Here’s a little secret: Happy people aren’t born that way — they’re happy by choice. This new year, rather than the usual resolutions, why not just make one: to be happy. To quote Abraham Lincoln “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Truly happy people are very fortunate because they realize that once we stop pursuing the world’s (often false) ideal of “happiness,” the key to a joy and contentment has been right in our grasp the whole time. It is that epiphany which enables them to make the choice to simply be happy.
As the new year dawns, instead of the usual resolutions, maybe we should all resolve to just let our inner happiness shine through. Here are some useful tips on how we can all choose happiness this new year:
1). Make Happiness an Actual Goal
If you don’t have a list of life goals, make one and be sure to put “being happy” at the top. What will make you happy? Don’t focus on things that you think will make you happy, but on the actual elements you need in your life to have happiness. For example, make it a goal to reprogram your beliefs and values so that they’re oriented on the truly important things in life. Try to learn positive self-management habits that help you to organize your life and to keep you on the path toward a fulfilling life. Make it a priority to be around people and environments that are uplifting and help to inspire you. That goal list? It’s very important. Make time to journal or list out the changes you need to make to bring out the happiness within you…because happiness is within all of us, but too often, we fail to actively choose happiness.
2). Focus on and Treasure Positive Moments
Life isn’t all fun and good times. Real life can be rough and if we let that part of life take root, it’s hard to let our inner happiness emerge. Our brains tend to be on the lookout for the negative and that misdirected focus causes us to miss the positive. Rather than honing in on the negative, look for the positive! Find it and savor it and let that positive moment/experience be the one that propels you forward. Remember it and let them fill your mind little by little — cumulatively, you’ll see that there are lots of things to be happy about.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Frederick Keonig
3). Practice Gratitude and Compassion
For me, gratitude and compassion go hand-in-hand. This new year, commit to being a kind person who is grateful. Be thankful for what you have and share that gratitude by helping others. The spirit of thanking and giving is extremely powerful and once we start to be thankful, we become more grounded and content in life. Once we have and, more importantly, show compassion for others, it spreads out like a warm blanket of peace and love. Sound corny? It’s not. Its actually one of the biggest contributors of personal happiness that exists.
“Be mindful. Be grateful. Be positive. Be true. Be kind.” ―
4). Choose Mindfulness
Ever notice that when we feel worn down and bummed out, we automatically harken back to a time gone by…“oh, my life was so much better then….” Was it? Once we’re done strolling down memory lane, we fast-forward to the future and begin dwelling on things that haven’t even happened yet. When we recognize this happening, we need to snap back into the moment and try to be in the now — its normal to reflect on the past and think about the future, but being happy is supposed to be in the now. Practice some mindfulness techniques to help stay more in the present and enjoy life today.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” ―
“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” ― Marcel Pagnol
5). Allow Yourself be Happy
If we think we don’t deserve to be happy, we’re wrong. We all have a right to enjoy life — to savor the good things and to be content and fulfilled. If you find that you have negative thoughts that you don’t deserve to be happy, get to the bottom of those bad thoughts. It may mean talking to a qualified professional, but that’s okay. The bottom line is: we all deserve to be happy and we have to actually allow ourselves to be so…to let our inner happiness emerge and guide us.
Feeling happy and being happy aren’t the same thing. Sure, when we get something we want, we have a feeling of being happy. But being happy from within is when we feel at peace and have a sense of fulfillment — its when we look at life and say “Yes, things are good! I’m doing great and I like who and where I am….” It takes effort, but its not as hard as some might have you believe. So this new year, choose happiness.
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as you see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.” ― Stacey Charter