Three Simple Steps Towards Happiness

Two of our most unique capacities as human beings are that we possess the facilities of self-reflection and freewill. This means we have the ability to look at where we are, where we’ve been, and decide where we want to go.

While this certainly sounds easy, the catch is if you don’t trust that changing your thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and actions will produce a change, then nothing in your life will actually change. Why? Because this lack of trust means you’re anticipating the same experience, and that anticipation creates the same emotion. This is the irony, as well as the proverbial hamster wheel, and if we don’t find a way to get off that wheel, then we’re headed for the same destiny, whether that’s repeating mistakes from the past or even moving towards a genetic destiny.

If freewill and self-reflection are the higher aspects of our humanity—aspects that lead us towards wholeness, oneness, and our individual greatness—the opposite of those qualities is the fact that whether our lives are great or whether they’re falling apart, we always seem to find reasons to be unhappy. You can take solace in the fact that it’s not just you—it’s actually the result of survival genes at play, the purpose of which is to anticipate the worst outcome so we have a better chance for survival.

But the choice is yours

What really demonstrated to me the fact that we do indeed have the choice, was when I had the opportunity to meet a lovely 97-year-old woman from the mid-west of the United States. I asked her what her secret to longevity was, to which she simply replied, “You know, I’ve always just been a happy person.”

“Were there ever any reasons for you to be unhappy in your life?” I then asked her.

“Oh yes, lots of them,” she replied.

“So is it fair to say you were more committed to happiness than unhappiness?”

She looked at me slightly puzzled for a minute, and then replied, “Yes, actually. That’s the truth.”

Lately I have been observing many people in this work being frustrated, impatient, angry, judgmental towards themselves, jealous of other people’s experiences, or fearful that the work they are doing is not actually working. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because when you see this side of yourself, you realize that it’s not the real you, which means you’ve brought awareness to the unconscious. In other words, you have now shed light on an aspect of yourself that you need to overcome.

The problem is, when you are in these lower-frequency states of being, you can only see or perceive things equal to the emotion that you’re experiencing. The more you live in this state, the more it’s almost as if you’re looking for, or creating a reason, to be frustrated. Either way, as you feed that feeling (which produces a set of chemicals in your body equal to that feeling), that kind of interaction between your internal and external world causes things to get worse. The result is that you become more frustrated, more fearful, and more impatient.

For many people, these feelings become a downward spiral. This is the program that we often talk about, yet few of us really possess the ability to stop it. With that said, here’s a simple exercise you can begin to incorporate into your life:

  1. Become aware when the program is running
  2. Stop the program
  3. Start again

Yes—it can be that simple.

Research shows that when you start making changes for yourself and doing certain things that are good for you, you’ll make more of the same choices. It’s this process of staying conscious and choosing happiness that makes all the difference in our lives. Even if you have to excuse yourself from a situation for a minute or two, these three simple steps can change the course of a conversation, a situation, your health…or even your life.



  1. Cathie July 21, 2017 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    The choice to choose doing this is fun as I experience the results
    It has added a richness that no money can buy
    It’s a happy beyond beyond
    And I Thank You everyday Dr Joe

    • Anu August 18, 2017 at 7:35 am - Reply

      What were the changes ??)

  2. Emese Lindstrom July 22, 2017 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Please explain to the general public clearly the difference between “Project Monarch” and the work you do to eliminate any confusion in the processes at hand in programming and outcomes. Thank you kindly!

  3. Neelofar July 22, 2017 at 7:56 am - Reply

    Trying.Still far away

  4. Susan July 22, 2017 at 9:05 am - Reply

    Simple but very effective 👍

  5. Susanne Tack July 22, 2017 at 11:22 am - Reply

    I started this work with Dr. Joe about 2 yrs ago. I want to heal a few chronic conditions. One of them is lack of money. So I am sitting and breathing and wishing and feeling….and it got better for amwhile, and it slipped back again. Leaving me quite puzzeled, since I was so good at doing all of the work involved.
    Just recently I discovered an underlying programm by becoming aware of my underlying thoughts. Which are about a hundret times a day: “I don’t have enough money for…. New sunglasses, helping my kids financially, going to the workshop in Bonn, going on a real good holiday, investing money into my business, paying old bills, …..etc
    As if everything I think is being pushed down by that. Ofcourse this is what I learned from childhhod on and relearnd during the course of my life, again and again… But I am greatful I found it. I’ve never been aware of it like this before.
    So this is how it goes:
    Becominge aware
    Loving myself anyhow
    Forgiving myself
    Starting the new program
    See what the universe has in store for me
    Feel joy at unecpected turns of events

    On we go!

    • Judith Lee September 2, 2017 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      Susanne Tack.
      Thank you for this beautiful , beautiful insight . You have know idea how you just affected me. I’m going to write this down , memorize it and paste it everywhere in my personal space.
      Once again

  6. Julie July 22, 2017 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    Thank You sooo much, so nice to have the process simplfied.Sometimes making these changes can just get too complicated.

  7. Leda Lu Muniz July 22, 2017 at 3:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you! .A simple reminder that leads to our great future effects.!Thank you so much!

