By Susannah Felts and Kimberly Holland
September 03, 2001
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Thayer Allyson GowdyReady to make your life even more fabulous in 2010? Sonja Lyubomirksy, PhD, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, shares strategies thatll make it happen.

Do it Better!
Go public. Telling friends or family about your biggest goals for the new year 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.

Be kind times five. Performing small acts of thoughtfulness makes others feel good—about life and you. And chances are, theyll reciprocate. Aim for five acts a day—preferably things you dont typically do. So, you dont usually take out the trash? Drag out that Hefty. Youll be glad you did.

Stare at your great life. Start the year off right by pulling out photos of friends and family, favorite places youve traveled, your home—anything you find inspiring. Place them where you can steal a glance when you need to savor the positives.

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Do it Faster!

De-clutter your home (and mind!)
Got so much going on you cant keep track? Organizing pro Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing From the Inside Out, shares three key strategies to streamlining a busy-beyond-belief life in …

Your living room
Stop the piles. “One thing that stresses out my clients more than anything is piles of stuff that dont have a home,” says Morgenstern. If youre drowning in stacks of magazines, newspapers, and school notes, get baskets from Ikea and put them where your piles are for storage. Itll 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.

Your office
Clear your desk. A messy desk is a reminder of what you havent completed. Bring calm to your space by devising a filing system for everything—bills, receipts, even things that are “in progress.” The more organized you are, the more in control youll feel when faced with your to-do list.

Your bedroom
Keep the peace. “People often use their bedroom as a place to put things they dont know where else to place,” says Morgenstern. And piled up junk makes it hard to relax and get a good nights rest (or even get romantic). Haul that junk out to the garage or attic—you really wont miss it.

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Do it easier!

Love your date nights
Ah, date nights: its hard with your jobs, the kids, yada yada. Just do it, says Tina B. Tessina, PhD, author of Money, Sex & Kids. Two fun tips:

Do it like you used to. “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.

Enjoy a pre-date. “You dont 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. Itll jump-start your night in the right direction!

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Instant Joy Tricks!

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.

Create an instant chalkboard:Chalkboard paint has gone beyond your basic black. You can now get that fun finish in any color with Hudson Paint Color Chalkboard Paint ($24.99 per quart). Turn your kitchen wall into a colorful chalkboard for phone messages, menu planning, anything!