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 They say that people are creatures of habit.  I think the worst I ever developed was smoking cigarettes – I started when I was 16 and smoked on and off for 15 years!  Luckily I kicked the habit (=quit, stopped doing it) 2 years ago.


They say that old habits die hard, but I think it’s only the BAD habits that do that!  10 years ago I woke up every day at 5:30am and went to the gym to exercise before my job.  I also made a habit of going to sleep at 10am, so after I’d been doing it for a few months, it was easy.  Unfortunately, I’m out of habit now, and I find it very difficult to get up before 8am. 


According to author Stephen Covey, the 7 habits of highly effective people are as follows:

  1. Be proactive (=make things happen, don’t wait for things to come to you)
  2. Begin with the end in mind.  Make sure what you’re doing now is leading towards where you want to be.
  3. Put first things first.  Know your priorities and know when to say “No”.
  4. Think win-win.  Look for solutions that are beneficial to everyone.  Life is better as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  Spend more time listening and paying attention to others.
  6. Synergize.  Two heads are better than one, as the expression goes!  Seek creative cooperation and teamwork.  Value differences in others, and have an open mind.
  7. Sharpen the saw.  Continually improve yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and socially.


What good and bad habits do you have?  Which of these seven habits do you already possess?

How are you feeling today?  Are you on cloud nine (=very happy) or down in the dumps (=very unhappy)? 


Buddhism teaches us to strive for joy unaffected by our external circumstances, but for most of us, that’s not too easy.  Some people seem to remain in a baseline level of happiness with few disturbances to their peace of mind, and some – like me – seem to go on a rollercoaster of emotion every day.  I’m either over the moon (=ecstatic, extremely happy), blowing a fuse (=getting very angry) with everyone around me, or wallowing in the depths of my own misery (=being very sad).  Sometimes the variety of strong emotions I experience every day leaves me exhausted!


I’ve read a lot of books about happiness, two of my favourites being The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Ruiz says the four steps to happiness are as follows:

  1. Be impeccable (=honest, truthful, with good intentions) with your word.  Don’t lie, gossip (=talk about other people), or criticize.
  2. Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.  When you are immune to (=unable to be affected by) the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of unnecessary suffering.
  3. Don’t make assumptions.  Find the courage to ask questions. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.
  4.  Always do your best.  Remember that our best changes from moment to moment. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.


Do you think these four steps could help you?  How?  What do you think is the key to real happiness?