21 Tiny Ways To Have A Happier Year

I was surrounded by wonderful people and lots of champagne this New Year’s Eve, but I wasn’t really in the New Year’s spirit as the clock struck midnight. This year included some not-so-great stuff that I should’ve been thrilled to say goodbye to (and so many wonderful moments too), but something about 2014 didn’t feel over yet. I wasn’t ready to let it go. The end of the year snuck up on me, and as it would happen, even midnight itself arrived with no warning as the neighborhood celebration we’d gathered at forgot to start a countdown in time. Seeing the excited faces around me in the first minutes of the year made me happy too, but I wasn’t as energized for a fresh start as I usually am. The idea that I could scrub clean the hard times and losses of loved ones this year and wake up on the 1st having pushed a reset button just seemed ridiculous. But life keeps moving forward whether we want it to or not, and we should seize every opportunity we can even when we don’t feel ready for them — maybe even especially when we don’t. I have a lot to be grateful for, and even the most seemingly arbitrary new beginnings are a gift. I want to be as full of joy as I can be in 2015, and I want the same for you. Here are some teeny tiny ways to put an extra spring in your step, in January and every other month of the year.

1. Wake up twenty minutes earlier to accomplish little tasks you’ve felt guilty about putting off.

2. Establish a loose morning and evening routine, because structure makes people surprisingly happy.

3. Eat one extra serving of veggies or fruit a day.

4. Let yourself be sad when you’re sad, because hard days happen, and stifling awful feelings just allows them to ruin your life more.

5. Have one less cup of coffee each day to keep away caffeine-fueled anxiety.

6. Focus on giving to others. That has a knack for helping your own issues to sort themselves out a little faster.

7. When something really shitty is happening to you, try if you can to view the experience with curiosity instead of all-out resentment. An unexpected life change becomes an adventure instead of an utter annoyance.

8. Spend more time around the friends that make you feel full of life, and less time around the ones who make you feel drained.

9. Think about what topics make your face most light up when you talk about them, and spend more time on those things.

10. Add 15 extra minutes to your morning walk for the extra fresh air.

11. Nobody lives a life free of regrets, but do your best to remember that once something is in the past, we have zero control over it, and agonizing over it won’t change what’s already happened.

12. Use jealousy as motivation to better your life and compete with yourself instead of wallowing in self-pity.

13. Think about smiling. More often than not, it’ll make you actually smile.

14. Leave the house every day, even if it’s just for five minutes.

15. Try to squash your (probably negative) inner ramblings when you notice them.OK

16. Cook more often.

17. Remember that you are not responsible for toxic people’s problems, no matter what they try to tell you.

18. Find whatever joy you can in the simple things, because those are often what we miss most later on.

19. Find random excuses to celebrate. Get to work on time after weeks of tardiness? Sweet, time for a champagne toast! Make a perfect casserole you thought you’d botch? Get yourself a treat!

20. Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake.

21. Be as present in the moment in front of you as possibly can.

[Image via Shutterstock]