reminder. In my family, we’ll do this exercise at dinner, going around the table to express “3 good things” from the day. This type of simple exercise can change your perspective overnight.
3. Accept the Things You Can’t Change
Inevitably, things won’t always go the way you’d planned. Many times ‘external factors’ influence your outcomes and you have no control over whether or not they occur. Trying to orchestrate the whole world will only lead to more anxiety and frustration. Instead of wasting your energy worrying about the things you can’t change, focus on the ‘internal factors’ you can control. Keep your head down and execute your plan knowing you can handle whatever comes up, and you’ll keep your spirits elevated (plus you’ll get work done!).
4. Focus on Life, Not Stuff
It’s easy to get caught up in wanting a new car or a bigger house. As you probably advise your clients, your time, energy, and resources will be better spent on enjoying loved ones, pursuing your passions, and engaging in rewarding life experiences. The trade-off between present accumulation choices and future security and satisfaction is a daily dance. Material goods will never bring you joy the way that community and self-care can, so take your own advice here.
5. Do What’s Important
Everyone procrastinates now and then, but if you find yourself putting off your most important tasks on a regular basis, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. Try setting a timer and tackling that difficult task for just 25 minutes. Getting started is often the hardest part, so you’ll have overcome the biggest hurdle already. If you continue to struggle with getting things done, try to determine why these projects are making you so anxious in the first place. Chronic procrastination doesn’t just steal your time, it steals your opportunities. For more advice on how to Love Your To-Do List, tune in for this brief webinar with expert Sonya Dreizler.
There’s no concrete recipe for happiness, but these habits can help promote a more rewarding career and personal life. They may not come easily at first, but with some perseverance, you can replace bad habits with good ones. Remember, even happiness takes practice.