  8. Iris Güniker July 24, 2017 at 9:16 am - Reply

    It is so simple. Why we don’t do it everyday, everytime 🙂

  9. Susie Parks July 26, 2017 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you! I needed that!

  10. debora rorvig July 26, 2017 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you! I just became aware of your books yesterday. Went right out and bought Breaking the Habit… Reading it had been like finding the missing puzzle piece!. I’ve been interested in Quantum physics for years, and how they work in Biblical miracles and faith. Your book has supplied the mechanics of the process for me! This morning I asked the field aka God to me…To send me butterflies as a sign. But I’ve been indoors all day with a sore knee. So I decided to view your website. There were butterflies on each testimonial! Then I come to your blog and… Butterflies! For me they represent metamorphosis and a sign that Yes! I CAN CHANGE! So excited!!!!

  11. kynsai July 27, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Thank you, Dr. Joe

  12. Renee Valentine July 28, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    I recently started interrupting my unproductive thoughts and re-directing my emotions. Seems too simple to make a difference, but the difference is real! Thank you, Dr. Joe. Your work has given me so much hope.

  13. Tina Faltermeier July 29, 2017 at 10:52 am - Reply

    It’s funny, I do awareness through mouvement also called Feldenkrais since many years and my teachers taught me to look at what works or functions well (in my mouvements but also in my life) rather then looking on things that are not working. The work I do with Dr Joe completes all this perfectly. Feldenkrais has already changed my perception so many times, the work with Dr Joe now enhances all this and brings it much further than I could have ever imagined. Wow, future c’ant wait to see you!-)) Thank you Dr Joe!

  14. Jo July 29, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

    As always an absolutely wonderful gift at the perfect time. Thank you.

  15. Pal July 29, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

    This is truly a grt reminder. I was suffering from post natal depression and anxiety. The day I accidently saw dr joe’s video, my life started changing. I am getting better day by day. I bought his meditations and I am hundred percent sure that those meditations changed the structure of my brain.. Thanku dr joe.

  16. Roger July 29, 2017 at 12:40 pm - Reply

    I am always aware when the (wrong) program is running, which appears to be most of the time these days, much to my despair, yet “stopping it” through meditation or dedicated focus only seems to be a “pause” in my case. It’s like being stuck in the middle of the ocean. I can close my eyes briefly and pretend I’m elsewhere, but every time I open them I’m still floating there. If the scene before me never changes, but rather seems to only be getting worse, how can I know if I’m getting closer to safety? Years of this work has produced no positive change in my life…my start/stop is more like Groundhog Day!
    Anyway, I’m a huge “Dr. Joe” fan!!!

    • Paul d August 28, 2017 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      Start swimming for the shore.

  17. Sherron Lewis July 29, 2017 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    Staying conscious; present is the key. I find that many traumatized individuals live out of a small percentage of consciousness due to the chatter of internalized violence, shame, neglect, etc. voices that torture them 24/7. When we become conscious these voices take a back row seat and peace and harmony can then be cultivated in the soil of our being. Our true and authentic being is summoned and the more we can be present, the more the mocking voices of the past submit, and eventually pack up their bags and leave. This enables a clearer reality of who we want to be; who we truly were before wounded parents and mentors distorted the image of me.

  18. Irene Besnard van Baaren July 29, 2017 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Irene 29 july 2017

    Thank you, Dr Joe, for the wonderful and rich weekend in Amsterdam!
    This text gives some simple steps to remind, every day again!
    I’m really grateful and my biggest wish is that all your work, all over the world, will lead to a better world!

  19. Shea July 29, 2017 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Great reminder on being present and making the right choice of happiness, even though by default we lean towards the negative. Maybe that’s why so many watch the news, that’s negative story after negative story. Have to snap out of it and find what’s right in the world. Raise the energy.

  20. Rose July 29, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    I want to feel satisfied in life yet loneliness, lack of love for others and meaninglessness of life sometimes catches me off guard and leaves me disconnected, dissatisfied and helpless.

  21. David Richards July 29, 2017 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    You make a lot of sense. It seems so obvious when I think about it, but I need to be reminded of the obvious.

  22. Georges July 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    I sometimes set an alarm to ring every 15 minutes reminding me to become aware of how I’m feeling, Then, I make it a point to bring forth a good feeling emotion and stay there. One minute sometimes two and I’m back to my life. I should do it more often because it really makes a difference. Thanks Joe

  23. Jan July 29, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Perfect ! This definitely hit home today.thank you for the reminder that it is my choice to make a change and be happy.

  24. Georgina July 30, 2017 at 3:36 am - Reply

    Thank you Joe! Your work and dedication has positively impacted me and have shared it with many others who are open and allowing to understand. The day you decided to make that choice to change your life has absolutely changed many people’s life and will continue to do so. I appreciate you and your work immensely.

  25. Luz July 30, 2017 at 4:26 am - Reply

    Thank you for reminding me that gratitude is the first step towards a Joyful future!!!!!

