If you want to know how to be happy in life, quotes are one way to learn. The best quotes on how to have a happy life are succinct, inspirational and versatile in their meaning.
There are thousands of quotes telling you how to be happy. My favorite quotes focus on the three steps to being happy:
- Change your perspective.
- Don’t be perfect, be better.
- Take control over your life.
The first step relates to changing yourself and your thoughts before you take action. Thoughts and words seriously impact what you achieve. You can change your attitudes, empower yourself and be happy with only your thoughts and words.
The second step relates to improvement.
I struggle to be happy in life when I’m not progressing—I don’t like to stand still. I prefer to keep moving, learning and improving myself and the world. I don’t know how to be happy with life when I don’t matter and I’m not making a difference.
Moving forward in your life is an important step to being happy with life. This means trying again when you feel discouraged and learning how to do that when you need to.
The third step focuses on empowering yourself to make meaningful changes. You may want change, but it won’t happen until you feel empowered to make them happen.
Change your perspective
“Hatred is never ended by hatred, but by love.”
I was fat, obese and unhealthy. I hated my appearance. Every time I tried to change my diet or my exercise routine, I relapsed into my unhealthy and lazy habits.
Then I tried a different approach. Instead of trying to fix myself, I decided to improve myself. I made small changes to my life so I could be better.
I stopped eating certain foods because I cared about myself. I realized that I was hurting myself by eating junk food.
I began to eat healthier because it made me feel good. I didn’t force myself to eat healthy as a punishment. Rather, I ate healthier when I finally valued myself enough to feed my body healthier food.
Changing with love is one of the first lessons I needed to learn before I could truly grow and blossom. This quote applies to many areas of life. It applies to relationships with other people and your relationship with yourself.
I used to hate myself. I hated the way I looked and how I couldn’t control myself. I hated how insecure I was. I hated how I didn’t have any friends and wasn’t confident.
I didn’t just hate myself; I blamed myself and didn’t accept responsibility for my actions.
Blaming is like complaining—it points out a problem and doesn’t fix anything. I constantly had a ‘Poor me, why me’ outlook on life. Responsibility is like constructive criticism. Taking responsibility means recognizing a problem and finding a solution to fix it.
In everything you do in life, you must act out of love, not hate. Don’t achieve goals to prove something or make yourself good enough for another person. First, you need to acknowledge your flaws and make room for growth. Only then can you effectively resolve your problems.
You can’t keep hating yourself to improve yourself. How can putting yourself down help you rise up?
You need to believe in yourself and love yourself to truly shine.
“We don’t see things as they are. We see things how we are.”
I used to wish that I had never been fat. I regretted waiting so long to begin my journey to weight loss and health. I beat myself up for how long I chose to stay in the dark.
I used to believe the old me was stupid and weak. I was ashamed of her. I wish she had been able to see what I see now.
This mentality caused much regret, self-hatred and pain. Then I changed my negative perspective of the past into a positive one.
I used to think my past was black and white. I believed that the way I saw my past was the only way to see it. I thought there was only one way to interpret my decisions and my history.
Now I know differently. I discovered that I can change how I perceive my past.
If you linger on past events, consider changing your perspective and reinterpret your past.
Here are the top three benefits of my past experience as an obese person:
- I learned how to healthfully feed myself.
- I learned how to control my life.
- I met my husband.
If my past hadn’t happened, I’d be an entirely different person today. I’d be an over-worked law student who slowly gains weight as she secretly waits for a sign to control her life.
Realize that your interpretation of your experiences isn’t set in stone and events aren’t always how they appear. Realize that your first perspective isn’t the “right” perspective, it’s one perspective.
You can choose the best possible interpretation of your past. Change your past by changing your perspective and interpretation of past events.
Steps to Change Your Perspective, from Re-Create Your Life
- Identify the undesirable pattern (interpretation)
- Name the underlying belief
- Identify the source of the belief in memory, including as much sensory detail as possible
- Describe possible alternative interpretations of the memory
- Realize that your original belief is an interpretation, not reality
- Consciously choose to reject the original belief as “false”
- Consciously choose to accept your reinterpretation as “true”
“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realize how seldom they do.”
How often do you delay your dreams because you think somebody will disapprove? How often do you worry about what others think?
I did that all the time.
I sought approval from everybody around me. I was obsessed with making my family and friends happy, making sure they liked me. I loved to be told ‘good job’, so I did things I believed other people wanted me to.
As you can imagine, I was let down often. I didn’t get the praise that I wanted because everyone else in my life had their own lives to deal with. They couldn’t congratulate me every time I did something I was proud of.
Consider how often you’re wrapped up in your own life. You’re preoccupied with your goals, fears and struggles.
Everybody’s like that. Everyone’s focused on their goals, fears and struggles, which means they’re not likely judging you or what you’re doing right now.
Don’t be perfect, be better
“Don’t call a mistake a failure. Instead, allow your mistakes to become an opportunity to grow.”
“The process of winning is 90% learning.”
I’ve made many mistakes on my journey to being healthy. Each time I made an improvement to my eating habits, I thought I was healthy. But looking back, most of the foods I was eating were still unhealthy.
I used to consider the food at Subway healthy. Then I learned that Subway is unhealthy.
After that I switched to mostly vegetarian subs on whole grain bread. It was progress, but still unhealthy.
I started making my own school lunches from homemade (white) bread. Then I began to watch my calories, eat more whole grains and cook for myself. Next, I became active and ate more produce and less meat. After that I ate four different types of vegan diets.
