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How to be happier in 2014

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You know what? Life is supposed to make you happy. You’re not supposed to wake up every day dreading the hours ahead and dreaming of another life.

Happiness – in both your personal and professional life – comes down to one thing: YOU. You’re the common denominator here, so in 2014 perhaps it’s time to start doing things that can make you a happier person, and stop doing the things that are bringing you down.

Imagine what next year might bring if you…

START doing these things

1. Forget the drama

It is so easy to get caught up in the details of all the little things that you forget to see the bigger picture, so don’t make everything such a drama.

By creating drama we attract attention to ourselves that is negative and all wrong. This is not a recipe for happiness, only doubt and self-pity.

2. Look only to yourself for approval

This can be difficult in certain workplace scenarios, but at the end of the day you decide what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. And even when it feels like you don’t have a choice, you do!

Happiness isn’t something you can achieve by getting approval from other people – it only comes from within. So think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and if you’re not doing it for the right reasons, then stop.

3. Get out of your own way

Taking control of everything in our lives and maximising what power we do have – that’s what we all want, right? Well, you need to get out of your own way.

Self-control is a tricky thing, and whether it’s to do with wanting to drop a few kilos or give up a bad habit at work you’ve got to be able to allow yourself to de-stress and unwind in order to keep things on track. When it comes to willpower, you’ve got to give yourself breaks in order to achieve your goal.

I liken it to a diet – when you give yourself ‘cheat days’ you tend to be more successful in sticking to a healthier eating plan for longer. It’s the same at work – more breaks equals higher productivity.

STOP doing these things

1. Blaming other people

We know, we know – your employees aren’t living up to your expectations, right? Your supplier didn’t deliver the product on time? You just got so busy doing all this work for other people that you didn’t have time to meet that deadline?

It’s much easier to blame others for your problems, but it achieves nothing. Ask yourself why you feel the need to shift the blame elsewhere. Did you fail in telling your employee how to finish the task properly? Did you give your supplier a ridiculous and unrealistic deadline to meet?

True, sometimes other people are to blame – but the happiest people in the world know that the solution to their problems starts with themselves, not others.

2. Feeling sorry for yourself

Woe is you. Life is so hard. There’s never enough money, there’s always too much work to do and everyone is always on your case about everything.

Well, guess what? Every single other person, in some way, shape or form, is going through the exact same things as you. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck sometimes (I know it does) but moaning about it doesn’t help anything at all.

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, take responsibility for your actions and outcomes and come to terms with the fact that life is not fair. It doesn’t owe you anything. Emerge from this with a more positive attitude and get on with things.

3. Worry about things you have no control over

I’ll admit I struggle with this a lot, but there really is nothing you can do about bumper-to-bumper traffic, the internet deciding to crap out on you in the middle of doing your work, or lost airport luggage. It has happened already – move on!

Happy people know that next time any of the above happen they’ll be prepared by leaving earlier to miss traffic, saving their work elsewhere periodically and packing a few essentials in their carry-on.

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Rebecca Lewis
Editor
Human Resources Magazine Singapore

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