How to Live a Happy Life

How to Live a Happy LifeWe all want to learn how to live a happy life. I know I’ve been in pursuit of a happy life for as long as I can remember.

I’ve always wondered what it takes to be happy. As I pursued money, relationships, and success, I realized that happiness doesn’t come from the outside; it comes from within each of us.

It is something that is present all the time within you and me. Imagine the layers of an onion being your negative beliefs, thoughts, and fears.

As you peel away the layers (what you are not), you eventually reach the core (who you really are). We are all here to find meaning and purpose.

This is something I’ve discovered myself and it is something many of the personal development teachers out there talk about over and over again.

However, learning how to live a happy life is not about locking yourself in a closet and meditating for the rest of your life.

We as human beings are designed to set and achieve goals, so we need goals to feel fulfilled.

These are all a piece of the pie of living a happy life, but we have to keep in mind that it is not the external things that make us happy but what is going on inside of us.

With all that said, let’s look at nine simple steps on how to live a happy life.

1. Making the Choice

It all begins with the choice to be happier, to start studying the commonalities of happy people. What are they doing? How do they think? How do they face challenges?

Most people want something for nothing. If your life isn’t as good as you want it to be right now, you are the only one that can change it for the better.

You have to become clear about what you want in life, and who you want to be. You do not have to settle for mediocrity.

Almost every limit in our lives is set by ourselves. Most of the negative beliefs you have, you have learned from your parents, society, and friends.

They can all be eliminated. You can reclaim control.

Now, I realize that we can’t control everything in life, but you certainly can create a happy life if you choose to. Just look at the people all around you that are already living the life of their dreams.

It didn’t happen because they were lucky. And they did not inherit their happiness from their parents. They created it.

Here’s a short video where I share what I’ve found:

2. Taking Responsibility

You alone are responsible for your life. You may think you have valid excuses of why you’re not as successful or happy as you should be.

Your excuses don’t matter, because they won’t change anything.

Do you want to give your excuses the power of controlling your life? Or do you want to reclaim the power that you’ve always had and create the life of your dreams?

You can whine, blame, and make excuses all you want, but it will only keep you stuck.

If you look at some of the happiest and most successful people on the planet, you will see that most of them did not come from privileged backgrounds.

In fact, many of them had to face challenges in order to get to where they are. But the funny thing is that it wasn’t their problems or challenges that were the problem.

You see, all the drama and problems we face in life help us grow as human beings if we have the courage to face them and get through them.

3. Personal Development

Learning how to live a happy life is about learning how you work. It is up to you to take control of your own being.

By that I mean your thoughts, your health, and the path you are on.

You’re reading this article for a reason. You are here because your heart resonates with what I’m writing.

You know that what I’m saying is true. You can go after your dreams and you can make a living doing what you want, if you would just make the decision to do so.

If you truly want to supercharge your progress, focus on becoming better. The way I do this is by listening to personal development audio programs, attending seminars, and reading as many books as I can get my hands on.

The more information you have on what it takes to live a happy life, and the more you apply those principles, the happier you will be.

It really doesn’t get any harder than that. Learning how to live a happy life almost happens by itself when you make the decision that you are going to be happy.

4. Clear Goals

When you make the decision, the next step is to set clear goals of what you want to achieve in each of the main areas of your life.

The main areas in my life are:

  • Health
  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Personal Development

The way to set the most effective goals is to use the SMART criteria, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

But here’s the thing: Trust your own intuition as to how you want to use your goals. Do you want to review them on a weekly basis? Do you want to rewrite them monthly?

Don’t force yourself into any set formula. This is about you and your life. If you don’t want any goals, that’s fine, too.

The mere act of thinking about what you want will help you dive deeper into yourself.

Life is about going with the flow, but also about discovering that how you perceive the world determines your happiness.

5. One Step at a Time

Never underestimate how much you can get done by taking one single step each day toward your goals.

You can always focus on low value tasks, such as hanging out on Twitter, Facebook, and checking your e-mail, but that’s not going to change your life, is it?

Learning how to live a happy life is about taking control and focusing your mind on the tasks that have the biggest impact on your life.

For example, if you want to lose weight, you have to focus on changing your habits and beliefs, specifically around food and exercise.

You can play around with all the different exercise programs out there and plan your day, but if the above two factors aren’t in place, you will never make any progress.

