When the year draws to a close and it’s not been a happy one for you, you may be especially determined to see that the new year is better. Even if you had a decent year, there’s always room for improvement. Fortunately, if joy is what you long for, there are steps you can take to increase your happiness exponentially.
1. Stop worryingWorry is the surest way to ruin your happiness. Instead of worrying, take definite steps to solve your problems. When your concerns are out of your control, refuse to worry about them. Remember, worry never solves problems, it simply leaves you drained and unable to meet the challenges that you do face.
2. Get regular exerciseStudies have shown that regular exercise helps with depression and anxiety. If you’re not getting regular exercise, start immediately. Take a 20-minute walk three or four days a week, head to the local pool for regular swims or do gentle stretching to increase your flexibility.
3. Lower your expectationsSometimes people become dissatisfied with their lives because they have unrealistic expectations. To increase your happiness, lower your expectations. Instead of trying to write a novel in a month’s time, complete one page each day. You’ll still reach your goal eventually, but you’ll avoid the stress that come with putting undue pressure on yourself.
4. Be happy with what you havePeople who are constantly striving to achieve more often forget to enjoy what they have. While it’s fine to have goals, you can make yourself miserable by always wanting more. Instead of obsessing about how and when you can get a new car, for example, appreciate the car you have and the fact that it was paid off long ago, leaving you with more money in your pocket.
5. Be thankfulWhen everything seems to go wrong in your life, it’s time to look at what’s right. Take time out to give thanks for your warm, cozy home, your loving spouse, your talented kids or the job that puts food on your table. Sometimes all that’s required to bring happiness is a simple change of perspective.
More: 16 Ways to Save Time and Money Every Day
6. Avoid comparisonsAnother source of unhappiness is comparing yourself to others. Just because your aunt took a trip to Europe last year doesn’t mean that you have to do the same. Even if your coworker has a designer wardrobe, there’s nothing that says you must have one. Instead of comparing yourself to others, look for and find the unique qualities that you possess and celebrate them.
7. Get enough restIf you’ve ever noticed how grumpy you become after a night with little shuteye, you should easily realize how important it is to get enough sleep. While it can be tempting to stay up late, you’ll do yourself a favor by getting to bed at a decent hour and increase the odds of achieving happiness. Getting enough sleep each night is the key to a better health.
8. Practice forgivenessWhile the acts of others sometimes defy understanding, the time comes when you must forgive. Even though holding a grudge can be tempting, you only hurt yourself when you hang onto your anger. Free yourself emotionally and forgive those people who’ve hurt you. Life’s too short to bother with grudges.
9. Attend to your needsIf you always put the needs of others first, you may find yourself becoming bitter and resentful. Instead of denying yourself what you really need, put yourself first. If painting is important to you, schedule time each day that you can work on your masterpiece. If anyone interrupts you, inform them that whatever they want will have to wait until you’re done.
10. Indulge yourselfDenial has become the fashion in recent years. People deny themselves dessert, fail to use vacation time they having coming and sacrifice time with loved ones. Instead of always denying yourself, indulge yourself on occasion instead. The happiness indulgence brings makes it worth breaking your own rules when the situation warrants.
More: 10 Soulful Ways to Stay Happy during the Winter Season
Even though no one can be happy all the time, you certainly can increase your overall satisfaction with life. By taking concrete steps to improve your life, you’ll soon notice that there’s a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Are you ready to have a happy new year?