People often tell me is that “Happiness is a choice.” They say this with such emphasis, and such conviction, that I can tell that this is a very meaningful insight for them; it’s also one of the most widespread observations about happiness.
I understand what this means. But for me – and I’m just speaking for myself – it’s very hard to put that observation into practice. “I wake up every morning and decide to be happy,” one person said to me. I can’t really do that. It’s too…huge.
What works better for me is to decide what changes in my life would make me happier, and choose to make those changes. Same idea, just a different way of putting it into action.
So, for example, I realized that our mornings were not as happy a time as they could be. There was too much rushing, nagging, complaining, and foot-dragging. So I choose to:
• get up an hour earlier than my family, so I have plenty of time to get ready myself before helping everyone else get ready, which meant I also have to…
• go to bed earlier so I can get up at 6:00 am, yet still feel well-rested, and also…
• do an “evening tidy-up” each night so I don’t feel like I need to rush around, tidying up the apartment, as part of the morning routine
• sing in the morning to set a cheery tone
• make a deliberate effort not to “talk in a mean voice,” as my younger daughter puts it
• make an effort not to repeat myself over and over: “Put on your shoes,” “Is your backpack packed?” etc.
• touch everyone in my house with affection
• give my husband a real good-bye kiss
For me, it’s easier for me to imagine making these choices than choosing to be happy. I do better when I keep my resolutions very concrete.
How about you? Can you choose to be happy?
* 2010 Happiness Challenge: For those of you following the 2010 Happiness Project Challenge, to make 2010 a happier year, this month’s focus is Work. Last week’s resolution was to Ask for help. Did you try to follow that resolution? Did it help to boost your happiness?
This week’s resolution is to Beware of drift.
If you’re new, here’s information on the 2010 Happiness Challenge (or watch the intro video). It’s never too late to start! You’re not behind, jump in right now, sign up here. For more ideas, check out the Happiness Project site on Woman’s Day.