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Happiness Tip: Live Like it Ends in 2012

Oh, how I love New Year’s resolutions. Something about the blank slate, the possibility for growth.

Like most people, I can’t dive headlong into a major change without a fair bit of contemplation and preparation. This year, I’m going to take stock a little differently; I’ve learned a lot in 2011 about how to live life more fully in 2012. I plan to:

(1) Reflect less on 2011, and more on what I’d do if 2012 was the last year of my life. This really puts things into perspective! This post gives some more context and instructions for this practice.

(2) Make New Year’s resolutions that bring more happiness into my life, that reflect my top priorities, and that are attainable. Resolutions that reduce stress — or more than that, my sense that I am racing through life, working, providing, and consuming without enjoying — will be at the top of my list. For example, I will not be resolving to go on a diet. But I will resolve to eat lunch mindfully, without also reading or checking email.

(3) Make a realistic plan to keep my resolutions. This is key: It is one thing to make a New Year’s resolution, but quite another to know how to fulfill it. Fortunately, I know a lot about how to create a new habit. For me, the science around making changes works.

Take Action: Make a New Year’s resolution that you’d make if you knew you only had this next year to live — a resolution that will make you happier. Now make a realistic plan to keep your resolution!

(If you need help making or keeping your New Year’s resolutions, I hope you’ll take one of my online classes.  They start January 9th, and I guarantee that they will make you and your family happier in 2012. Literally: I’ll give you your money back if the class you take doesn’t.)

Wishing you much joy in the New Year!

PS: As I’m taking stock here at the end of the year, I want to be sure that you know this: I am so grateful for you. Thank you to all who read this weekly email and pass it on to friends; to all who are enrolled in my classes; to all who’ve taken a pledge to be happier, to make the world a happier place.  Your enthusiasm and support makes my life meaningful and, yes, happy! Thank you!