If you want to get happier as you get older, say goodbye to these 9 behaviors

Getting older is an inevitable part of life, yet the journey into our later years isn’t always accompanied by an increase in happiness. For some, the passage of time can bring about feelings of regret, bitterness, or a sense that life’s best moments are in the rearview mirror.

But what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? That you can actually become happier as you age? The key, however, lies in letting go of certain behaviors that may have served you in your youth but are now preventing you from experiencing joy and fulfillment.

In this article, we will delve into those behaviors that need to be bid farewell to as we age. It’s about embracing change and cultivating a mindset focused on growth and positivity. Because, no matter how old we get, there’s always room for happiness.

1) Holding onto the past

As we age, it’s natural to look back and reflect on our life’s journey. However, there’s a significant difference between reminiscing about the past and being tethered to it.

Clutching onto past mistakes, regrets, or missed opportunities can create feelings of bitterness and dissatisfaction. It can prevent us from living fully in the present moment and appreciating the life we have now. This behavior can also lead to a fixed mindset, which hinders growth and learning.

It’s important to acknowledge that our past experiences have shaped us but they don’t need to define us. Letting go of the past involves forgiving ourselves for our perceived failures and understanding that every experience, good or bad, is a part of our lifelong learning process.

Saying goodbye to this behavior is like shedding a heavy weight. It allows us to move forward without unnecessary burden, making space for new experiences and opportunities for happiness.

Remember, our power lies in the present moment. By focusing on what’s happening now, we can make choices aligned with our values and aspirations. This is how we cultivate joy and satisfaction as we age.

2) Neglecting personal growth

Personal growth is an ongoing journey, not a destination. This is a lesson I’ve learned from my own experiences. As we age, it’s easy to fall into the trap of complacency, thinking that we’ve learned all that we need to know. However, this mindset can rob us of the joy and excitement of continuous learning and self-discovery.

Fostering a commitment to personal growth involves embracing new experiences, seeking out opportunities for learning, and continually challenging our beliefs and assumptions. It’s about staying curious and open-minded, regardless of our age.

This doesn’t mean that we have to be constantly striving for more or pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion. Rather, it’s about nurturing a gentle curiosity about ourselves and the world around us. It’s about recognizing that we are always evolving and that there is always room for growth.

By saying goodbye to complacency and fostering a lifelong commitment to personal growth, we can continue to find meaning, purpose, and happiness in our later years.

To quote Carl Jung, a renowned psychologist whose work deeply resonates with me: “The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” This embodies the essence of personal growth – continually evolving towards becoming our authentic selves.

3) Chasing after happiness

Isn’t it ironic how the more we chase after happiness, the more elusive it seems to become? Like a mirage in the desert, the closer we think we are to reaching it, the further away it appears.

The problem lies in turning happiness into a goal or destination. When we do this, we set ourselves up for a perpetual cycle of striving and disappointment. We tell ourselves that happiness lies just around the corner – in the next promotion, the bigger house, or the perfect relationship.

But here’s the truth: Happiness is not something we can chase or capture. It’s an inside job – a byproduct of living authentically, of nurturing meaningful relationships, and of embracing life’s challenges with a growth mindset.

In my video on “the illusion of happiness”, I delve deeper into this concept. I argue that it’s not about pursuing happiness, but about finding contentment within ourselves and our lives as they are.

I invite you to watch it here:

YouTube video

The journey to true contentment isn’t always easy, but it’s one worth undertaking. And remember, you don’t have to walk this path alone. If you’re interested in exploring life with more purpose and freedom alongside a community of like-minded individuals, consider joining over 20,000 others who have subscribed to my YouTube channel.

Simply click here to begin your journey.

4) Living out of alignment with your values

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters. We can find ourselves living out of alignment with our deepest values, chasing after societal expectations or external validation rather than staying true to ourselves.

This disconnection can lead to a sense of emptiness or dissatisfaction, a feeling that something is missing even when we seem to have everything we need. And over time, this disconnect can impact our happiness and overall quality of life.

Living in alignment with our values isn’t always the easiest path. It requires us to make tough choices, to sometimes swim against the current, and to continually check in with ourselves. It means being honest about what truly matters to us and then making decisions – big and small – that reflect those values.

One of the most empowering decisions we can make is to align our financial choices with our deepest values. This isn’t about accumulating wealth for the sake of it, but about using money as a tool for positive change – for ourselves and for the world around us.

When we live in accordance with our values, we cultivate a sense of authenticity, purpose, and fulfillment. And this, in turn, contributes to our happiness as we age. Because at the end of the day, a life well-lived isn’t measured by societal standards or material possessions, but by the impact we’ve made and by staying true to who we are.

5) Ignoring the power of self-awareness

Perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of personal happiness is self-awareness. It’s easy to go through life on autopilot, reacting to situations based on ingrained patterns and beliefs without ever questioning why we act the way we do.

But this lack of self-awareness can keep us stuck in unhealthy behaviors and mindsets, preventing us from growing and evolving. It can also lead to a disconnect from our authentic selves, leaving us feeling lost or unfulfilled.

Self-awareness is about turning the lens inward and examining our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It’s about identifying our strengths and weaknesses, our triggers and blind spots. This isn’t always an easy process – it requires honesty, vulnerability, and courage. It means confronting parts of ourselves that we might rather ignore or deny.

