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20 Steps Toward Happiness Shining in Your Life


Everyone wants to be happy – on their own terms, of course. But most of us have no roadmap, nothing connecting the wish to a result. That’s why we’re supplementing our Happiness for Beginners post with some helpful guidelines. Use one or all to build your path to joy and contentment.

by David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

1. Set your intention for happiness.

It’s surprising how few people take the first step, that is, making a mindset for happiness, a real and serious commitment. They want it but let a lot of other wishes clutter their focus.

2. Express gratitude for what you have.

First step, take an honest inventory. Write them down, if it helps organize your thoughts, but what things already make you feel good? A loving partner? A cat? Your health? You might surprise yourself.

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3. Love and accept yourself just as you are.

It’s kinda hard to get to happiness if you don’t clearly see that you’re worth it.

4. Forgive yourself for past mistakes.

We all make them, and nobody gets a do-over. Without mistakes, we don’t learn or enjoy the contrast of our successes.

5. Learn from your mistakes and let them go.

Instead of stains on your record, consider them life lessons.

6. Choose thoughts and activities that make you happy.

The sun can’t shine through heavy cloud cover. You don’t have to be Pollyanna or believe everything is just fine as is. But look around. The world is rich with good spirits and exciting things to do. Leave some room between the clouds.

7. Spend time with people who make you happy.

The other side of this coin is that people who drag you down always come looking. No point in resisting them. Show them your light instead.

8. Do things that make you happy.

Skip rope. Chat with your best friend. Go forest bathing. Kiss a child. Talk with God or whatever higher source you trust. Pet your cat. Play some music.

9. Live in the present moment as much as possible.

Truth is, now is all you really have. Past and future are done or waiting. Don’t let them distract you. Happiness is in the here and now, and there’s a bonus. The happier you are, right now, the happier you’ll be tomorrow because you’ve got your hands on the wheel.

10. Let go of what’s not working in your life.

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One of the hardest things is letting go – of partners, friends, jobs, etc., even when you know they aren’t working. But look at it this way. If you let failures crowd the room, there’s not enough space for the good things waiting to come in.

11. Be kind to yourself and others.

Kindness is like a magic wand. Don’t forget to tap your own shoulder.

12. Follow your heart.

Hearts have wisdom, and it’s so powerful, it will take you on a ride of joy if you let it. People with less courage will tell you to use your head, and that’s a good idea too – unless it leads you away from your heart.

13. Be true to yourself.

Who are you? Do you know? Of course, you do. Don’t give in to the pressure to be someone or everyone else. We’ve got enough of those already, and it’s never the way to contentment. Conforming makes other people feel better, but not you.

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

e. e. cummings.BrainyQuote

14. Do what you love.

Play frisbee with your dog. Write a novel. Read poetry. With such short lives, we enrich them with love. Be open to everything. If you love it, do it.

15. Pursue your dreams.

We all have them, but only a few go for it. If you want to be happy, the spice of life is in your dreams.

16. Believe in yourself.

You will never get there unless you believe you can.

17. Stand up for yourself and what you believe in.

Compromising who you are and your values are the first steps to misery. You can’t let anyone else define you. It’s not their business anyway.

18. Have faith and trust in the Universe/God/Higher Power.

The happiest people always do. Yes, it’s hard to get a grip on, but maybe you don’t have to. Let it be.

19. Be grateful for all the good in your life.

It’s not as easy as it seems at first glance. In this media-driven age, the deluge of fear-inducing bad news and threatening outcomes chase you like a tide that won’t stop. Turn off the TV, if you have to, but remember that’s not reality. It’s news, and they’re giving it away like bags of candy to get you to the advertising. Fear sells, but it isn’t true.

20. Allow yourself to be happy and shine your light brightly!

In the end, you’ve gotta let it in. Nobody holds the key. Turn it.

Buy me a coffee, please.

Thank you.


Happiness is a choice, and it’s up to you to make that choice every day. Just like anything else in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. So put on a smile and go be happy! The world needs your light.

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