This popular quote by Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur and motivational speaker, sums up the key to a happier life: "Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present."
In a recent survey, we discovered that three out of four people are worried about some aspect of their future. Although it can seem like a daunting task, it is possible to plan for a happier life.
With that thought in mind, we present six changes you can make now which may help you towards becoming a happier person.
In our poll, we discovered feeling secure with finances and savings was the number one factor that made people feel as though their life was sorted. Nearly a third of people polled agreed that their finances could do with more attention, while a similar number said money was the single issue causing them the most stress. If your outgoings are more than your incomings, you should look at budgeting to bring your finances back under control. This means you can plan for paying off debt and start setting goals for saving more money. In the long-term, managing your funds more effectively means you could eventually find it easier to get accepted for a loan or mortgage and less likely to get in debt again.
Travelling is a great way to expand your mind and find out more about who you are as a person. But did you know that just planning for a holiday can make you happier? A study by Dutch researchers revealed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a trip away. Even though one in four people said being able to go on lots of holidays was crucial to feeling life sorted, the same number of people admitted they didn't have a passport that is in date. Think about where you'd like to go, what you'd do on holiday, and see if it's possible to book an escape in the future. As a bonus, you may boost your well-being and quality of life in the process.
Health and fitness rated even higher than money and finance on the list of areas that people feel could do with more attention in their life. A study into what makes people happy found that healthy people have lower rates of heart disease, better immune systems and can live longer. The study's lead author, University of Illinois professor, Ed Diener, suggests: "avoid obesity, eat right, don't smoke, and exercise".
If now is the time that you plan to get healthy then a good diet is about balance and variety, providing the fuel we need to feel our best, followed by creating a manageable exercise programme. If this sounds daunting, remember that a good plan for forming new habits includes short and long-term goals and use of the support of your family and friends.
The Guardian reported that not staying in touch with friends and family is one of the top regrets of people who are dying. Even for introverts, scientific studies have proved that ensuring you keep in regular contact with your network of friends and family is important to how happy you feel.
Even though friends and family are considered important, our poll revealed that nearly one in five people feel as though their social groups could do with more attention. Do you have an old friend you would like to reconnect with? You might feel like it will be awkward, but most people are delighted to hear from an old buddy out of the blue.
If your home and mind is cluttered it becomes hard to find the path to happiness. We admit this probably sounds a little philosophical, but if you think about how good you feel after bringing a little order to your life, it makes perfect sense. Even so, less than half of the people we polled described themselves as 'definitely' organised.
Your mind is for creating ideas, not storing them. For this reason, writing down your thoughts can help remind you what you need to focus on and what you can disregard. To declutter your home, start by tidying your bedroom, ensuring you have a snug place to rest your head and get the recommended amount of sleep. And if you're looking for a place to keep important documents, try setting up a home office.
As the godfather of all masterplans, the five-year plan is considered essential to creating a strategy for achieving life goals and possibly finding happiness. We discovered that less than one in 10 people have a detailed five-year plan in place. Six out of 10 don't have one at all, while the rest have only pencilled in vague goals.
To create a five-year plan, start by thinking about what you want to change. Visualise where you want to be in five years, being as honest as possible. Think about personal goals, family goals and financial goals. Then, draw up a list of life changes you want to make, using realistic timelines. As you progress, cross things out as you accomplish them and don't worry about adding new objectives over time.
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