5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

fulfilling

In this blog post, we talk about what a fulfilled life means, what is the difference between happiness and fulfilment, and what habits you should adopt to have a more fulfilled life.

What are the characteristics of a fulfilling life?

Asked what they want most from life, the majority of people say they dream of fulfilment.

What this means, however, differs for each one of them.

Most of us undoubtedly wish success in professional life, a success that will ensure an easier life and material comfort, both for ourselves and especially for our loved ones.

 If we are honest with ourselves, we may be surprised to discover that having a career, even the most successful, is not enough for us.

The truth is that the happiness we longed for can only come from our inner peace and fulfilment.

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

A happy life or a fulfilled life?

At first glance, it will tempt you to think that we are talking about the same thing here. 

A happy life = a fulfilled life. 

Well, as always, real-life proves that there are no universally applicable equivalents. And this is no exception.

Experiences can be related – the happy person can conclude that he also has a fulfilled life – but a happy life is not automatically the same as a fulfilled life.

For example, let’s see what makes us happy, but not fulfilled. What are the things that bring only happiness?

The feeling of well-being (i.e. being able to declare that you are well), the feeling that you are leading an easy life, a good state of health, the ability to be able to buy the things you think you need, the fulfilment of personal goals set in the short term.

You can live a fulfilled life in terms of your relationships if you follow and understand the Relational Dialectics Theory.

But what makes us feel fulfilled and not necessarily happy?

The dream of our future life, the pursuit of long-term personal goals, the feeling that we have time to think about the things that matter, reading or learning for pleasure, putting social relationships before professional life but also a professional life that represents us, a sex life considered satisfying, a sense of control over one’s own life or the right degree of contentment towards one’s own person.

What seems to predict the combination – rare but possible – of both?

The perception of one’s own life as rather a series of positive events, the lack of boredom, the feeling of integration (satisfactory relationships with others), the feeling that others appreciate us.

The above is highlighted by a study. There are also surprising things.

Who would have thought, for example, that cooking or watching TV falls into the category of “fulfilled life”?!

But if you think more carefully, both define you and require dedication (ie investment of life since I dedicate time to them).

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

Happiness is more about what we want or need. By contrast, fulfilment seems to be related to activities that help self-expression and involve other people

Actions that bring fulfilment often bring with them an increase in the level of stress, anxiety and they reduce the level of happiness.

If happiness is especially focused on the present, fulfilment needs to integrate both the past and the future, even if that means you’re not doing well in the present.

This makes it possible for past misfortunes to lower the level of happiness today but to become fulfilment in the future, most likely because we are meaning-seeking beings.

Although we use money and other cultural or social artifices to feel satisfied, happiness seems to come more from the feeling that our needs and desires are satisfied.

So it seems that the happy man is rather the simple version of homo-sapiens. 

However, the feeling of fulfilment includes more complex feelings and activities, including the ability to self-design in the three dimensions of time.

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

The secret of a fulfilling life is to channel all your energy not into fighting the past, but into building the future.

We all have a dream and imagine what it would be like to live the life that was meant for us.

But at the same time, few of us find the energy to get there and give up dreams, goals, ambitions, leaving the only regret.

Our excuse? We are too tired. 

It is true, but what drains us of power has nothing to do with our work to get there, but with what we do wrong in our existence. Daily.

It is so easy to find motivation again if you change these exhausting habits mentally and physically.

  1. Practice daily gratitude

Gratitude is the answer.

If you insist on thinking about what you don’t have, you will never be focused on future opportunities, right? 

So by changing your perspective and the things you focus on, you can change your whole destiny.

 A mind focused on positive things is involved in finding solutions and ways to achieve new goals.

Write this down on a post-it note where you can see it often so that your actions are constructive.

Don’t tire your mind with frustrations!

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life
  1. The biggest risk is not having the courage to take risks

The fear of failure is that rope that keeps pulling people back.

But failure also has a positive side: from such a situation you can learn what to do on the next attempt.

Take risks as many times as necessary until you succeed in what you set out to do. 

Think you’re in the kitchen and you’re trying a cake recipe for the first time.

Your mind should not insist on what that cake should taste like once it’s done, but on the steps, you need to follow in preparing it.

If it doesn’t work out, you’ll know what you did wrong and you will do better next time.

  1. Live your life according to your own values

It is impossible to have a fulfilled life if you constantly direct your actions depending on what others say is good or bad.

To always seek the approval of others means to model yourself according to what they want and to disconnect from your own qualities and needs. 

Play the game according to your own rules!

True integrity is doing what is right because you think it is right and not because you know it is expected of you.

