Recovery takes a lot of courageous work, but after your personal and spiritual growth takes place, your new outlook on life revolves around new habits, new values, new friends, and new dreams put into action.
That transformation certainly requires a powerful system -- choice and intention -- that will keep you aligned with your new goals and being the "new you."
The power of choice -- choosing the virtues and spiritual disciplines of life -- is what will keep you safe, productive, thriving, and in a state of joy.
The power of intention? It's having the willpower to get up in the morning, lay your head down at night, and know that you lived well and honored your best self today.
9 Habits to Get and Keep You There
Imagine the possibilities of a life filled with these simple acts of joy that can be done in minutes. Here's a life template to get started.
1. Choose the path of peace.
A peaceful person doesn't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow's already taken care of. Their state of peace allows them to pursue their dreams and purpose, even when the skeptics say they're crazy. Living in a state of peace, with full assurance of the end goal, blocks distractions that try to derail a person from his or her life calling.
2. Choose to surrender to the process.
Leadership thinker and author Mike Myatt brilliantly captured my thoughts about surrender in this article in Forbes, where he states:
"You'll rarely encounter the words leadership and surrender used together in complementary fashion. Society has labeled surrender as a sign of leadership weakness, when in fact, it can be among the greatest of leadership strengths. Let me be clear, I'm not encouraging giving in or giving up--I am suggesting you learn the ever so subtle art of letting go."
So surrender to the outcome, to something greater than you, and believe that things will work out according to your purpose in life. Be in the company of people you can trust in that process -- trusted advisers, colleagues, friends, and family who will support you in your journey.
3. Choose to be in healthy relationships.
This may be a stretch for some extroverts, but one must learn to be selective about whom to allow into their inner circle. Why? Because those close and intimate connections that you can go deep with are crucial to sustaining your happiness. Remember that 75-year Harvard study that followed 724 men from college to old age? According to one of the directors of the study, "The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period."
4. Choose to help others.
Famed Wharton professor and best-selling author Adam Grant says, "The most meaningful way to succeed is to help other people succeed." Grant has observed that great leaders think bigger than themselves and put other people first -- "inspiring a different kind of effort, a different level of motivation, and a greater sense of belongingness," says Grant. "The ones who tend to produce the best results, are the ones who are givers not takers -- who say 'look, it's not all about me,'" states Grant.
5. Choose kindness.
In the workplace, we don't think about such "soft" virtues like kindness making any impact, but the evidence proves otherwise. When companies create an environment of kindness lived out in corporate values daily, they will see a happier workplace and an improved bottom line. Research by Jonathan Haidt at New York University suggests that when co-workers watch co-workers help each other, it heightens a sense of well-being in me. This is something Haidt calls "elevation." And when we feel elevated by seeing an act of kindness, we are more likely to behave with kindness. Kindness begets kindness and spreads like wildfire.
6. Choose gratitude.
Positive psychologist Shawn Achor, best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage, says that giving kudos and saying thanks for a period of 21 straight days is the fastest way to train your brain to learn optimism and stay positive. He says two minutes per day will do it. Just choose a different person to praise each day. If you want Achor's full 23-minute morning routine for a more positive brain that will raise your performance level, I wrote this article specifically for you.
7. Choose to exercise patience.
Patience is a virtue I wish more people practiced. It helps you relax and rethink when things are snowballing out of control. Did that guy cut you off on the highway? Relax, take a deep breath, and consider that perhaps he's rushing to the hospital with his wife in labor in the backseat. Patience helps you see the innocence in other people during those really frustrating moments when you'd like fist to meet wall.
8. Choose to use the word "no" more often.
Truly happy people live a simple life. They have a simple schedule. They don't take on more than they can handle. They have strong boundaries around what comes into their life. And they have no problem saying no. If it doesn't serve you, if it has little value, and if it doesn't make you better tomorrow than you are today--just ... say ... no.
9. Choose to keep going.
Perhaps your story of tragedy is hair-raising. Death in the family? Bankruptcy? Drug abuse? Whatever the case, don't quit -- keep going. You've gotten this far, resist the urge to ever look back or quit now that you've tasted a piece of success. There may be some hard and painful bumps ahead -- more hard choices to make -- but don't throw everything away that you've worked so hard for at this stage of your journey. Fight the good fight, keep your eye on the prize, and surround yourself with your loving inner circle--the very people who've had your back and never stopped believing in you.