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12 Steps to Increase Your Happiness (Optimize Your Thinking-Feeling Habits!), 1 of 2

Commitment 2Are you waiting for happiness to arrive as a result of reaching a certain outcome?

If so, you may be missing a key point. A state of mind set on happiness is a vital fuel that creates more happiness — making the achievement of goals easier, more effortless, and and the best guarantees you’ll enjoy your success once realized.

Happiness is the way so to speak, not a goal.

To develop an optimal life-changing thinking-feeling mindset, let happiness to lead the way. This doesn’t men to ignore a situation that troubles you, or pretend it doesn’t exist. It means your ability to maintain an overall optimal state of mind and body, and keep healthy levels of confidence, gratitude and joy. Staying positive may not have an immediate effect on a situation you want to change, but it can have a profound and instantaneous effect on your mood and the quality of your experience, and thus the actions you take.

You not only have an inner ability to stop a bad situation from dampening your happiness in life — this is also the way to prevent a situation from getting worse.

In Part 2 we considered the concept of “flow” also known as being “in the zone” among athletes. In this post 

Below are 10 Steps or guidelines to optimize your happiness by cultivating a mindset for genuine happiness, which not coincidentally also parallels increases seeking and growth in wisdom. (By the way, seeking happiness without wisdom is a formula that leads to addiction, a pursuit of sensory pleasures that enslaves the mind, causes emotional and physical harm, and turns the body into a slavedriver.) Here are the first six:

1. Clearly see what you want to create and who you want to become.

To achieve your dreams, you must be able to vividly envision your desired results. See the outcome. You need a vision. In fact, this process is in effect 24/7, whether you choose to direct it or not. The cells of your body eavesdrop on your thoughts 24/7. Thoughts are a guiding light to your body’s mind, or subconscious. They produce images in your mind that shape your future by shaping your actions. Do you really want to leave this to chance, and produce images activated by negative thinking patterns, doubts, fear? Of course not. Embrace the beautiful responsibility you have to protect your mind from habits of doubt, blame, worry, and the like. Be careful what you think about. Thoughts are pure power. So … make sure you take time to articulate what you really, really, really want in life in general … and also do so for situations that pose challenges or distress. Ask yourself the following set of questions: How do you want your life to be? What do you really want out of life? What do you want to create and contribute? Most importantly, who do you want to become as a result of what you create and realize?

2. Visualize and imagine the steps to the outcomes 

Like a sculptor, the next step is to carve out a beautiful course or track to run on, to think with the end in mind. In response to your thoughts, your brain is constantly “serving up” images, sounds and feelings to your conscious mind. As you hold up the picture of your end outcome, set an intention to look for paths, ideas, steps that bring you closer to your goal. This develops your ability to vividly imagine both the outcome, and the actions and feelings of success, before they even happen in the physical world. You especially want to think of what’s the next step, or the next few steps to take, and see yourself taking them, easily and effortlessly. Reserve time to enjoy this reflective pondering, seeing the outcomes you want, enjoy your ability for possibility thinking…and feeling. 

3. Feel what you want to feel “As-If” its already yours.

How does it feel to envision this future for yourself? How do you want to feel when you create or bring this into your life? How does it feel to be the person you most want to become? When you resonate or “feel” what you want, how you want to be, you then feel more natural in taking the actions you want to take, saying the words you want to say, feeling the feelings, and so on.

See yourself, and more importantly feel…as if you already have what you aspire, that you already have the qualities and resources you need to succeed. For example, imagine that you are totally confident. Notice any changes in your breath and posture? Do you observe changes in how your breathe, perhaps more deeply. More likely, you are sitting or standing more upright, feeling your body and facial muscles more relaxed.

4. Know Your Purpose or Reasons – The Big “Why”

Knowing “What’s in it for me” is critical to getting and staying inspired to do your best.  So is knowing your purpose in life in general. Re-direct your moment-by-moment mental focus so that your purpose for going after your goal (or your purpose in life) is in front of you always.  So you’ll never again lose sight of why you’re going after your goal (or why you are here on Earth).

How motivated are you on a scale from 1 – 10 (ten being most motivated) to achieve your outcomes in each area? What are you willing to sacrifice, give up, change, do, etc., to achieve your outcome? What sort of person would you have to be in order to realize your dreams? What would you have to do step by step to make your dream a reality? What resources do you need? Who do you need to partner with to heal yourself, be trained, or coached by to realize your dreams? What actions would you take if you knew there’s no possibility for failure?

5. Focus On Benefits Of Reaching Outcomes

When you stay focused on why you want a certain outcome, why it is so important to you, you energize your enthusiasm. This sustains the momentum needed for reaching your goal. You stay motivated to achieve specific outcomes, and thus can consciously sustain the positive thinking-feeling for whatever period of time the task demands, perhaps months and years. You also develop consistency, a characteristic strongly associated with successful outcomes. So stay focused on the benefits of attaining your objectives to energize you with thinking-feeling states of enthusiasm and determination you need to realize what you envision for yourself.

6. Believe In Yourself and Your Abilities

To realize your desired outcome, you must wholeheartedly believe that you can achieve all that you desire. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. It means that you must believe that you are worthy of realizing what you aspire, and that oftens means having to deal with and replace any negative blocks or limiting beliefs that you’re carrying from past hurts and wounds. Confidence can create courage and increase determination.  Transform yourself into a person who is exploding with confidence to allow yourself to do whatever it takes to reach your goals.

Your self-image is what you  believe about you. It is a felt sense that is physical, you feel it in your body. Condition yourself to believe that you already are that person you are aiming to be. Feelings are physical. The self-image of you that you hold in your mind is the strongest (or weakest) aspect about you.  It dictates how well or poorly you do at everything. It also affects your health. Consciously picture and feel images of yourself that express in your heart who you are and how you want to be. Think and say words that most express your new reality. 

In Part 2, the remaining 6 steps.

12 Steps to Increase Your Happiness (Optimize Your Thinking-Feeling Habits!), 1 of 2

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2016). 12 Steps to Increase Your Happiness (Optimize Your Thinking-Feeling Habits!), 1 of 2. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Sep 2016
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