Sonja Lyubomirksy, PhD, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, shares strategies that’ll make it happen.
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Telling friends or family about your biggest goals will help you stick to them and ups your chances of success.
Another proven strategy? Partner with a friend who can “take the journey with you,” Lyubomirsky notes.
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Be kind times five
Performing small acts of thoughtfulness makes others feel goodabout life and you. And chances are, they’ll reciprocate. Aim for five acts a daypreferably things you don’t typically do. So, you don’t usually take out the trash? Drag out that Hefty. You’ll be glad you did.
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Stare at your great life
Pull out photos of friends and family, favorite places you’ve traveled, your homeanything you find inspiring. Place them where you can steal a glance when you need to savor the positives.
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Stop the piles
Got so much going on you can’t keep track? Organizing pro Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing From the Inside Out, shares key strategies to streamlining a busy-beyond-belief life.
“One thing that stresses out my clients more than anything is piles of stuff that don’t have a home,” says Morgenstern. If you’re drowning in stacks of magazines, newspapers, and school notes, get baskets from Ikea and put them where your piles are for storage. It’ll be easy to stay organized, and the mess is out of sight—and mind. For every new thing that goes in, take out something old.
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Clear your desk
A messy desk is a reminder of what you haven’t completed.
Bring calm to your space by devising a filing system for everythingbills, receipts, even things that are “in progress.”
The more organized you are, the more in control you’ll feel when faced with your to-do list.
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De-clutter your bedroom
Keep the peace. “People often use their bedroom as a place to put things they don’t know where else to place,” says Morgenstern.
And piled up junk makes it hard to relax and get a good night’s rest (or even get romantic).
Haul that junk out to the garage or atticyou really won’t miss it.
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Love your date nights like you used to
Ah, date nights: It’s hard with your jobs, the kids, yada yada. Just do it, says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, author of Money, Sex & Kids.
“Choosing a really simple thing you did when you were first dating reminds you how much you can enjoy each other without a lot of fancy trappings,” says Tessina.
Plus, it will bring back happy memories. So hit that old haunt—whether it was a dive bar or a driving range.
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Enjoy a pre-date
Your date nights should reduce, not raise, your stress level. “You don’t want to be frazzled and then go out,” Tessina says.
So build in a “buffer zone.” Have the babysitter come early, then relax with music and unwind with your guy before you head out.
It’ll jump-start your night in the right direction!
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The objects in your home can create worry, says Ariane de Bonvoisin, author of The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier.
Remove photos from a tough time in your life and anything that makes you feel a negative emotion when you look at it.