My most prominent takeaway from 2015 (RIP), is that Happiness is not the consequence of a good life. It’s the cause. You don’t get happiness because you have a great life. Be happy, then you’ll have a great life. 

There are a million and one things to start or stop doing  as a resolution, either for the new year, or for whenever you make resolutions. To smile more, to stop comparing yourself with others, to exercise more, to live the present, or whichever other habits  you might choose to cultivate. Habits that will individually make you feel better and collectively make you a better person. You can get some ideas from this list of 57 changes to improve your life  or 30 things to start doing for yourself or 50 ways to live on your own terms . It is of course healthy and productive to choose, make and stick to new good habits. To remember all of them at once or at the times when you need to apply each one of them however, is not obvious. Nonetheless I find that learning about and committing to some of these habits and lists, then making the conscious additional decision, or better still resolution, to be happy, greatly improves the chance that you’ll stand by your resolution and make the right decision when the time comes. And by right I mean the decision that you will be most proud of later on. When you choose to be happy, your subconscious seems to question at  every decision, which option will make you happier. Ultimately, that is the right option.

I learned recently that contrary to popular belief, smiling or laughing is less of a consequence of being happy, than it is a cause.  Smiling and laughter are not the result of being happy; they’re part of a cycle that both creates and reinforces happiness. In the same light, I thought  ’when things go well, people smile/laugh’. Now I realise it’s more of ’smile/laugh and things will go well.’   Happiness above all else in the world is what humans seek; all we do is in its quest. A few days ago we were wishing each other a Happy New Year. Not (just) a wealthy new year, nor a rich new year, nor a new year full of laughter - but a happy one; as happiness encompasses all these and more according to each individual. 

I write code. When I’m in my zone, possibly doing some multidimensional arrays and listening to Enya or some other epic combination of work and leisure (*grins); the last thing I want is someone from work coming in to tell me she forgot her password, or his printer doesn’t work. As much as I want to say to them “I’ve heard” and just continue my thing for the next hour without even taking up my head to look at them, my resolution to be happy pops up in my head. Automatically my subconscious goes through the most relevant of the points in the list of ’ 57 changes to improve your life ’ or any similar list of resolutions I might have made - looking for the most appropriate tip to apply that could make me happy/happiest at that moment. There’s ’start helping those around you’ and there’s ’smile and laugh more frequently’. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll sprint instantly to go check out that printer, or dive into another software to reset her password. But I (even if involuntarily) take my head up (yes, from the computer screen), smile, then say something reassuring them that their issue will be handled. Makes everything easier.  They are reassured and I end up not being disgruntled or passive towards them, but with a desire to keep my word and actually have no worry creating time to do that consequently. It’s win-win.The simple fact that faced with a decision we have consciously made the choice that made us happiest despite other (easier) options, is reason enough to stimulate happiness. The desire to be happy has that power to enable us make the choice that actually makes us happiest. Or at the very least, be happiest with the choices we make. 

Find reasons to smile. Never, ever suppress a laugh. Make the resolution to simply be happy, or add it to your list of resolutions, and it just might be the only one you need to remember. 

PS/ Making a list and forgetting it a few days later is not making a resolution. It’s taking a break from yourself.