Everyone’s got a New Year’s resolution list at this time, and they all say the same things: Lose Weight! Stop Smoking! Exercise! Find A Girlfriend/Boyfriend! This is not one of those lists. Resolution lists imply that you’ll be happier once you complete these tasks.
There are a few simple steps you can take today or this week to be happier right away. Of course, happiness is a long term journey, but you can start at any point. This list lets you find some happiness now, and it costs you (virtually) nothing.
Forgive yourself for the small stuff
If you’re keeping awake rehashing the stupid thing(s) you said or did, now’s the time to let that go. Keep a small box by your bed, and whenever you’ve got one of those thoughts, write it down and put it in the box. Let the box deal with it, and get yourself some sleep.
Forgive someone else for an old insult
Another great way to start the year happier is to let go of an old grudge. The longer it sits in your head, the more space it takes up and the less room you have for better thoughts. You don’t have to tell the person since most likely it’ll start a whole chain of “I didn’t do anything to be forgiven” and it’ll just get worse. Forgive them in secret. Bonus is that it will drive them crazy once they see they can’t push that button anymore, and that will further empower you to focus on the things that really matter.
Apologize for that thing you did that you know hurt someone
Seriously, whatever it was, big or small, apologize. And make it a real apology, not one of those weak sauce “to whoever was offended” apologies celebrities seem to have. No “sorry, but” or “I didn’t do it but I’m sorry anyway” either. Need a script for the right way to do it? “My words/actions hurt you, and I’m sorry, I will do better in the future.” Note that they don’t have to accept the apology, but that’s not up to you.
Give yourself permission to fail on occasion
This is not a blank check to goof off. Now that you’ve already started clearing out the old stuff holding you back (see #1), it’s time to learn not to build up a new stack of things to keep you awake. Because you’re going to mess up, that’s what people do. The important thing is not to hold it against yourself. If you find yourself overthinking that thing, guess what? The box can deal with those, too. Write it down and get it out of your head.
Don’t get angry at the universe
This is for things that are beyond your control. Traffic? Stuck in line at the post office? Rain forecast on your picnic day? Yes, these are annoying as all get out but guess what? It’s not malicious. The universe did not align itself specifically to make your day worse. Even though it feels like it did. The universe has bigger fish to fry. Be grateful to the universe for what is going right and move on.
Let go of that one person who makes it all worse
You know who that is. We all have that one “friend” who causes more drama than a Shakespeare festival. This is not the friend you want to have on your team. You have permission not to have to deal with it anymore. Ghost them or just tell them you’re not interested in hanging out with them, whatever works for you. Cut the social media ties, let them fade into the background. This leaves more time for the rest of your friends … and yourself.
Write down every day 3 things you’re grateful for
Gratitude is the best way to turn what you have into enough. It’s something that you can do right now, anywhere you are, and immediately feel a little better about things.
Unfollow negative people on social media
If you’re following people on social media who make you feel awful every time you read a post from them, it’s ok to stop following them and find someone else to follow or friend with a more positive outlook on life. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
Speaking of the rest of your friends
Make sure you let them know how much you appreciate them. They’re your tribe when stuff goes wrong, but also your team when things go right. Thank them for having your back, and reaffirm that you have theirs. After all, you never know when the universe is going to decide to make your day difficult, right?
Be good to yourself
The most important thing to remember! You are the most important member of “team you” and self-care is not only important, but it’s also vital. Don’t be afraid to get help if you need it. You totally deserve to be happy. You are a wonderful being and your presence in the world matters. Now get out there and show the universe who’s boss.