These 10 Steps to Happiness Will Have You Smiling From Ear to Ear

By Dipti Goyal | Posted: August 20, 2019

"Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions." - Dalai Lama

Who doesn’t want to be happy? Every human is seeking happiness, but oftentimes only from the outside. Have you ever tried to find real happiness within yourself? And what is the true meaning of happiness? 

Happiness is something that can’t be found in material things or through other people. It’s our true nature, something that is always present within us: we just have to learn how to identify it. When I was chasing happiness in the outer world, I had no clue that it was already within me. I read a lot of books, practiced yoga and meditation, listened to motivational speeches, and finally came to the understanding that happiness was mine to claim. Here are some steps I followed to find this happiness! 

1. Set goals rather than resolutions

We’re all familiar with resolutions--maybe we make them at New Year’s or on our birthdays, or even at the beginning of the school year or the work month. Whether you’re looking to lose weight, save more money, hit the gym, or quit smoking, a lot of the time, we lose our grip and slide back within the first few days. The key to breaking the old pattern is to set realistic goals rather than unrealistic resolutions. These goals can be small weekly or monthly goals. Take baby steps to tick them off one by one, and you’ll feel more accomplished in no time. 

2. Adopt a healthier lifestyle

For most of us, the first thing we compromise on when the going gets tough is our health. We eat fast food because we don’t have time to cook; we sleep less because we’ve just got to watch one more episode of our favorite show on Netflix; we spend money on buying useless stuff but can’t seem to scrape together the money for a fitness class. Because of all these unhealthy habits, we compare ourselves with other healthy people and feel both stress and shame. I’m no stranger to this process. We have to change our daily patterns.

Start by trying to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, sleep at least 7 hours a night, drink more water, and add a bit of physical activity like a walk or a yoga class into your daily routine. When you achieve good health, only then will you realize that health is your most important gift. 

3. Learn yoga and meditation

I started my yoga and meditation journey a few years back. Before that, I always assumed that yoga was simply a mental practice, and that if I wanted to get fit, I had to hit the gym. But after a few months of practicing yoga, I realized that it was the most complete health practice I’d ever participated in. Gradually, my interest in yoga increased, and now, I can say that it has completely changed my life. Yoga not only rejuvenates your mind and body, but also relaxes your sensory organs and helps to make you a calmer person. Daily meditation practice improves your decision-making power and enhances your concentration. Our mental and physical health are tied, and yoga and meditation are uniquely designed to complement one another in an integrative system. 

4. Accumulate less

When I was doing my yoga teaching course, I read about the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Yamas, or rules for living, are the first limb of yoga, and within those rules is the concept of Aparigraha. Aparigraha is the principle of non-accumulation: the idea that we shouldn’t accumulate things that we don’t need, including things, thoughts, and emotions that don’t serve us. Part of pursuing happiness is trying to be a little wiser and track the unwanted, eliminating these things for good. 

Next time you go to buy something, stop and think about whether you really need that thing. If the answer is “no”, then don’t buy it! Your home doesn’t need to be a storeroom full of useless stuff. Try to spend money on experiences that enrich you, rather than material things!

5. Learn to say 'NO'

It’s human nature to say “yes” in order to please others, even if we want to say “no”. Research shows that this false pleasing habit can disturb your mental wellness. Practice the art of politely saying “no”.

6. Develop a habit of writing a journal 

Writing down our thoughts rather than obsessing over them can help relax the mind. Most people don’t write because they think that they don’t have the talent or skill, and because they fear that someone else will read their thoughts. You have the power to overcome those negative thoughts and just write whatever comes, rather than thinking about the consequences. Writing a journal is a healthy practice for those who feel unable to express their feelings in front of others. It helps you fully express yourself without the fear of being judged, and gradually, it also helps you articulate your feelings to others. By writing down your thoughts and returning to them later, you can become more aware of your thought patterns and how quickly your mind shfits from one thought to another. Start writing today to move towards a happier life!

7. Meet old friends

So much of our social lives are lived online. But technology has actually created wider gaps in our relationships, rather than connecting us. Once, I talked to my father about this virtual world, and he told me that he met with his friends and made plans together to do something, but now friends plan to meet. It's ironic: if I want to talk to my friend, first I have to check if they are online to talk. To change this friendship pattern, we all should decide to stop giving excuses and make an effort to meet up with those old friends who mean a lot to us. 

8. Follow your passion

Everyone has a passion. Some already know what theirs is, and some are still searching. When you do what you love to do, your happiness level doubles. When I was in the corporate sector, I was always searching for my passion. When I realized that yoga was my reason for being, I quit my full-time job and started practicing yoga full-time. Now I can say that following my passion was not as difficult as I thought it would be: all I had to do was take a single step, and the rest of the world settled around me. 

9. Worry less about what others think

Our actions, decisions, and lifestyles are all so dependent on what we think others think of us. You don’t always need to please others, however: you should do whatever you like to do, and enjoy your life to the fullest without guilt or shame.

10. Love yourself

Loving ourselves is not that hard, but it’s something that we so often fail to do. We expect love from others, but we behave poorly towards ourselves. To love ourselves first, we have to accept ourselves for who we really are. Stop judging yourself and start caring for yourself, and then you will see that you are happier than ever. 

Your journey to happiness can be accelerated and supported through the Happiness Program, a course designed to equip you with easy tools to help you maintain peace and equanimity and discover joy no matter the circumstances of your life. Through meditation, breathwork, yoga, and practical wisdom, learn how to be happy for good. 

Happiness is within your reach! It’s so much simpler than you may think. Give yourself time, love, and patience, and discover the happiness that already exists within you.

Dipti Goyal is a lifestyle blogger who writes about her life experiences, responsible travel, yoga, health, and motivation. A full-time writer and yogi, Dipti wants to make memories around the world. You can follow her on Instagram.


Art of Living Part 1 course: Discover Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ancient secret to modern well-being.

Subscribe to Art of Living Blog Digest