Validate your own actions honestly!

  1. Treat people the way you want them to treat you

This is not the first time you have been given this advice, but it is a way of being that can improve your life.

How you treat the people in your life or the way you talk to them is the answer you will receive back.

Gossip and envy actually mean a huge amount of negative energy pouring into you.

You can’t hurt someone without hurting yourself in one way or another.

  1. Connect as much as possible with the power of the present

The present moment is the strongest source of peace and energy.

You can feel anticipated joy in fulfilling your desires and gratitude for past experiences.

And these attitudes are healthy provided they are practised consciously. 

Excessive focus on what will be or has been, it disconnects you from the present moment.

Activities in nature, exercise, meditation, dancing, sculpting, cooking or gardening, all these will keep you engaged in the present and will make you full of energy.

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

Self-fulfilling prophecy

Certainly, it happened to you to wake up one morning in a bad mood and say to yourself: “Today I’m having a bad day!”, to find out at the end of the day that it wasn’t indeed your best day.

If you have been through this, it means that you have experienced a prophecy that has come true.

It is when a person gives birth in his mind to a prediction that will come true, simply because he expects it to come true and behaves as such.

One of the classic examples of self-fulfilling prophecy is told in the Greek story of Oedipus. 

Oedipus’ father, King Laios of Thebes, is warned that one day his son will kill him.

To avoid this unfortunate fate, he abandons his child and lets him die.

However, Oedipus is found and then raised by adoptive parents.

One day, he consults the Oracle of Delphi and finds out that his destiny was to kill his father and commit incest with his mother. 

As a result, Oedipus abandons his adoptive parents to avoid this prediction but ends up killing his biological father in a fight.

And he later finds out that the man he killed was his real father and that his new bride is, in fact, his mother.

In their attempt to avoid their fate, both Laios and Oedipus made sure that the prophecy would be fulfilled.

This story of self-fulfilling prophecy has become a topic in both literature and film.

It is also a concept studied in psychology.

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

Psychologists have found evidence of the impact of our beliefs and expectations on results.

Especially when we are convinced that our predictions will come true.

Even if we are not clearly aware that we have those expectations.

A common example of a self-fulfilling prophecy in psychology is the placebo effect. 

The concept refers to the improvement of health, caused by the belief in the effectiveness of the “treatment” received.

What exactly is a placebo? It is a substance without known medical effects – such as sterile water, a saline solution or a sugar pill. 

Placebo is a false treatment that, in some cases, can produce a very real positive response from the body.

But why do people experience real physiological changes as a result of illusory treatments?

Placebo experiments have shown that faith plays a very important role.

Patient expectations play a significant role in the placebo effect.

Sociologist Robert K. Merton used the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” in 1948.

He observed that sometimes faith has consequences – causing reality to reflect faith.

In general, those who are at the centre of a self-fulfilling prophecy do not understand that it was their faith that caused the consequences they expected or feared.

It is a more unintended effect than inner motivation or self-confidence.

When we believe something about ourselves, we are more likely to act in ways that correspond to our beliefs, thus strengthening our beliefs and encouraging the same behaviour.

Similarly, when we believe something about others, we are likely to act in ways that encourage them to confirm our assumptions, thus strengthening our prior beliefs.

5 simple habits for a fulfilling life

Thoughts can change behaviours.

In a way, our own behaviour influences the probability of getting from others the things we want, the frequency with which we engage in self-destructive activities, but also the ability to make good decisions.

Conversely, our behaviour can affect others, especially those we pay attention to.

You should read a review of Can’t cope won’t cope to understand the meaning and importance of life.

Conclusions

In this blog post, we talked about what a fulfilled life means, what is the difference between happiness and fulfilment, and what habits you should adopt to have a more fulfilled life.

The secret of a fulfilling life is to channel all your energy not into fighting the past, but into building the future.

Please feel free to leave any comments or to ask questions about the content. 

Further Reading

Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting, by Dr Wayne W. Dyer 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Principles of Becoming More Flexible, Effective, and Fulfilled, by PhD Hayes, Steven

Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life, by Dr Anna Yusim

Fulfilled: The Passion & Provision Strategy for Building a Business with Profit, Purpose & Legacy, by Kathryn Redman  

References

Madon, S., Guyll, M., Scherr, K. C., Willard, J., Spoth, R., & Vogel, D. L. (2013). The role of the self-fulfilling prophecy in young adolescents’ responsiveness to a substance use prevention program. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(9), 1784–1798. 

Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting, by Dr Wayne W. Dyer 

Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life, by Dr Anna Yusim

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.