11 Simple-Yet-Powerful Changes That Set You Up For The Happiest Life Ever

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Learning how to be happy is not a stroke of luck, it is an art form. The more we do things that contribute to our own happiness and nurture our essential ingredients for happiness, the happier we are. Plain and simple.

But it may not seem so plain and simple at first. That's because most of us did not learn the recipe for happiness, let alone the essential ingredients. So how could we know how to nurture them? 

As we learned how to make our bed, tie our shoes, and get our homework done, we trained our focus on such tasks. But most of us were not taught how to wake up in the morning and create a spectacular day for ourselves, the kind that oozes happiness out of every crevice.

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Following these 11 tips will help you learn how to change your life and become the happiest version of yourself:

1. Claim all of it

First and foremost, you need to know that you are 100 percent responsible for your life — every last bit of it. Taking on this responsibility might sound like the opposite of carefree and happy, but it is only when we recognize that we are the creators of our lives that we become free to create what we truly want.

You can’t change your life to be happy if you don’t claim your life. So claim the power to create change as yours.

Does this mean you will also have to face what you have created that you do not want? Yes, but the payoff will outweigh any temporary discomfort, and you’ll grow even more by claiming all of yourself.

2. Know what makes you happy

How can you change your life to be happy if you don’t recognize what happiness is? Well, by practicing recognizing things that make you feel good! So, what brings you pleasure and happiness? Alone time or social time? A good home-cooked meal or enjoying take-out and a movie?

Becoming conscious of the things you most enjoy is the first step; doing them more often is the second. Start tracking the little things you do in your life that make you feel really good. If you’re someone who already does this, remember to check back in.

The essential ingredients of our happiness change over time, so we need to ask ourselves this question repeatedly throughout life.  

3. Focus on it

What you focus on grows. Too often, we often focus on what makes us unhappy, rather than the things that make our day better. Try changing this up and start focusing on the things that are working for you — large and small.

Notice how bringing your focus to the positive and productive things happening in your life (even if it is one, small thing!) makes the things that are “not working” seem much less important. Notice how, when you pay attention to what is working, you start to notice even more things that are working or how to make even more things work.

4. Eliminate what is not working

To make room for even more awesomeness in your life, you need to get rid of what is not working. This means everything from the superficial to the deep — from getting rid of clothes that do not suit you to ending relationships that no longer serve you.

If you do not get rid of what is no longer in service of your happiness, you will struggle to open up to even more happiness in your life. So, be brave and bold and let go of what is no longer supporting you. Make space for the good.

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5. Take care of yourself

It is essential that you are always taking care of your needs — physical, emotional, spiritual, and otherwise. There is no “you being happy” without a “you.” But it is even more than that. When you do not take care of yourself, you start to get depleted in both large and small ways.

The more depleted you are, the harder it is to make good choices. The harder it is to make good choices, the fewer good ones you make. And slowly, or even sometimes quickly, you wind up feeling like things are not quite what you hoped they would be.

If you find yourself here, don't worry. Pay attention to your self-care and you will get back on track.

6. Slow down

I have yet to meet the person who says to me, “My life went so slowly. I can hardly believe it.” However, I have heard more times than I can count that life is speeding by, and that they can’t believe how quickly time has passed.

Let’s take this as a cue and slow down to savor the good parts of our lives. Deliberately choose to pay attention to the savoriness in each moment of life to welcome in some more of its goodness.

You can do this by pulling yourself fully into every experience. Try it when you are eating something delicious or listening when talking to a friend. Every moment you savor is one more drop in your happiness bucket.

7. Dream of your future

While creating happiness in our present moment (regardless of circumstances) is perhaps the most important skill we can develop, dreaming of our future might be the most fun. Part of happiness is creating the life that we want to live, and what better way to do that than to imagine a future filled with the people and experiences that we most love?

Since time keeps moving forward, it is important to pause and think about what it is that we would like to see in our future, so that we can be more likely to create it.

8. Be kind to people, including yourself

Made a mistake? Be kind to yourself. In a bad mood? Be kind to the people around you. Remember how focusing on the positive things in our lives makes more of them, and makes the bad seem not-so-bad? Same deal here. Not to mention that being kind also feels good, which contributes to your overall happiness.

Do not leave yourself out of the kindness equation. I know quite a few people who go out of their way to be kind to others, but do not give themselves the same level of care.

When we are unable to be kind to others or ourselves, it often points to deeper unresolved issues that might continue to get in the way of our happiness. Don’t be afraid to ask for help as you work on these.

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9. Tell the truth

The truth keeps your integrity and connects you to others. When we feel good about ourselves and feel a sense of connection with others, we feel happier.

It is hard to feel happy with a guilty conscience or a sense that we have acted in a way that we are not proud of. Very often this comes in the form of some kind of dishonesty. When we make a point of kindly and compassionately telling the truth, we open up the door to new levels of happiness.

10. Start the day on a positive note

The first few moments of your day make a real imprint on how the rest of it goes. Start with a moment of quiet, affirmation, journaling, or any other practice that helps you start your day centered and focused.

If you do this, it can shift your entire life, day by day. It is also helpful to take this positivity practice to other “starts” in your life — a project, a new relationship, a trip to the store. The more we can apply positive intention to our direction, the more likely we are to end up there.

11. Say “thank you”

Whether it be to yourself, your partner, your child, a co-worker, or a kind stranger — express your gratitude for what is working as often as possible. Expressing your appreciation will immediately make you and the other person feel more positive.

It also reinforces the liked behavior so that you are more likely to see more of it. Being a more grateful person helps you feel happier in each moment of your day, regardless of the circumstances.

No matter where you start, happiness will come to you the more you are willing to open the door to it. It does not take a complex formula. Simple actions make important shifts in your life.

Change your life to be happy by attending to every moment of your life, living in kindness and integrity, and taking care of yourself. Pretty soon you will be one of the happiest people you know, and how great will that be?

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Dr. Kate Siner is a teacher, mentor, and author who has appeared on NBC, ABC, Fox, and other major network affiliates to talk about spiritual and personal development. She’s spoken on WPRO, MX Talk of the Town, Consciousness Network, and TalkStream Radio.

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