However, it’s through this process of self-discovery that we can start to make more conscious choices. We become more capable of responding rather than reacting, of making decisions that align with our true selves. And this leads to greater resilience, authenticity, and ultimately, happiness.

In one of my videos on imposter syndrome, I delve into how feeling like an ‘imposter’ can actually be a catalyst for authentic growth and empowerment. It’s about embracing our vulnerabilities and using them as a driving force for self-improvement.

YouTube video

Remember, self-awareness is a lifelong journey. But it’s a journey that leads to true personal freedom and happiness as we age.

6) Avoiding obstacles and challenges

When we think about happiness, it’s often associated with a life free from obstacles and challenges. After all, who wouldn’t want a smooth, trouble-free journey? But here’s the paradox: Avoiding obstacles and challenges may actually hinder our happiness as we age.

Life’s challenges aren’t roadblocks on our path to happiness – they are part of the path. Each challenge we face presents an opportunity for growth and learning. They push us out of our comfort zones, help us build resilience, and teach us valuable lessons about ourselves and the world around us.

Avoiding challenges or viewing them as negative experiences can lead to stagnation. It limits our potential for personal growth and self-discovery, which are essential components of long-term happiness.

So instead of running from challenges or wishing them away, embrace them. See them as opportunities to tap into your creative potential and find innovative solutions. Understand that every setback is feedback, an invitation to adapt, evolve, and become a stronger version of yourself.

As counterintuitive as it may sound, it’s through embracing life’s struggles that we often find our greatest joy and fulfillment. After all, a life without challenges isn’t a life fully lived.

7) Living life on someone else’s terms

As we navigate through life, it’s easy to find ourselves living according to someone else’s expectations or standards. Whether it’s societal pressures, familial obligations, or the pursuit of external validation, we can easily lose sight of our own desires and aspirations.

However, living life on someone else’s terms can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and discontent. It can rob us of our individuality and prevent us from fully expressing our authentic selves.

Saying goodbye to this behavior involves taking full responsibility for our lives. It’s about making decisions based on our own values, desires, and aspirations, not what others think is best for us.

This doesn’t mean disregarding the advice or opinions of others. Rather, it’s about listening to our own inner guidance and making choices that align with who we truly are. In doing so, we empower ourselves to live a life that is authentic, fulfilling, and ultimately happier.

8) Neglecting authentic relationships

In the digital age, we’re more connected than ever before. Yet for many, genuine connections and meaningful relationships seem harder to come by.

The pursuit of individual success or the busyness of everyday life can often lead us to neglect our relationships. We may find ourselves surrounded by acquaintances but lacking in deeper, more meaningful connections.

However, authentic relationships are a key ingredient in the recipe for long-term happiness. They provide us with a sense of belonging, mutual support, and shared joy. They enrich our lives in countless ways and provide us with a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Saying goodbye to superficial relationships involves investing time and energy into cultivating deeper connections. It’s about being present, vulnerable, and genuine in our interactions. It’s about valuing quality over quantity when it comes to our social connections.

Remember, no man is an island. We thrive on connection, and it’s through our relationships with others that we truly come alive.

9) Ignoring the call to serve

If a man uses these phrases in conversation hes trying to cover his lack of empathy If you want to get happier as you get older, say goodbye to these 9 behaviors

In a society that often equates success with personal achievement and accumulation, it’s easy to overlook the profound joy and fulfillment that comes from serving others.

Ignoring this call to serve can lead to a life that feels empty and unfulfilled, no matter how much we achieve or accumulate. It can leave us feeling disconnected from the world around us and starved of the deep sense of purpose that comes from contributing to something larger than ourselves.

Saying goodbye to this behavior involves shifting our focus from ‘me’ to ‘we’. It’s about finding ways, big or small, to make a positive impact on the lives of others and on the world around us.

This doesn’t necessarily mean making grand gestures or monumental contributions. It could be as simple as lending a listening ear, volunteering in your local community, or using your skills and resources to support a cause you believe in.

In doing so, we not only enrich the lives of others but also our own. Because at the end of the day, true happiness comes not from what we get, but from what we give.

The power lies in your hands

As we journey through the various stages of life, our experiences and perceptions shape us, often subconsciously influencing our behaviors and attitudes. Yet, the power to choose how we live our lives and how we react to situations always lies within us.

As we age, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that happiness is a fleeting or elusive state. But the truth is, our happiness is not dictated by external circumstances but by our internal mindset and actions.

The behaviors outlined in this article are not exhaustive, but they provide a stepping stone towards cultivating greater happiness as we grow older. From embracing challenges to aligning with our values, each of these steps carries the potential to significantly enhance our sense of fulfillment and joy.

Remember, change starts from within. As Viktor Frankl once said: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Are you willing to say goodbye to old behaviors that may be holding you back? Are you ready to embrace a life of authenticity and growth?

If you found these insights valuable and wish to explore more about living life with purpose and authenticity, consider joining over 20,000 others who have subscribed to my YouTube channel. Click here to embark on this journey towards a happier, more fulfilling life.

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Picture of Justin Brown

Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibly.

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