Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Journey Toward Happiness

One of the New Year's resolutions that I made for this year is to be happier. I looked over my list of resolutions again today, and I thought to myself, "Okay - how exactly am I going to accomplish this?"

It's a pretty general statement to say I want to be happier. It sounds like a tall order, too. In thinking about it, I asked myself: What can I do to be happier? What will make me happier?

There are lots of things that can happen in our lives that bring us happiness. But sometimes we have to find happiness on our own.

If my goal this year is to be happier, I figured it probably won't just come my way through a series of fortunate events. I probably won't win the lottery, for instance. That would be wonderful of course, but I thought a plan to create more happiness in my life would be more practical.

I think doing the following would help us all reach a happier place:

Find things to be happy about.

Sometimes we can get pretty bummed out about how things are going in our lives. Maybe we don't like our jobs, or we have problems with a relationship. We may not feel like we have much that makes us happy. But by looking a little more closely, we can see that we do have lots of things to be happy about.

Make a list of the things that make you happy and the things that are going well. I started a list a long time ago that I've added to over the years. I just write down any little thing that I like or that I'm glad about. Like chocolate. Or more recently, the fact that in spite of my love of chocolate, I've dropped a few pounds. (I think it's all the snow shoveling!)

No matter what we may be going through in life, we can always find something to be happy about. Simply counting our blessings or looking around and seeing that there are positive things going on around us can make us happy.

Spend more time doing the things that make you happy.

Whether it's cooking dinner for friends, heading out to the golf course or curling up with a good book, just take time out to enjoy yourself more.

Spend more time with the people in your life who always make you laugh. Try to spread some cheer around to someone else who needs it. Giving to others and making them happy is a great way to make yourself happy, too.

Embark on a new journey of fulfillment.

Everyone has ideas about what would make them happier. A new relationship, a new career. We all have things we want to do, places we want to go. Often though we get stuck in a rut, and we don't go after the things we want, even though we would like to be happier.

We hold ourselves back sometimes in life. Maybe it's because we can't get motivated, or we have a fear of failure. Having a positive outlook and going after what we truly want could get us to that happiness, so why not try?

Trying something new or searching for something meaningful in our lives or just seeking out a more fulfilling career could make us much happier. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I'd like to do, but I feel like now is the time to act on it if I really want to try to be happier.

I think it would make me happy to know that I finished something or that I am on my way to where I want to go in life. The happiness would come from the journey.

Focus on the positive.

Banish the negative thoughts and focus on the good things in your life. Keep reminding yourself what a great person you are and that you deserve to be happy.

Certain things that make us happy may be hard to come by these days. But even if we can't have everything we want in life, or things aren't going our way, we can still find ways to be happy. The more time we spend with those we love and doing the things we love, the happier we can be. We can choose to focus on the positive; we can choose to be happy.

The journey toward happiness begins within ourselves.

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