Resolve to Be Happy This Year

Life is about falling down and learning from it, getting up and starting again. And if that doesn't sound like fun to you, just watch a baby do it. Better yet, let the baby wrap his little fingers around yours and help him learn to walk. Look into his twinkling eyes and see if you don't get a new perspective on resilience — joy in the stumbling and peace in the falling. There might be some cries and screams, but they won't keep him down. With a little coaxing, you can turn his cries into smiles and laughter.

Why not encourage yourself—particularly in relationships when you can’t believe you messed up again? Believe in yourself? Show compassion and understanding for you? Don’t lose sight of the baby, or that pristine goodness, in you, your partner, and in everybody else. It hasn’t gone anywhere.

Yes, you have grown-up problems, and you've taken some tough falls. Like me, you've probably curled up and sobbed what felt like hopeless sobs. And maybe you've filed away enough lousy memories to make any person angry and bitter — any person who wanted to be, that is.

After you've aired all of your grievances, the hard knocks and the heartaches, with all the should-haves and if-onlys, ask yourself this question: Do you want to be happy anyway?

If you do, start today. You don't have to do anything special, just realize that life itself is awesome and do whatever comes naturally. Stop doing whatever doesn't. And if that sounds unrealistic, take it as a wake-up call.

This is the perfect time to start fresh—whether you’ve yet to make your New Year’s resolutions or already broken them. Reevaluate what's truly meaningful! And if you still think something you’ve struggled with for the last three (or 20) years is worthwhile, consider a new approach to getting it. What you really want is to be happy. Some of those things on your list — yes, the new boyfriend, the size 8, the promotion, more time with your husband, even health — are just byproducts of being happy.

Here's a list of resolutions to ensure your happiness; and as long as you’re connected with your inner goodness, you can keep them naturally.

1. Discern the difference between what you have been taught and what you truly believe. It's OK to do this, really.

2. Replace beliefs that don't serve your highest good with ones that do. You just woke up...and you're Forrest Gump! There is nothing you can't do!

3. Do only what you really want to do. Goodbye, anger and resentment! Hello, happy and free!

4. Get out of a house or a job or a relationship that betrays who you are. Then, one step at a time, move to your own music until you're dancing like you've never danced before!

5. Assume responsibility for your own "stuff." No blaming, no defending, no excuses.

6. If you're sorry, forgive yourself. Then get up and do something about it.

7. Decide you want to be happy...anyway (regardless of the "reasons" not to be).

8. Give what seems to be lacking in your life and your relationships — whether it's kindness or sex or hope. And, you got it!

9. Find what you want inside before you go looking for it in something or somebody else. Yes, it's in there! And if you’re waiting for your prince, he’ll show up when the princess is ready.

10. Keep believing in love. No matter what.

11. Keep believing in others, but don't gamble on when they’ll get their act together. The sea is swarming with fish; and besides, you only need one.

12. Decide what your source is … and quit looking elsewhere for what you want.

13. Remember that the only thing that matters is what's inside — what you can't see. And it's the same in all of us. Goodbye, jealousy and pride!

14. Don't play small; and don't play big. Be big. Really big!

15. Show compassion with respect. Don't give somebody a handout when you can give him a chance to contribute! Yes, this holds true in intimate relationships as well as others.

16. Free yourself from frustration in relationships. Your partner and others are doing the best they can. If you stop personalizing their behavior, you can help them to do better.

17. Quit trying to be a better person than you are. If you can be just half as good as you are, you just might find yourself walking on water!

18. Remember that success is going for it, not getting it.

19. Practice conscious choices, but only until you're so good at them that you can make them unconsciously.

20. This one's for you.

Happy is as simple as being true to yourself—eliminating the heart wrenching conflicts between what you really want to do and what you are doing. Find happiness, and everything else will be there.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Denise is a self-esteem and relationships consultant, the author of Innately Good: Dispelling the Myth That You’re Not (Health Communications) and Naked Relationships: Sharing Your Authentic Self to Find the Partner of Your Dreams (Hampton Roads), and the columnist who penned the nationally syndicated “Inside Relationships” for ten years. Denise conducts workshops, speaks professionally, serves on the faculty of Omega Institute, and consults with individuals and couples nationwide. She is silly and deeply in love with life and her husband Sam Ferguson. They live in McIntosh, Florida, where their home in the woods is open to others as a sanctuary and retreat center.