We’ve all heard the clichés about how being happy is as simple as choosing it. The truth is, being happy isn’t a choice – being happy and leading a wonderful life is the result of a multitude of choices. It’s hard to always know whether what we’re doing is a foolproof decision, but there are certain choices that we can make every day that will guarantee a better life.
As my favorite quote goes, “life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react to it.” Only you can choose the attitude you’re going to have in life, and it will ultimately determine the course of your life.
With that in mind, here are six choices that can help you lead a happier, more positive life.
1. Choose to Be Inspired By the Success of Those Around You
It’s really hard to control the people around you, and for me, that’s one of the biggest barriers when it comes to finding peace and contentment within myself. There are certain people who are going to try to put you down in order to build themselves up, and others who will be just flat out mean.
This makes it tough to want the best for them, but the key is to not let the bad attitudes of others shake who you are and who you want to be.
One easy way to do this is by being the ultimate cheerleader for everyone in your life. Being jealous and competitive with those around you will only create bitterness within yourself. This pent up negativity is toxic, so for your own sake, be happy for them. Be happy for every promotion they get, date they go on, and lottery they win. You’ll end up being happier with yourself in the end.
2. Choose to Surround Yourself with Positive People
While you can’t control the people around you, you can choose the people with whom you spend your free time. It’s a well-known fact that emotions are contagious, yet we often forget how we are affected by the moods of others. Think of how quickly someone’s bad mood can put a damper on a good day, or how one’s cheery and bubbly personality can brighten a bad one. Surround yourself with the people who brighten your days and make you feel happy, and you’ll spend a lot more time enjoying life.
This goes both ways. Like choosing to be happy for others, we can also choose to make others happy, simply by being happy! So try to spread a little more cheer to your loved ones, and you’ll get the same in return. Call it a happiness cycle, if you will.
3. Choose to Let Go of the Bad
With the good always comes the bad, so having some form of disappointment in your life is inevitable. The trick is to not carry it with you everywhere you go. Disappointment can be as miniscule as having a bad hair day or having your parking spot stolen at the mall. Hello, I was clearly taking that spot!
We’ve all let something like this bring our moods down drastically before, but having the power to shake it off is what’s going to allow you to be happy moving forward. (Thanks for the great advice, T-Swift!)
Next time you’re faced with negativity, resist the urge to complain. If you can do something to fix it, do it. If you can’t change the situation, accept it for what it is and let it go.
4. Choose Balance
You have the power to choose where you give your energy. Seeking equilibrium in your life is vital to your happiness. Whether you’re spreading yourself too thin or only giving your attention to your fitness or your career or your significant other, you’re sacrificing happiness. True fulfillment comes from all of these areas of your life, not just excelling in one.
You have to decide what’s truly important to you – what your values are – and let them guide you. Nothing can get in the way of your happiness once you’ve chosen to follow your values.
5. Choose to Be a Doer
Anyone can talk for hours about the life they want to live, but putting action to your dreams is what will actually make you happy. Even if this means saving a penny a day, you’re going to feel more accomplished when you’re consistently doing something to reach your goals.
At the end of the day, your hesitation or self-doubt could be the only thing standing in the way of your happiness. Don’t allow that doubt to keep you from living your best; expect more out of life, and take action to achieve it.
6. Choose to Love Yourself and Your Life
Sadly, we tend to see our flaws more magnified than we see our beauty and our successes. Decide you’re going to love that snort when you laugh or the patch of freckles on your back. Be proud of yourself for what you can do and don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t. The more you love yourself and your choices in life, the less validation you’ll crave from others.
At the end of the day, you – and only you – can choose your happiness. Never forget that you have the power to live your best life, and by choosing these simple things, you can steer your life in a positive direction.
As Jeff Bezos says in his famous graduation speech, “Everything you are comes from your choices.”
So choose wisely.
Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping others find happiness and success in their careers and live life to the fullest. Check out Jeff Bezos’ famous graduation speech and follow Sarah for more inspiration @SarahLandrum
* For even more encouraging articles and advice head over to our Motivational and Inspirational Stories section.