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7 Resolutions I'm making to be happier in the New Year

Karen Bresnahan is a professional writer, photographer and artist from Boise, Idaho. She has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and photography from the University of Idaho and owns Idaho Naturals Photography and Desertscapes, KB Lifeline...

Here are the guidelines I'm using to be happier in the New Year

What do your New Year’s resolutions look like this year? Are you planning on setting one or two goals — or do you have a long list filled with dozens of ideas?

My New Year’s resolutions this year are not complicated. I have decided to keep my list fairly short, so I will be motivated to reach my goals.

Here is my list of seven ways to be happier in the coming year:

1. Take better care of myself

My life always seems to be stress filled, as I deal with work, relationships, children, and my home. I’m going to take better care of myself this year by:

  • Eating healthier foods — I want to cut back on canned and processed foods and things made for microwaving. I plan to eat more raw foods like fresh fruits and vegetables.

  • Exercising more — I need more exercise. I will start by getting outside more and doing activities like hiking, bicycling, rock climbing, walking and running.

  • Getting enough rest — If I get more rest, I can be more alert at work, have more energy and be capable of having more fun. I want to try new things that help me relax and feel better, like yoga, massage and meditation.

2. Let the past go

Everyone goes through tough times and challenges, and sometimes relationships can feel like an emotional roller coaster. Conflicts can come from your family, your partner, your kids or your friends. Pain is a very personal and difficult thing to deal with, but I try to think about how I view the situation. If a relationship makes me feel sad, angry or unhappy, I have to consider moving on. My happiness is important to me and I don’t want to waste time dwelling on a past that can’t be changed. I know I will feel better if I try to forgive those who have hurt me.

3. Set priorities and goals

Every new year needs a revamp of priorities and goals. I like to think about all aspects of my life, my career, my family and my close relationships and decide what is most important to me. First I make my priorities, then I can set goals.

One thing that is important to me is starting my own business, so my goal will be to learn as much as I can about running a business by reading a lot and finding out about things like financing and marketing ideas.

Another priority of mine is to find a new relationship, so my goal will be to discover new ways to meet people.

4. Face my fears

I think it’s a good idea to pinpoint any fears or apprehensions I have. Fear is like a giant obstacle that prevents me from getting things accomplished and being happy. When I look at my fears and evaluate them, I can create an action plan to overcome them.

5. Do what makes me happy

With all the job possibilities there are and ways to get education and training, there is no reason for anyone to be stuck in a job they don’t like, or even a relationship that is not working. I can’t think of anything more important than finding my dream job, or at least a good job that challenges and interests me. I don’t want to waste my time or energy doing something that is not important to me. I love to work hard and want it to be meaningful.

6. Invite change

Whether I like it or not, my life has always been full of changes. Some of them have been natural, but some have been unexpected. I believe it’s important to always be open to and ready for change. I want to be willing to try new things, explore my interests and expand my horizons. Some of the hardest changes in my life have brought to me the most positive things.

7. Connect more with others

One thing that is easy to do in life is to get into a comfort zone, as far as the people you know and who you see and talk to every day. For most people, this is a handful of friends that they know from work or school. One way of changing things this coming year is to make an effort to expand your personal life. Everyone you know and spend time with influences how you feel about yourself and the expectations you have about the future. Why not reach out to more people and make some new friends?

I'm going to surround myself with people who share my interests, help me feel good and believe in me. We all need to feel loved and supported by friends and family. Life is just plain better with good friends to share your experiences with.

As I head into the new year, I will keep these simple ideas in mind. If I take better care of myself, let the past go, set priorities and goals, face my fears, do what makes me happy, invite change and connect more with others, I may find out that this coming year could be the best and most exciting year of my life.

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