When you set your goals, you know the direction you need to go in. You don’t have to know exactly how you will get there, but you do have to take one step every single day, or as often as possible to make it happen.

6. Consistent Action

Nothing happens without action.

If you can take consistent action in the right direction and by working on the most valuable tasks, you can accomplish anything you want.

Most people underestimate the power of focus, determination, and action. When you’ve found a goal that sets your soul on fire and makes joy dance through your veins, it will be impossible for you not to take action.

For example, my passion is to help people improve their lives and inspire them to go after their dreams.

This makes fireworks go off inside of me, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. When you adopt that kind of mindset, you can accomplish anything in the world. You can have success in life.

No excuses, fears, or obstacles can stand in your way.

It might take you years to accomplish what you want, but it won’t matter, because you will be doing what you love. It is the journey that matters.

The goal is just there so you have something to aim at.

7. Determination

When you have this kind of relentless determination, you will blast through your fears like a hot knife slices through butter.

It wasn’t until I got this fire inside me that I began making progress. Something funny happens when you make the choice to live a happy life.

It’s almost as if the universe conspires to help you. Learning how to live a happy life keeps coming back to the decision to actually do it.

Most people expect a fire to start without first putting wood in the stove. Your life will never be perfect, and the stars will never align.

The circumstances you need will not occur until you are ready to move. It is you who will have to take the first step, not someone else.

Here’s a short video on how I went from misery to doing what I love:

8. Following Your Passion

Most of us know what our heart yearns for, but we are afraid to go after it. It is often the thing you’re afraid of doing but desperately want to do that is your passion and purpose in life.

I remember a few years ago before I started this blog. I was afraid that I had nothing to contribute to the world with my writing.

I was afraid that I wasn’t good enough. As the years passed, I became sick of my excuses and negative thoughts, like a kid who stands up to his bully, I decided to stand up to myself and take action anyway.

I wasn’t going to let anything stand in my way of doing what I love. If people didn’t like it, that was their problem, I was going to do it anyway.

And as I started writing, dozens of people read and responded to my writing. And right now, tens of thousands of people read my content every single month.

The fears and doubts you have about going after your passion are unfounded. They are there to challenge you to see if you’re truly serious about living a happy and fulfilling life.

When you are ready to take that step into the unknown even though you are scared, your life will transform. There is a way for you to live a passionate life. I know, because I am living proof.

(Sidebar: If you don’t know what your passion is, you may want to check out my book Find Your Passion: 25 Questions You Must Ask Yourself).

9. The Truth

Have you ever seen millionaires and billionaires that are incredibly successful but amazingly depressed and unhappy with their life?

They have all the cars, houses, and material possessions anyone could ever want, but they are still not happy.

All the money in the world will only amplify what is already going on within you. If you’re unhappy now, money won’t make much of a difference.

When you realize that external possessions cannot give you lasting happiness, you have the opportunity to decide if you want to be happy or not.

Everything you’ve read in this article is but a piece of the whole. When you add the everything together, you get lasting inner peace, happiness, and purpose.

You are on a journey of self-discovery, like we all are. We are all where we need to be, learning what we need to learn, and going where we need to go at this point in time.

Wrap Up

In summary, you can live the life you want, if you will only decide to do so.

I know that it is scary, but I’d say that living a life full of excuses and fear is worse than going after your dreams.

So what if you fail?

The most successful and happy people in the world have failed over and over again until they discovered what they truly wanted to do in life.

If you will only make the decision today, your life will change. I guarantee it.

Photo by Stuart

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  1. Henri,
    I enjoy your writing about happiness and setting goals. Happiness is elusive to many because they never make the first correct decision and that is to be happy. I remember when I decides to make it my life goal to be happy, a remarkable life came from that one decision. I now enjoy a life of happiness and bliss. You are correct about reading and learning about creating happiness. The tools can be learned but then like you have written they must be used. I hope that each person reading this will make being happy your main goal because if you are pursuing happiness the rest of your goals will fall into place.
    Good article Henri. You are providing much for many with each seed of thought you plant.
    Health, happiness and a life of bliss,

    • Heya Lee,

      The more you learn and apply, the more you grow. And never underestimate the power of setting goals.

      Thanks for another great comment!

  2. Henri,
    This is a brilliant article – you write with such depth, passion and understanding that one can’t help but be inspired to make the decision to go after the life of their dreams.

