Thursday, December 30, 2010

Six Ways to Be Happier in the New Year

Every year I make a few New Year's resolutions - typical things like losing weight or getting organized. This year I have made just one: be happier in the new year. It's a big one, and a pretty tall order.

I have broken it down into some different ways I plan to have more happiness in my life this year. I made the following list for myself, and to share with anyone else whose New Year's resolution is the same as mine.

Here are my "Six Ways to be Happier in the New Year":

Pay more attention to what makes you happy - Spend more time with the people in your life who make you the happiest. Avoid the toxic folks as much as possible. Spend more time doing the things that make you happy - playing with the kids, going for walks, gardening. Pick up that enjoyable project you've been neglecting.

Minimize stress - Take the emphasis off of problems. Work on them, but don't let them consume you. Don't take on more than you can handle. Don't worry if you don't have time to get everything done in a day - it will still get done.

Appreciate what you have - Recognize all the good things in your life. Count your blessings. If there are things you need or want, keep a list, but don't worry if you don't have them yet.

Banish negative thinking - Don't let yourself feel bad about things that don't go as planned or get down on yourself because of mistakes you've made. Give yourself a break - remember you are a good person who deserves to be happy. Stop predicting that the outcome of every situation will leave you disappointed.

Treat yourself (and treat yourself better) - Pamper yourself as often as possible. Splurge on a latte, spa or salon visit, or just a night at home alone with a good movie and maybe some takeout. Indulge (within moderation and not in anything unhealthy, of course). In fact, cut back on or give up the stuff that's bad for you. (I personally need to cut back on sweets and reduce my salt intake.) Reward yourself for all your hard work and all the good things you do with little gifts for yourself, or just taking some time to relax.

Pursue your passion - Is there something you really want to do? Write a novel, make clothes, travel? Try to make this the year it happens. Focus on the things you love to do and how you may be able to get a new project, or even a new career, off the ground.
Just keep thinking - "It is going to be a great year."

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