  26. rajan July 30, 2017 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Simple but profound! Be aware.. stop .. start again … because we can’t solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.Be conscious and run away from the toxic thoughts. Who is the boss? me.. or by thoughts?! Thanks for the reminder.

  27. Nicole Zimmer July 30, 2017 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Thank you, a timely reminder to stay aware and keep on doing the work !

  28. Gerda Arcangeli July 30, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    thank you so much for reminding, we all need that und it will be heaven to do the 3 steps more and more during the daily life HAPPY

  29. Daphna Weinstein July 30, 2017 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I was reading those words thiking to myself how simple and how helpfull. A short while after as the rain started following a little thunder storm, a little hedgehog and a butterfly passed by my door. I called my son to come and see the funny hedgehog. As I came back into my studio, i saw the white butterfly snicked in there already. I settled back to work and he came and sat on my shoulder!
    🙂 🙂 🙂

    thank you!

  30. Lynn Thompson July 31, 2017 at 3:09 pm - Reply

    Dr. Joe, You have a way of packing so much information into a short speech or article! Thank you for the reminder to observe out thoughts and actions and choose those that reflect the life we want.

  31. Erika July 31, 2017 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Hello Dr. Joe, as I read the article I knew you were talking to ME! I´ve had cáncer for 6 years, (breast cáncer with metástasis in liver and bones) I just went to your progresive workshop in Mexico and to the advance one in Cancun 2. I’ve been doing the work but sometimes I feel as if “my case” is to difficult to change it through meditation
    I know I am going to be fine, cáncer is going to dissapear but I need to be aware and don’t let myself go into that fear. I am a happy person, I live my life with joy and people don´t believe me when I tell them what I have because I live with all my will and I think I look perfectly healthy. I just want to know if you have a special advise for me or for that matter if anyone has, because I will be cáncer free I just need to never give up or loose my faith.

  32. Hadi August 1, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

    I am a big admirer of Joe. However, what I am struggling with is to stop the auto program. Just being aware that it is there is not letting me be what I feel and think. What do I do? Any advise? Thx!


  33. Hadi August 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Just realizing and being aware that the emotion and depression is there – does it help stopping the thought? I am struggling how to stop and change the thoughts/emotion. Any suggestion? Thx!

  34. ERNESTO August 3, 2017 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Hi Joe, it is very hard to apply this concepts in your life specially when you are over 70, but even harder it´s to know for shure that the the results known are not only de same, but even worst, therefore a change is a most.

  35. Brian August 5, 2017 at 5:48 am - Reply

    To be who you want to become, you must become who you want to be.

  36. Stephanie Bruce August 7, 2017 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    You mention in this piece that the “negative” feelings that come up when do this work, i.e., anger, fear, jealousy, etc. are “….an aspect of yourself that you need to overcome.” It seems that in many self-help/spiritual practices, while those who practice are encouraged to be honest and non-judgmental, here you mention things that need to be overcome. This seems to be one more element of striving to become other than what we are, rather than starting from self-acceptance. In fact, you seem to emphasize the necessity of one changing oneself in order to move forward. What exactly are people moving toward when they seek change? Is there a conflict between the idea that there is a need to change, and the idea that we are already perfect as we are in the present moment? I have spent my life striving, which never brought me lasting happiness. At the age of 65, I am beginning to understand the concept of radical acceptance, and it seems somehow a wonderful foundation for living. Will you address this?

  37. Cathy R. August 9, 2017 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Oooooh, so other people go through this too then? I thought it was just me. But that’s just the nature of the frustration I guess. I feel better seeing that other people are working through this, and I get encouragement from the solution offered here to get past it. The important thing I’m taking away from this is…..just keep going, keep working on it, don’t give up.

  38. Carlotta August 14, 2017 at 4:50 am - Reply

    Lovely information. Thank you for supporting 🙂

  39. Cari Corbet-Owen August 15, 2017 at 4:30 am - Reply

    I asked her what her secret to longevity was, to which she simply replied, “You know, I’ve always just been a happy person.” Happiness makes our cells sing, our immune system dance so that we produce health-enhancing hormones.

  40. Mounina Bouna Aly August 18, 2017 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    AWE I love this work! It is so empowering!
    So simple!
    Become aware i am running a program
    Stop the program
    Start a new life giving program
    Repetition is key to change!
    This work helped me receive the gift of MS! Thank you Dr Joe!

  41. Paul September 2, 2017 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    My Dad just passed away at 97 years old and this was his secret. He was always happy, singing a tune as he walked. He died sitting waiting for his breakfast with a smile on his face. He just closed his eyes. He was always at peace. This does not mean that he had devastating things happen to him (I lost my sister when she was 19 over 40 years ago), but he was able to turn that experience into a positive one by helping other couples that has lost a child. He chose happiness every day and always felt blessed. He had some health problems in his 30’s but chose happiness and his health got better as he got older. He was on no medication at 97. It truly works. Thanks Dr. Joe for this simple formula.

  42. Kathleen Shattuck September 15, 2017 at 7:35 am - Reply

    These suggestions can help many people! Thank you for your sharing. I began to adjust my life and I need to smile often.

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