Have you ever thought about being intentionally happy? I’m willing to bet most people never even consider being intentional when it comes to their happiness, or many other things in their lives for that matter.
People usually just “are” and then allow themselves and their moods to be affected one way or another based on everything external in their lives. When bad things happen, they are in a bad mood. When good things happen, they are in a good mood.
This takes the control over your moods and your emotional state, out of your hands.
If this describes you, fear not. I’m going to share with you something I’ve adopted in my daily habits for intentionally setting my happiness that has had a huge positive impact on my overall happiness, and hopefully it will work for you too.
When you wake up in the morning, what are your first thoughts when the alarm goes off? Are they of dread for the day to come? Are they about the things you don't want to have to deal with, don't want to face, or what you don't want to do?13
If your thoughts are consumed with the things you don’t want in life, that’s a great way to attract exactly that – what you don’t want.
Anyone who's ever owned a pool, or perhaps paid attention in 9th grade science class, learned about the PH scale and how it applies to water. On the far left end you have "0" or absolute acidity. To the far right, it’s counterpart absolute alkaline. In the middle you have neutral.
Well I like to use something similar I created that I call the happiness scale.
On the far left, you have absolute negativity, to the far right absolute positivity, and in the middle neutral. Mine is slightly different as instead of a “0-14” scale with 7 being neutral, it seemed natural to put neutral at “0” and to then value the negative end of the scale with negative numbers.
Here’s what happens when you wake up each day (when you're not already a positive person) and do not intentionally, mentally prepare your mind for happiness.
At best, you don’t really think about anything and you're starting off at “0” on the happiness scale – neither positive, nor negative.
At worst, you let your mind be controlled by what you don’t want to face, how much your job sucks, or what you don’t have in your life, and then you’re immediately starting your day off on the negative side.
Now what happens when someone cuts you off in traffic or you get a snarky jackass comment on your Facebook post and you’re already somewhere between 0 and -7 on the happiness scale? I think of it as getting bumped down the scale a few points, depending on the severity of the infraction.
So you were at 0, someone pisses you off, now you’re at -2 and in a negative mindset.
Had you gone through the exercise I’m about to share with you and intentionally set yourself on the positive side of the happiness scale (1 - +7), even if you did allow something negative to knock you down a peg or two, you might still be at a +1! And chances are, because you’ve set your intentions, what might normally really piss you off doesn’t bother you so much.
So how do we do it? How do we intentionally set our happiness and start our day off happy?
It’s very simple…be intentional! Start off each day with an attitude of gratitude.
Here’s what I do.
It starts the night before. Every night before I go to sleep, as I lay in bed I think about what I’m going to be excited about when I wake up. I actually walk through exactly what my routine is going to be.
I tell myself mentally, and this may change slightly depending on the time of year, “when the alarm goes off, I’m going to recite my gratitude statement, go wake the boys up, think I can’t wait to see my boys and shower them with love and affection before they head off to school, make them breakfast, pack their lunches, take my vitamins, make myself breakfast, get my coffee, and sit down at the dining room table and continue to work my jigsaw puzzle while I continue listening to [whatever Audible book I’m on].”
I literally walk through this mental thought process every night in my head. I think about what I’m going to have for breakfast and how much I’ll enjoy it (and it’s usually the same thing every day because then I don’t have to think about it). I think about getting to continue do the puzzle I’m working on and how much I love solving puzzles. I think about the book I’ll continue to listen to and how much I’ll get out of it.
I think about all the reasons why I'll be excited to get up in the morning. You see, the process for intentionally setting my happiness for the day starts the night before.
Then when the alarm does go off in the morning, this is exactly the routine that happens.
My alarm goes off, I turn it off, roll back over and say in my head, “thank you God for another glorious day in paradise. Thank you for all of our blessings, and thank you for allowing me opportunities to be a blessing to others. I’m so happy about and thankful for the awesome life I have, the time I get to share with my family, the crazy cool businesses I run, and how much value they bring to the world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
I then put my feet on the ground ready to conquer the world. I never ever snooze my alarm. I think this is a terrible habit and waste of time because it starts your day off resisting life.
That’s it. Like I said, very simple but incredibly powerful.
To be intentionally happy, think about how you’ll start your day the night before then wake up every morning with an attitude of gratitude ready to give to the world your unique value and be your awesome self!
Matt, along with his wife Amy Stefanik (The Entrepreneur's Wife®) is the creator and owner of GYMRATED®, an online fitness brand. He is also the co-creator of the Shopify Store Pro brand, and CEO of Ecomisoft, an ecommerce software company.