How to Create a Happy Habit

BY Megan Murphy        November 9, 2016

A habit is that thing that you do almost involuntarily. It is an acquired behavior pattern that begins consciously until its continued practice turns it into something that becomes a part of your daily routine, that in time, is carried forth unconsciously.

I know it sounds a bit like a contradiction, however that’s the perplexity behind a habit.

Some experts say that it takes just seven days to create a habit. I have heard this often when starting an organized diet program. My coaches coax me into believing that all it will take is just seven days to create new eating habits that will transform my body and my life. While this may be true for some, this is a habit I continually struggle with. I classify this habit as forced. And what I’ve learned in my forty something years of life is that anything forced will become a habit that will not last. You must be ready for such change.

Because of this enlightenment, I decided to create an unforced habit. A happy habit that would inspire positive change and add value to my life. 

My happy “ever after” hobby turned habit

After years of feeling stuck, bored, and generally “bummed out,” I realized it was time for a change. Not a physical change, rather a change in attitude. I decided to create a happy habit, but honestly, I had no idea what that would look like.

Rather than remaining stuck in the “how,” I focused my attention on the “what.”

My “what” was an overall feeling of purpose, joy, and connection. I came up with a plan. I decided to begin each day by walking the beach while reflecting on the things I was grateful for. They could be major items, such as good health and a loving family, or gratitude for the small unexpected objects I picked up along the way.

Each time I found a heart shaped rock on my morning walk I felt such joy and gratitude that my mood immediately shifted. I saw this rock as a sign or divine message. I knew instinctively that I was onto something. I had found the key to my “how.”

By focusing my attention on the simple moments in my day that brought me joy in unexpected ways, I began to experience more things to be grateful for. It was the law of attraction in motion. This simple awareness turned into an “aha moment” and provided me with my “how.”

The Kindness Rocks Project was born!

I began painting and dropping inspirational kindness rocks for other beach walkers. Each time I anonymously drop a kindness rock, I feel a sense of joy and wonder. What impact will the rock have on another beach walker? Will it provide a moment of comfort to those searching for insight or meaning? How would it make me feel if I stumbled upon it?

Giving to others in this small, yet simple way has become my happy habit. One that I look forward to performing each day. Who knew?

Kindness is contagious!

People from around the world have joined in my hobby/habit by spreading small rocks of inspiration for others, on beaches, in schools, at churches and in parks. Through the mobilization of social media my daily habit has grown into a kindness movement! How cool is that?

By creating a positive change for yourself you can create a ripple effect inspiring others. When you connect with your purpose and act on your own intention you will draw a greater connection with others. For me, true happiness lies in that connection!

Here's how to create a happy habit:

  1. To initiate a new habit, you must start with a desire for change, and this begins with awareness. Ask yourself the question, “What do I want to change in my life?” Start there.
  1. Get clear on your intention. Ask yourself the question, “What do I envision my life looking like because of this change?”
  1. Now create an action plan. What is one positive action you can take that will assist you in carrying out this intention? Something that you can do, over time, that will be your action for change. Creativity counts here. Create a plan that you can relate to or one that resonates with you.
  1. Mindfully carry out that action daily. Consistency is critical to transform an action into a habit. Try implementing rituals, such as doing the action at the same time of day or in the same place. These will become cues that will make your action stick over time.
  1. In the beginning, set daily reminders for yourself. “Check in” on your progress. Whether it takes sticky notes, programmed phone reminders, or to do lists, make sure you remain committed to turning your action into a habit.
  1. Associate with good role models. Turn your attention to people who model the habits you want to mirror. It's okay to admire them from afar. Get curious about what traits they have that you admire.
  1. Get acquainted with the benefits your habit is providing you. Heighten your awareness around what emotions are coming up. How are you beginning to feel?
  1. Do it for yourself! This is all about you! It’s an inside job. Don’t worry about the opinions of others. In the words of Sheryl Crow, “If it makes you happy... it can’t be that bad.” Stay out of self-judgement... rather embrace your individualism. Who knows who you will inspire!

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Megan Murphy

Megan Murphy is a Mindful Parent Coach concentrating on raising strong women. She is a business mentor for SCORE, freelance writer, occasional traveler, Founder of The Kindness Rocks Project and Vice President of Flower Angels USA, a nonprofit located on Cape Cod where she resides with her husband, three teenage daughters and two giant dogs. 

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