Being happy means having daily routines filled with a healthy mix of work, relaxation and time spent with family and friends is a great start to achieiving a positive and successful lifestyle. Then again, sometimes being happy is as simple as believing you are.

In the late 19th century, writers and philosophers had this hunch that the more positive a person’s thoughts and beliefs are on a consistent basis, the more positive outcomes they would realize in their everyday lives. It’s as if the universe picks up on the positive signals you send out and responds in the same way.

The idea that a person can attract positive outcomes in their lives became popular recently, when in 2006 the movie and book “The Secret” offered a fresh take on the law of attraction. Since then, authors such as Louise Hay have won the affection of business leaders and public figures who are wowed by the power positive thinking has on success. Now, science is starting to shed light on how personal happiness is impacted by the way you think and the company you keep.

Recently, researchers found that weight gain had less to do with a person’s genetic makeup and more to do with the network of friends influencing each other’s behavior. It turns out that obesity in this case was contagious, in that if one person became obese, their friends were nearly twice as likely to become obese as well. The belief is, if this is true of obesity, then happiness must work in a similar way.

In his TED Talk, Ron Gutman demonstrates how incredibly positive and contagious the affects of smiling can have on people. He shows that smiling is perhaps the only universally understood form of communication and a sign of positivity in all walks of life. He finds that smiling can even increase your lifespan!

Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology in the UK, was curious to know why it seems that some people are lucky and others aren’t. A range of people from different walks of life participated in his study by writing diaries, taking questionnaires and completing intelligence tests. He found that bad and good luck was the cause of a person’s thoughts and behaviors, even if they weren’t aware of it.

While this may not mean that you can will yourself to win the lottery, it does mean that the way you think about yourself and your surroundings is the most important part of leading a happy and successful life. You have control! The more positive influences you surround yourself with, the better opportunity you have to create good habits and reach your goals.

Here are some ways you can utilize the law of attraction is your lifestyle:

Write your desires down

Some call them love lists, others simply look at this as a pivotal part of goal-setting. It’s becoming more and more evident that physically writing down your goals with a pen and paper is the most effective way to turn positive thinking into positive outcomes.

Visualize your reward

Examples of the power that imagery has on reinforcing your belief in yourself and your goals are becoming more and more prevalent. It makes sense, right? If you ever question why you decided to create health or weight loss goals for yourself, a picture of your child or spouse will keep you from forgetting. If those long nights in the office are getting to you, hang a picture of the vacation spot you plan to go to with all of the money you’re making working overtime. Visualization is a key component to positive thinking.

Remind yourself of your goals

In order to get in the routine of thinking and behaving positively, researchers are finding that SMS texting is an increasingly effective way to make good habits stick. Programs like Caterpilly remind you of your Long Term Goals and encourage you to complete a Small Daily Goal to move you step by step towards success.

Be patient, not desperate

Just like with any type of behavioral change, it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the bigger the goal, the longer it may take to realize the force that positive thinking has on your life. The key is not to become desperate or lose patience, because this can be counter-productive.

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