It’s a new year with new beginnings. And you can choose to be happy. Easier said than done though, right? But seriously, there are scientific proofs that happy people live better and accomplish more.

These are a few things you can do this year to make yourself happy or happier (if you are already happy).

1. Complain less and be grateful for the good things that happen each day. No exceptions. You can’t wish your problems away but worrying about them won’t make them go away. Do what you can to solve them. In the mean time complain less each day.

2. You are better off assuming a positive intent when you can. When someone does something that upsets you, assume they’re just trying to get through their day and in no way, shape or form were targeting you. There was no malice, just an awkward move in a fast-moving world. Don’t take things personal.

3. Exercise when you can. In addition to everything you know about the importance of exercise, it releases chemicals in your brain that give you some kind of ‘buzz’ and make things a bit more clearer in the day.

4. Get more sleep. Seriously. Just go to bed when you have to. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture. It may take a few nights to pay your sleep debt, but you’ll be happier than when you started. Not that I get enough sleep than you. I intend to get a lot more sleep this year though. I spend way too much time blogging.

5. Appreciate all the little help you get on the journey of life. Pay someone a sincere compliment.  Everyday. It changes your attitude and forces you to see the wonderful in each and all of us. Over time, gratitude will become your second nature and will bring you joy. It pays to be grateful.

6. An act of kindness goes a long way. I have read stories about inexpensive ways you can show kindness to strangers and this one can make a lot of difference in someone’s (or your) life.

“Here’s an inexpensive way to help you and a stranger have a great start to the day.  I normally grab breakfast from a drive through restaurant that stays packed.  A few weeks ago, I handed my card to the cashier at the window and she said “The gentleman in front of you paid for your order.”  No idea who he was and his car was gone by the time the cashier said that.  It was completely unexpected and made me feel confident that even though there are a lot of things wrong in the world, random acts of kindness still exist.  I sent my wife a text about it when I got to the office and continued to think about it all day.

Since then, I’ve done the same for others.  For about $5, I feel happy about helping someone else, not by handing them $5, but hopefully doing for them what someone did for me – provide real proof that random acts of kindness are still possible.” (Brent ScottCPA/CIA Banking Consultant)

7. Smile … seriously just smile. If you feel a bit down, lock yourself in a bathroom, look at yourself on the mirror and force a smile. After a couple of minutes you won’t force it any more and you’ll feel way better. Try :) it will just cost you a couple of minutes.

8. Move closer to where you work (if you can) –even if the home you can afford is smaller. Studies have shown that a small home near your work will tend to make you happier than a large home with a long commute.  Not only is a bigger house more work to clean and maintain, you have less time to do it because of all the commuting.

9. Do stuff that matters to you. If your work is not exactly the type that makes you happy, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get involved in something else that really matters to you. Most people hate their jobs but it pays the bills. You can easily feel stuck. It’s not too late to start a project you really care about. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Do stuff you find fun and meaningful.

10. Understand you can’t control much and don’t let it affect you. There is so much about life and living it that can’t be controlled. Somethings are just out of your control. The smartest people in the world with the best resources could never stop the rain, an earthquake or snow.  Accepting that you simply cannot control everything is an integral part of dealing with difficulties.

10. Focus on the “now”. Don’t get distracted from enjoying the moment by having something else on your mind. If you’re talking with a friend, be there fully. If you’re playing with your kids, be a kid again. Take each moment and fully experience it rather than worrying about “what’s next”.

11. Stop comparing yourself to others.  Appreciate what you have and work towards what you set you set out to achieve for your self, family or business. In the meantime, appreciate the little things in life that you already have. We start to become unhappy when we start taking the little things we have for granted.

Some of these little nuggets were first shared on Quora


  1. Hi Thomas,

    Getting more sleep is top of my to-do-list this year. I have a lot of sleep debt!



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