1. Focus on what matters to you. There is no point in competing in a game that you don’t really care to win. Don’t allow your resolutions and expectations to become anything but deeply personal reflections of what matters most to you. Many of us are constantly in a competition where we don’t really want the prize and it can often lead to failure and unhappiness.
2. Strive to improve, not to be perfect. Those who believe they will fail to achieve their goals are unhappy, but so are those who believe they will meet each goal just the way they imagined it. Those who are happiest believe they will meet some of their goals and will receive satisfaction from multiple aspects of their life.
3. Understand that you do not have to succeed in everything you do to feel happy. But you do have to believe you are maintaining some measure of control over your life. In fact, those who feel responsible for their position and decisions express much more life satisfaction than those who do not.
4. Allow your individual personality to come out and do not conform to popular images. Some men believe they must act fast and some women believe they must act soft, and then they box themselves into a set of expectations that has nothing to do with who they really are. The key to continued satisfaction with life is not in replication of what someone else has. Instead, build a support system that you draw from and that gives to you, and allow your true personality to come out.
5. Give more attention to your relationships with others. Researchers have identified the core factors of a happy life as a number of friends, closeness of friends, closeness of family, and relationships with co-workers and neighbors. Together these components explain about 70 percent of personal happiness. Giving yourself more time to spend with others in the new year with help increase your overall happiness.