“New Year New You,” we’ve all heard it before. Some of the most common New Year’s goals are to exercise more, get organized, or save more money. Instead of choosing a New Year’s goal like everyone else, try something different this year, choose to be happy.

As a society they teach us to never truly be happy and always wanting more. We have thoughts like, if I was 10 pounds lighter I would be happy, or if I buy a new car then that would  make me happy, but that’s not how happiness works. If you buy a new car, the novelty will most likely wear off, and in five years you decide that you need another new car, suddenly your old car that works perfectly well isn’t good enough anymore. This doesn’t mean don’t strive to be a better you and want a good life for yourself, but it does mean to be happy with what you have and patient for what’s to come.

Happiness is a choice and you can choose it at even the most unlikely times. You are in control of how you choose to react, although it might not always feel that way, but you can choose to be happy. If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose.

All emotions are predominantly linked to the mind. For instance, if someone gets yelled at while working, they might end up in a bad mood, possibly even take it out on their coworkers or family at home. However, that chain reaction of emotional behavior happened because the person chose to react to the situation negatively. It’s important to realize the situation and your emotions before you react. Choosing to think in awareness rather than through your emotions will help you set an intention this year for a happier you.

Begin this New Year by choosing to be happy. Here are ten ways to choose happiness:

  1. Start your day with a daily mantra and say it to yourself throughout the day, every day. A daily mantra can be any positive affirmation that resonates with you. You could simply repeat the phrase, “I choose to be happy.”
  2. Surround yourself with positive people. If you are choosing to hang around people that are negative and do not share your same interests and goals, it will take away from your happiness. Instead, surround yourself with people that inspire you to be a better you and evoke happiness.
  3. Be happy with what you have. Find value in the things you already have.
  4. Choose mindfulness. It is frequently difficult for individuals to accept age and disease related changes in their capabilities. Focus on the present moment, observe and accept the thoughts and feelings that you experience throughout the day. Think before you react to situations. Meditation helps to promote mindfulness and induce happiness.
  5. Lower your expectations. Don’t focus on the outcome, because often you set yourself up for disappointment. Focus on the present moment and expect nothing to come to you, as a result you will be grateful when it does. The best things happen when you least expect them.
  6. Take care of yourself. Self-care includes all the things you do to take care of your well-being: physical, emotional, physiological, professional and spiritual. With just one of these types of self care out of balance our happiness may struggle.
  7. Learn how to forgive. In order for a person to move forward they must be able to forgive. Forgiveness is a challenge, and often the hardest person to forgive, but also the most important, is yourself. 
  8. Do things good for your soul. It’s important to have a mind-body-soul balance. Do activities that further your connection with yourself.
  9. Find meaning in your pain. Decide to live life on your terms even when you can’t control it. Let your struggles empower you to create a life you are happy with.
  10. Let yourself be happy. Remember happiness is a choice.