My New Years Resolution (2015): To Be Happy

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I was watching a home video of an interview with my Nanny. She was being asked a host of questions, including what she most wanted for her children – and without hesitation, she said confidently and with a great deal of love…

To be happy.

The pursuit of happiness at times gets a bad rap for being fake, selfish, or an ultimately futile goal. However, what could be more important than creating an atmosphere of positivity and balance in your own life, regardless of circumstances? How can you truly support others, or have the ability to make change in the world if you are not at peace yourself?

This past year my Telfer MBA team did a data analysis project on the Happy Planet Index (incredibly, US ranks in the lowest category of HPI, Canada is middle of the pack, while Mexico is  one of the highest). We compared HPI to a large number of factors – including life expectancy rates, war deaths, alcohol consumption, etc – with little correlation.  We came to the surprising conclusion that happiness is not heavily dependent on what is happening to and around you.

So what do happy people do differently than the rest of us? I plan to go on a mission to figure this out – and will be periodically updating you on my findings. I will pursue it, like I do any other goal, with tangible actions. I plan to try 3 different happiness tactics every quarter of 2015, and I invite you to join me! The tactics for January to March are as follows:

  • Find 5 things you are grateful for everyday – This could be a morning reflection you whisper to yourself while rolling out of bed, or a journal entry  on the good things that you remember from the day. The way you choose to recognize the 5 things is completely up to you, but the key thing is that it happens daily.
  • Remove one negative thing from your life – Create some breathing space by letting go of something that is currently toxic. This could be an activity you no longer enjoy, an energy sucking relationship, or a self-destructive habit.
  • Start meditating – I meditate every once in a while, but I want to make this an unshakable part of my daily routine. This can take as little as 5 minutes a day, so it is manageable for even the most packed schedule.

Make happiness a priority this next year with me, and improve not only your own life, but those close to you as well. Keep me updated on your experiences below!


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89 thoughts on “My New Years Resolution (2015): To Be Happy

  1. Laura, you chose a great resolution for this year! I noticed when I was in Mexico that the locals were always smiling and happy despite their poverty. I attribute this partly to the large amount of sunshine they are exposed to…I believe all that great energy boosts their “happy” genes!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Laura, thanks for the follow. I so admire your positive spirit. I have always felt there is just one “trick” to living a full life…and that is to be happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Laura, Couldn’t agree with you more! Exactly my three resolutions as well 🙂 Just wanted to let you know I have moved my blog mitalikalra.com which you were following to rougelle.com. Hope to see you there 🙂

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  4. This was a nice post. I enjoyed reading it. Considering the happiness I’ve been able to enjoy during the last two turbulent years, I can say from personal experience that happiness does not have to depend upon your outward circumstances. Thank you for being the first person to follow my initial attempt at writing a blog. I hope it encourages you. Thanks for sharing some positive thoughts with your blog.

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  5. Getting what you want is success. Wanting what you have is happiness. Happiness is merely an exercise in contentment. Trouble is we live in a culture fueled by the exact opposite: covetousness.

    I wish you the best in your quest!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post. Have you seen the documentary film ‘Happy’? It comes to a similar conclusion as yours: ‘happiness is not heavily dependent on what is happening to and around you.’

    We are free to be happy – yea! 🙂

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  7. You know what would bring happiness to the World? Compassion. You know what people live the most compassionately in this World? Ethical vegans. You know how many vegans there are estimated to be in worldwide? Less than 3% (even fewer ethical vegans). You know how many of them are ridiculed for their lifestyle? Most of them. (Ridiculed for being compassionate!)

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    1. I certainly can relate, as I too am a vegan (first for compassionate reasons, followed by others such as environmental, global food scarcity etc). Investing in the words of those who ridicule is not productive, perhaps happiness may lay in finding compassion for those who have not made the connection yet. Spin the narrative.

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  8. It is a beautiful concept, and your Nanny is lovely (as are you).

