A simple formula for living, with free printables.
We all have an idea of what brings us complete happiness. Material possessions may bring short-term satisfaction and joy. But experiences, relationships, and sharing our values with others are just a handful of the things that bring us true and lasting fulfillment.
If you're unsure of where to start or how to go about it, I have a simple formula for living that can make this more concrete for you, such as being kind to others, finding your purpose in life, and loving yourself for who you are.
You can download this handy, printable PDF so you can use it as a simple and quick guide. There's even a high-quality printable photo so you can frame it as one or pin it up like a poster. You can even click on any of the images down below so you can start printing them and start living a happier life!
What does it mean to live a simple, happy life?
I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. - HH The 14th Dalai Lama
The pursuit of happiness is nothing new. According to the Dalai Lama, the purpose of our life is to seek happiness. This pursuit dates back thousands of years and is rooted partly in philosophy and religion.
We, as humans, seem to have a natural inclination for it, since we're always trying to seek what brings us joy and pleasure. However, looks can be deceiving because it takes effort, practice, and time to create genuine & lasting happiness & simplicity in our lives.
While living a simple life and being happy will look different for each person, here are a few simple rules to live by to help you live a happier and more fulfilling life.
A simple formula for living a happier and meaningful life.
Live beneath your means.
Living below your means is spending less than what you make. It doesn't mean that you're depriving yourself of the things that you enjoy in life. Rather, it allows you to think about where you're investing your money. You can be mindful of how you spend your hard-earned cash without feeling like a miser by careful planning and being intentional about it.
Return everything you borrow.
Borrowing requires trust. There has to be trust in the borrower to take care of the thing that is being lent. And trust from the person who is doing the loaning. If you're the borrowee, be sure the item you borrowed is in the same condition you received it. If you break or lose it, offer to replace it because you don't want to create a rift between your friendship.
Stop blaming other people.
There are two sides to every story, which is why we need to stop playing the blame game. It's easier to point a finger at someone else rather than take responsibility for any discord in a relationship. The best thing to do is to catch yourself if you're ever caught in a web of blame, so you can change your perception around it and starting owning your mistakes.
Admit it when you make a mistake.
Speaking of mistakes, another game we need to stop playing is not admitting when we are wrong. It's hard admitting that you made a mistake because it makes you look bad. Admitting you made a mistake tells the other person that you care about them and you're willing to rectify the situation.
Give clothes not worn to charity.
Do you have clothes in your closet that you haven't worn in over 6 months or even a year? I know that I've done this in the past and the clothes just keep piling up. Give your clothes a new home by donating them to charity. It will leave room for only the clothes that you wear regularly and even make more room for new stuff to come in.
Do something nice and try not to get caught.
Doing something nice for someone else is great, but doing it without getting credit is even better in most circumstances. Not telling anyone about your charitable act comes from a genuine place because you're not doing it for the sake of looking good. You're doing it to truly help someone out.
Listen more; talk less.
Do you ever listen to someone talk, with the intention of coming up with an answer? Listening more and talking less makes the other person feel special and appreciated. It's important to not only hear someone out, but also to actively listen to them when they're talking because it builds trust and understanding in the relationship.
Take a 30-minute walk every day.
Sometimes when I feel unclear, stressed, or anxious, I take a walk just to help clear my head. You don't have to walk 7 days a week, but walking for half an hour most days of the week is beneficial for your health and can even help you sort out your thoughts.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Perfection is unattainable. It can cause you stress and anxiety if you're comparing yourself to others and is exhausting. The constant strive for perfection can be debilitating because it can lead to fear, uncertainty, and doubt in yourself and your abilities.
It's better to strive for your personal best, for excellence, rather than measure yourself with someone else's yardstick.
Be on time. Don't make excuses.
Showing up on time shows responsibility. It lets the other person know that you cared enough about them to be there when they requested. If you're late to something don't apologize unless you have a really good excuse.
Arguing is one-sided and it rarely ever changes the other person's mind. It can even escalate into something worse, like fighting. If you don't want to risk hurting the other person, don't argue. You can make an argument on paper first. Then if it's still bothering you, bring it up to the other person and talk about it with less animosity.
I'm not the greatest when t comes to organizing, but I love seeing my space neat and tidy because it helps me think clearly. If I have stuff lying all over the place it only leads to distraction.
So if you want to stay focused, get organized so you can keep your attention on the things that are most important to you.
Be kind to unkind people.
If a stranger is unkind to you, you can choose to forgive them and be kind because you never know what kind of day they just had. However, if someone has hurt you before, you don't have to reconcile with them, especially if they hurt you physically, mentally, or emotionally.
If someone has hurt you, you can take your time before you forgive them. It's your choice to be kind to them or to let them go.
Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
If someone cuts you off in line, it's easy to get angry. This has happened to me before and I've also been the one who did the cutting in line. If and when this happens, keep in mind that you don't know what their story is.
They could come from a culture where cutting in line is not seen as an offense. Or they could be having a horrible day; or they have some sort of disability that you can visibly see.
Take time to be alone.
Take some time to be alone so you can unplug and unwind because sometimes you need to disconnect to reconnect with yourself. These days, we're plugged in 24/7 to the internet and to the rest of the world; it's easy to get caught up in other people's lives while ignoring our own.
Being alone is not being lonely because you can feel lonely in a crowd of people or perfectly fine by yourself. Being alone means allowing your mind to reset and refocus.
Cultivate good manners.
Cultivating good manners is something that you learn from others, most likely from your parents as a child. This is elementary advice but not everyone expresses good manners, or at least not in the way you were brought up.