  3. I am very grateful that God put people like you in the world, Henri, to encourage the rest of us onward. I have been reading your articles for a while now and they always help me. Thank you for being you! My own personal struggle is knowing what I want to do but having no confidence I will be able to support myself and two boys doing it. I have winnowed and pared our lives to bring our expenses as low as possible, and we live simple lives, so that is not the issue. Perhaps I have heard too often that one can’t make a living as an artist. So I find myself paralyzed at a crossroads, trying to decide whether to take a more financially profitable path (which includes work I am sure I would enjoy as well) or follow my heart and create for a living and a life. If I knew, positively, that I could support us as a maker, I would choose that path and never look back. I tell myself that if I follow my heart, somehow it will all work out. And yet in the back of my head is that whisper, “But….” If it were just me, perhaps it would be easier to take the leap of faith. Having two others dependent on me, though, that changes things. Would be interested to hear your, and anyone else’s who’s reading, thoughts…

    • Hey Kathie!

      Thanks a lot for the kind words. I truly appreciate it.

      That voice in the back of your head wants the best for you, but it is usually the voice of other people and the limitations they have forced upon you (to keep you safe).

      A great way to get started would be to get in touch with artists that are already doing what you do and ask them how they did it. There’s also nothing wrong with working at a job you enjoy and working on your at as well.

      Keep rocking, Kathie!

    • El Edwards says:

      Hi Kathie,
      Your comment really resonated with me. This line in particular: “If I knew, positively, that I could support us as a maker, I would choose that path and never look back” because I can totally identify with where you’re coming from. I used to be a massive certainty freak. I’d need to know how, why, when and where and if things had to be changed you’d better not spring it on me or I’d fall apart!

      But you can never know, positively or otherwise, none of us can. And I know that’s really scary but there’s nothing you can do to change that. Even if you decide to get a job that is more financially rewarding, what’s to stop the company laying you off in six months time? There are no certainties in life bar death and taxes (as the infamous line goes) maybe the best thing under the circumstances would be to do a risk assessment?

      Lay out a case for both options, pros and cons, and then weigh up the risks. There are no certainties but you can regain power over all this by choosing. Choose how much uncertainty you can deal with. Choose if the risk of failing as an artist is worth it. Choose to maybe find a middle ground where you work part time in a more financially secure job whilst building your art business up at the same time.

      But choose. That’s where your power lies.

  4. Great post Henri! There’s some great topics to think about and act on here. As usual, you’ve got me really thinking!

  5. Henri,

    I love the feeling of being myself without all of the baggage (layers) covering me up. This is our real essence and I am happy to see that others are removing their own layers of limiting beliefs.

  6. Great stuff here.

    I’m not big on setting goals – I need to work on that.

    My problem is I’m not sure what realistically to do about setting goals.

    Any advice there?

    • I have been planning a post on goal-setting, so there will be advice coming very soon!

  7. I believe passion should always come first. Simply because it fixes everything and it triggers every purposeful & joyful action. The energy & desire coming out from your passion can help you overcome any barrier and broaden your vision & awareness.

  8. Henri,
    Very thoughtful and insightful, thus powerful. A nice piece – thank you!

  9. Archan Mehta says:


    There are a lot of people out there with myriad problems. They have all the money in the world. They have diamonds, rubies, emeralds . They own fancy cars. They live in the lap of luxury. Daily, we are witness to their sordid saga. They are frustrated about life, do stupid and idiotic things, and land up behind bars. Without naming names, you already know who these people are.

    When the Beatles achieved glory: fame, fortune, romance–they still felt like something was missing from their lives. The world was at their feet, but deep down inside, there was a hole. So, they traveled all the way to India to meet a naked fakir in an ashram near the Himalayas.
    This sage provided them with the message they were looking for.

    In my case, I never found serenity until the day I started to meditate. My mind was like a wild elephant rampaging through the jungle. I found myself chasing after illusions and trying to be all things to all people. I followed a recipe for disaster. But meditation has provided me with a deep sense of bliss. That bliss stays with you no matter where you are or where you are not. It is a friend that never leaves you. We need to train our minds to go within instead of only without.

    Chasing after illusions is like a fool’s paradise. Like fools, we are always searching for our pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. What if I tell you : that pot of gold can only be found within. Travel within your own self often and you will find the treasure you have always been looking for. I thank you for writing this wonderful post and the timely reminder. Cheers to your life.

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