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5 Simple Ways to Create More Happiness in Your Life

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Want more happiness in your life? Here are five ways to be happier every day.

woman smiling

There are things we can do to create more happiness in our life. Today I'll share 5 ways to do just that.

But first, think about this question:

If you had to choose between happiness and wealth and choosing one meant giving up the other, which would you choose?

Choose wealth, and you’ll be able to buy everything you want, but you’ll never escape your unhappiness.

Choose happiness, and you’ll wake up every day filled with joy but struggle to make ends meet.

What would you do? I would choose happiness over wealth every day.

And here's why:

Worries about money are easier to bear when other areas of life bring you joy and happiness.

If you're doomed to a life of wealth - with no chance of happiness - spending every dollar you have on material things may make your life comfortable, but you'll always be unhappy.

Life can be so much better than simply existing in a state of permanent unhappiness.

How We Feel is More Important Than What We Accumulate

I believe our quality of life is fueled more by how we feel than what we accumulate.

A $5,000 sofa provides a comfortable place to sit, but it doesn’t fundamentally change how you feel about yourself.

If you’re unhappy before you sit on the sofa, you’ll still be unhappy afterward.

Spending money can buy physical comfort and convenience, but it won’t end the search for happiness.

A better strategy is to create happiness by changing your thoughts and actions.

5 Ways to Be Happier Every Day

While we can't control everything, there are things we can do to create a happier life. In the list below, you'll find five ways to be happier:

1. Find more of the good in life.

Think about the last week, can you something that went wrong or something you wish had turned out differently? Chances are good that you were able to think of something. We sometimes view life through a lens that focuses on the negative things happening around us. The tendency to focus on the bad is referred to as the negativity bias. That bias causes us to notice and react more to negative events than positive ones. This bias is why we’re affected more by criticism than compliments. It also explains why we worry more about what could go wrong than what could go right. Here's the thing:

You can turn around negative thinking. You can do this by focusing on the good things in life, rather than the bad. You can also offset a negative thought by replacing it with a positive thought. Whatever technique you choose, put more mental energy into appreciating the positive things happening in your day and mentally distance yourself from the negative.

2. Quit comparing your life to someone else’s.

You'll never win the battle of comparisons.

When you compare your life to someone else’s, you tend to skew the comparison by choosing things you believe you don't have, then comparing yourself to someone you believe has those things. Whether it’s on looks, money, career, or some other measure, we compare ourselves and our lives to people who have what we believe we’re missing.

What's the result of those unbalanced comparisons? Disappointment, resentment, and jealousy. No matter what's going on in our lives, comparing our lives to others puts us in an unhappy state of mind. The more often we compare, the unhappier we become.

Here's a technique I use to break comparisons (and other negative thoughts):

I break the thought by imagining myself hitting a big stop button. Hitting that button, even though it's only in my mind, is jarring and takes my mind away from my current thought. I think of this as a way to free my brain to think about something else.

After pressing the button, I'll think about something positive instead. It could be a happy moment in my day or something that I'm grateful for. In my own life, I've found that it's much easier to be happy and invest my energy into being my best self when I'm not distracted by fruitless distractions.

3. Set meaningful goals that motivate you.

What's the first rule of goal setting?

Always set goals that are meaningful to you. Not goals that are meaningful to someone else, even if that someone else is someone important in our life.

Meaningful goals motivate you. Meaningless goals do not. To paraphrase a popular cliche, "Energy flows where the mind goes." You put more energy and effort into goals that motivate you, and less into those that don't.

If your neighbor thinks you should plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, but you don’t enjoy gardening, should you plant a garden?

No. Your neighbor’s goal doesn’t mean anything to you. Why spend time creating a garden you don’t want?

The only goals we're motivated by are the ones that are meaningful to us.

You have the power to set goals that motivate you. Use that power to create a life that makes you happy.

4. Spend time with people who treat you well.

A long-term study of happiness conducted by Harvard found that one of the most important predictors of well-being was strong relationships with friends, family, and your spouse. The research showed that people with close social relationships tended to be happier, healthier, and live longer.

To improve the quality of your life, spend time cultivating good relationships with other people. If you have toxic people in your life - people who make you feel bad about yourself or bring negativity into your life - set boundaries to protect yourself. You can learn more about how to deal with toxic relationships here and here. Carve out time every day to build stronger relationships with the people you care about. You'll create experiences that will make life more meaningful, and happier too.

5. Quit trying to be perfect.

It’s unhealthy to believe that anything short of perfection isn’t good enough.

When perfection is our goal and the only outcome we accept, we're setting ourselves up for a life of unhappiness.

It’s one thing to seek out ways to improve, it’s another to reject anything short of perfection. Perfection is unsustainable over the long term. It isn't realistic. Unlike robots, humans aren't wired for perfection.

You can’t control everything around you. And you can’t guarantee a perfect outcome when you can’t control the inputs that lead to that outcome.

The first step in letting go of perfectionism is to accept the idea you're not required to be perfect. The next step is to identify what you can control in your life and what you can’t, then set your goals accordingly. You have every right to enjoy feelings of accomplishment, even when the results aren't perfect.


At the end of the day, happiness is really about letting go of thoughts and actions that make you unhappy, so you create more room for what does make you happy.

And when you figure out what does make you happy, do more of it.

What do you do to bring more happiness into your life? Share your ideas with me at anita (@)

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