I heard on the radio this morning that every year most people make the same three New Years’ resolutions… to go on a diet, to stop smoking, and to spend less money. Supposedly, despite the original good intentions, more than eighty percent of these resolutions have been broken and forgotten by mid-February. Overeating, smoking, and spending too much money are all habits that people use to make themselves feel better… to fill an emptiness in their lives… so it’s not surprising that these resolutions routinely fail when taking away the “comfort indulgence” is the only lifestyle change.

Resolutions don’t have to be painful. I challenge you to make these two easy-to-keep resolutions… and to stick with them. I promise they can change your life.

Our trees covered with a fresh snowfall

Resolution #1:
Every day… acknowledge and appreciate something that made you genuinely happy. You are the only person who knows what this will be… perhaps some time spent with your significant other, a cuddle with your child or a pet, a good book or movie, a thoughtful gesture from an unexpected source, the beauty of nature, a few moments of solitude… the only restriction is that your choice must have brought you real happiness. Write this down on a calendar or in a journal or notebook… one happy moment for each day. You will soon find that even in the very worst of circumstances… and even on days when you were positive nothing good had happened at all… there is almost always SOMETHING to feel happy about. And when you take the time to identify and appreciate these happy moments, you will discover more and more of them in your life.

Resolution #2:
Every day… do something thoughtful for someone else. This doesn’t require money or complicated preparations… just give the gift of YOU, a few minutes of your time, and your undivided attention. Start with your immediate family, a friend, or a lonely neighbor… the choice of what you do is up to you. When you decide on something, don’t just think about it, do it… and write about it in your journal. Over time this second resolution will almost certainly become a part of your first resolution, because it is impossible not to feel happy when you have just brought happiness to someone else.

Life moves in the direction of your thoughts. If your thoughts are unhappy, you will feel unhappy. When you acknowledge the happy moments in your life… and make more happy moments… you are creating genuine happiness… not just for yourself, but for the people you care about.

And yes… happiness CAN be that simple.