    But, for a person who is deeply compassionate and empathic, how does one ever sustain happiness? To personally sustain happiness, mustn’t one turn a blind eye to the suffering of the World? Doesn’t being happy take a good deal of selfishness? My natural self is very buoyant, fun-loving, and upbeat. But, I can’t see being happy unless my existence was responsible for reducing suffering of others (like tens of thousands). And, as an individual, my efforts will never be able to keep up with the suffering caused by the pervasiveness of greed, violence, bigotry, entitlement, and overall social decay. Nor could my efforts along with every activist that I know. The scales are so far tipped, at this point — in spite of abundant opportunity for moral evolution. How can happiness prevail? The happier individuals become, the more the World (certainly the Earth) tends to suffer.

    So, sustainable happiness? What’s the game plan? Seriously.

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    1. Such sincere and worthwhile questions! Thank you for sharing your perspective. I’m trying to explore that over the next year. I am hopeful that happiness (or perhaps inner peace) does not need to conflict with compassion and action…

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  9. I especially love the second action—to let something negative go. We sometimes are so focused on adding good things and doing moremoremore that we forget to get rid of the junk that weighs us down. Thanks for the reminder!

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  10. Every single day I thank God for just breathing without assistance. I recognize it by writing in my journal. I removed something negative, by never watching House Wives of Atlanta. There are far too many catty women in the world. I don’t need to waste time watching it on TV. I meditate on the little things we take for granted and I find the beauty in it.

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  11. Hi Laura, Thanks for visiting my blog. Enjoyed the blog on happiness but was surprised Mexico ranked high in its people being happy. That surprise comes from the fact so many of those happy people want to go to a country north of them where statistically the people seem to be so unhappy. Perhaps some of that happiness will seep out to the unhappy Americans. Thanks for sharing and have a HAPPY Christmas and New Year.

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  12. Great resolution and project!
    Might I suggest one more, – make someone else happy, even just making someone smile really heightens my happiness quota.
    Thanks for the follow! Merry Christmas!

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  13. p.s. In regard to the first happiness tactic for Jan-Mar, there’s a great place called GratitudeLog.com where you can log on daily to record what you are grateful for. Plus, there’s a great/grateful community of people there. I now have spiritual family in Germany, England, Australia, India, Bermuda and beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Laura,

    I just read your post and absolutely love it! I’m also in search for inner happiness in 2015 and your 5 goals are absolutely awesome! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  15. As we’ve been through a lot of heartbreak over the last few years, I am on my own personal quest to find happiness on a daily basis, so I just loved this post! I particularly appreciate that you drew attention to removing negativity, as it’s one of the hardest things to do and yet one of the most valuable.

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  16. Wonderful post, Laura – especially Number 2. Thanks! This past year I’ve taken the time to listen to and act on my inner voice that I’ve ignored for so long. I’m much happier and more at peace. Thanks, also, for following my blog. I hope that sometimes I can bring a smile or a laugh to your day.

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    1. What a wonderful article! I especially liked this quote:

      Thomas Carlye was asked, how do I make the world a better place. To which, the witty man replied, “Take care of yourself and we will have one less rascal to worry about”. 

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  17. Great blog post! I think we all manage to magically forget that being happy is the most important thing in life.

    We may think that we need a new telly, or more sex, or any number of other things, but the key to happiness is knowing what you need and being content with everything else.

    I was going to disagreed with your approach to more happiness because a set of rules and a reigeme to follow doesn’t feel condussive to increasing happiness. But on reflection, your aims boil down to: Don’t dwell on bad stuff, concentrate on good stuff and meditate (at least in part to reinforce the first two) 🙂

    Good luck and…

    HAPPY Christmas and a HAPPY new year

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  18. Hi
    As a general rule Happiness has always been a misnomer for me. The two authors I found illuminating on the subject is Manfred Ketz De Fries and Victor Frankl. I have in chasing this dragon found out that the concept of Frankl that happiness is an Paradoxical intent of other behaviors the best possible solution to creating HAPPINESS.
    I see you read my Blogs and Meditation and happiness is concepts I love exploring. Herewith one that you might have missed.
    https://conradkotze.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/why-i-like-routine-and-discipline/

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  19. Hugh Mackay, Australian social researcher and psychologist, offers an interesting argument about ‘how the pursuit of happiness can make you miserable’ – this is the title of chapter 2 in his 2013 book ‘The Good Life’. I highly recommend this read to anyone involved in the pursuit of happiness!

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  20. Great post. I know that gratitude is a key but I’m terrible at it! I aim too high and don’t “count” the smaller things. Grateful we have the chance to try again and again!

    Like

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