The majority of those “diets” were unhealthy. But I learned at each step. All my eating habits failed to give me the perfect body. Yet each way of eating was a stepping stone to eating a truly healthy diet.
Did I make mistakes on my weight-loss journey? Of course, I made countless mistakes. However, I’ve learned from them. I learned raw vegan diets aren’t inherently healthy. I learned how unhealthy oil is. I learned the dangers of refined grains and added salt. If I hadn’t made all the mistakes I did, I wouldn’t know so much about health, nutrition and weight loss.
You can’t expect to be flawless. Expecting yourself to be perfect will only upset you.
You hate making mistakes—so do I. However, I’ve discovered the best learning opportunities happen when I stumble. Next time you make a mistake, try to find what you can learn from it.
Achieving goals is great. Yet the best part of achieving a goal is the road to getting there. Accomplishing goals doesn’t make you better, learning along the way does.
“Improve by just 1% every day and in just 70 days you’re twice as good.”
Recognizing that Subway isn’t healthy was a step in the right direction. Switching to whole grain bread was another. All the changes that came thereafter (less dairy, more fruit and vegetables, being physically active, becoming vegan) were all progress.
I’ve learned that meaningful changes require time. I’ve also learned that small changes may not seem like much, yet when they add up they make serious impacts.
I already told you my mistakes. And each time I made a mistake, it was a step in the right direction. When I altered my lifestyle, I stepped towards making myself better.
Small changes are beautiful because you can never run out. Even though I try to be, I’m never perfect. There’s always room for improvement.
Minor changes can make a difference. Culture has taught us differently: you need to change drastically if you want substantial results.
While drastic changes work for some, they don’t work for everybody. They’re usually overwhelming and confusing, which leads to giving up.
Small changes are manageable ways to gradually progress.
Control your life
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
I didn’t know how to be a vegan before I went vegan. When my time came (January 2013), I dove in without knowing exactly how I was going to do it.
I knew the basics of what I couldn’t eat. No meat, dairy or eggs—simple, right?
I didn’t know what whey, gelatin and isinglass were. I didn’t realize that some breads, marshmallows and candies weren’t vegan. I forgot about honey until my sister brought it up. Who knew there were animal products hiding everywhere?
The entire process taught me a lot about food, health and creative cooking.
I used to think that I needed to know how to do something before I could do it. Now I realize I don’t need to.
Stop worrying about being wrong to open yourself up to new, educational experiences. When you don’t have to know everything, goals become an exciting journey.
Plus, learning along the way usually leads to better and quicker results.
Just find a way to do what you’re passionate about. You may not know how to do it. That’s fine. Greatness isn’t created on the first try. When you don’t worry about making mistakes, you open yourself up to learn new lessons.
“In order to change the world, you have to believe that you can change it.”
When I was obese, weight loss was confusing. I told myself that losing weight was challenging, difficult and boring. I told myself I didn’t know how to lose weight. I prevented my own success by questioning my abilities and my resolve.
Then I empowered myself to change. I didn’t think I could change my food at home, but I believed that I could change the food I ate at Subway.
Ironically, Subway taught me how to control my life. When I realized I had control over one area of my life, I expanded control to other areas of my life. I began to work out and pack my own lunches for school.
Before I could act, I needed to believe I had control. I wouldn’t have been able to push through challenges if I hadn’t believed in myself. I would’ve blamed my problems on somebody else.
This reminds me of another quote:
Whether or not you think you can, you’re right.
Doubting or Believing in yourself becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Our words and thoughts have incredible power. When you think and speak negatively, you confirm your fears. When you think and speak positively, you propel yourself forward with positivity.
Do you believe that you have control over your own life?
I didn’t use to. Now I realize taking control over one area of your life empowers you to control other areas as well.
Believe that you have power over yourself. You can control your perceptions, feelings, thoughts and actions.
I’m not denying habits can be challenging to change. Yet each day is an opportunity to control your actions. When you feel like you’re fighting the universe, you’re often fighting a mental battle.
Achievements don’t just happen. You need to make them happen.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Taking responsibility for life is difficult. You can’t blame your failures on other people or on being unlucky.
There are things that you just can’t control. There are billions of people in the world who you can’t control.
Yet, you control more than you realize. You have countless decisions every day. You can change your own decisions (and attitudes, perspectives, thoughts and reactions). What you can change is often limited by your creativity, persistence and flexibility.
You can’t force others to change, though you can encourage and influence them.
One last piece of advice
“In general, we are least aware of what our minds do best.”
Humans are professionals at acting on autopilot. Most of the time, we don’t even realize it. We aren’t aware of the many small mistakes we make.
I didn’t realize how often I made cruel remarks about myself.
I didn’t realize I could reinterpret my past.
I didn’t realize that I made decisions based on what I thought other people wanted.
I didn’t realize I beat myself up for my mistakes.
I didn’t realize I can learn from my mistakes.
I didn’t realize small changes can make meaningful impacts.
I didn’t realize that saying impossible doesn’t mean impossible.
I didn’t realize I need to believe in myself to achieve my goals.
I didn’t realize I have control over my life.
What to do to be happy in life
Whatever your goals are, the first step is to stop living on autopilot. If you want to lose weight, start writing down what you eat. If you want to love yourself, recognize when you put yourself down and stop doing it. If you want to do something but believe you can’t, begin telling yourself that you can.
You are powerful. You are strong. You can do anything you set your mind to do.
The first step isn’t a physical one, it’s a mental one.