One way to do this is to ask questions, do research, and be curious about the way other people from different cultures and backgrounds practice good manners. A little information can go a long way.
No matter how talented you are, there is always someone who is better than you, so practice humility. This doesn't mean that you put yourself down or you become self-deprecating. It means that you have the confidence and security in yourself not to be boastful in front of others.
Realize and accept that life isn't fair.
Realizing that life isn't fair and accepting the world as it is can help change your perspective on things that are beyond your control. Things happen sometimes and it's not always your fault. This can help you embrace uncertainty so when it does come, you have a better sense of control in your life and you're left feeling like a victor rather than a victim.
Know when to keep your mouth shut.
There are times when you should speak up and times when you keep your mouth shut. While there's nothing wrong with having an opinion or being angry, it's best sometimes to release it somewhere else or at another time. If you're in the heat of an argument, you might risk saying something you might regret, so it's best to hold your tongue sometimes.
Go on an entire day without criticizing anyone.
Try to go a whole day without criticizing anyone including yourself. Criticism only begets more criticism and negativity. This might mean tearing yourself away from your social media outlets, the news, and anything digital for that matter.
Observe what happens when you're not exposed to people who ripping each other apart, even if you think that one of them deserves it. What you focus on grows, so wouldn't it be nice for a change to focus on something positive and uplifting?
Learn from the past. Plan for the future.
You can learn from your past but don't stay stuck in it. Being focused on your past keeps you there. It prevents you from moving forward in life and making progress. Instead, learn from your past and use this knowledge to help you focus on the present moment so you can use it to shape your future.
Live in the present.
You want to live in the present moment for the same reasons why you don't want to stay stuck in your past. Learn from your experiences and move on. You don't want to miss the important stuff in your life because you were too busy to notice the stuff that was flying just below your radar.
Don't sweat the small stuff. It's all small stuff.
This is the title of a book that was written by Richard Carlson, PhD. I read this book way back in the 1990's and it's still as relevant back then as it is today. Dr. Carlson discusses how easy it is to get caught up in trivial matters, which don't really add up to much in our lives.
In the book, Dr. Carlson challenges us to focus on the present moment and not to become attached to the small stuff that could be keeping us from growing and being happy.
Find your passions and purpose in life.
Your purpose in life is your big reason why. This is the reason why you get up in the morning and why you do what you do. It gives you direction, inspiration, and motivation when times get tough. Your purpose in life is important because it is the core of all aspects of our wellbeing.
Drop your limiting beliefs.
Your limiting beliefs are the things that you tell yourself that are holding you back. Some examples are:
- I am too old.
- I don't have enough experience.
- This will never work.
- I am unattractive.
- I am not smart enough.
Limiting beliefs are just perceptions. Make a list of your own limiting beliefs so the next time they rear their nasty heads, you can squash them and let them go.
Get to know yourself.
Knowing yourself is not just asking yourself what your favorite color is. It's a journey of self-discovery about your passions, strengths, weaknesses, how you see your future self, what you gravitate towards, your values, beliefs, what you stand for, and what it is that makes you tick.
This is essential because it allows you to live a life that is heart-centered. Knowing who you are can grant you access to a life that is meaningful to you because it's aligned with your core values and beliefs.
Do a random act of kindness.
Random acts of kindness are things that you do for other people or yourself. A little act of kindness goes a long way, too. The benefits are not just one-sided, it can be good for both the giver and the receiver. A smile, a small note, or a simple hello can be enough to make someone else's day.
Speaking of hello, sometimes you don't know how a person's day is going. Saying hello to someone else, even a stranger, may seem small to you but could mean the world to someone who is going through a difficult time.
It is a way to connect with others that is simple but very powerful. I learned this from 4 year old, who is super friendly and says hello to people he knows and even the ones he doesn't. People always reciprocate and the interaction always leaves me with a positive feeling.
Be kind to yourself.
Being kind to yourself is not always easy to do if you've heard negative messages for most of your life from others or from yourself. If you can learn to receive negativity, you can also learn to receive kindness. A small act of kindness can be great for your self-esteem and is as simple as saying something positive to yourself, treating yourself to your favorite drink, or writing something kind about yourself.
Living your life intentionally is being purposeful with how you think, act, and make decisions. Living intentionally means you're living your life the way you choose to, not what someone else told you or what you learned from others.
This is important because you become aware of what you are capable of and the things that are most important to you in life. Living life more intentionally can help build your self-confidence, self-esteem, and resilience.
Loving yourself means accepting yourself for who you are. It's not to be confused with being selfish. Loving yourself means you have boundaries and care enough about yourself to fill up your cup so you can be your best and bring your best energy to others.
Oftentimes, we tell ourselves we are not worthy of love and it might even feel foreign to you. If this is the case, start by simply holding your hand to your heart and say I love you to yourself. Really connect with this and keep practicing and see what happens.
Happiness is a choice, and so is suffering. Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer our destiny or to enjoy our destiny. To suffer, or to love and be happy. To live in hell, or to live in heaven. My choice is to live in heaven. What is yours? - Don Miguel Ruiz
The road to happiness can look unclear sometimes. Happiness is also relative. What makes you happy is relatively different from what makes another person happy.
This simple formula for living can help clear the way for you if you're unsure where to begin and how to get there, like being humble, not sweating the small stuff, going a whole day without criticizing anyone, dropping your limiting beliefs, living in the present moment, being kind to yourself and others, and loving & accepting yourself for who you are.
I hope this simple formula for living gave you some ideas on how to live a happier life. Do you have any tips you want to share? Let me know in the comments!