1. If there is too much on your plate, pick out the stuff you actually like eating and throw the rest away. While throwing away real food is wasteful, throwing away activities you do not even like doing ensures that you do not end up wasting yourself.
2. Your comfort zone exists for a reason, it is a starting point for knowing who you are. Whether you are happy or unhappy, you cannot change or grow if you have no idea about who you are at that moment. Your comfort zone defines you.
3. Happiness maybe a picture of a woman meditating on a beach, but, for most of us, it is knowing the core of our being. And, living your life fulfilling that core. Whether your core aspires to live a quiet life meditating on a beach or fulfil its dreams of being a rock singer, you have to know what it wants first.
4. Know that what you desire may not be what you are meant to do. I do not particularly believe in destiny, but I do believe that often the reason that we hold back from fulfilling our dreams is because we are afraid of failing at them. But, it is way better to have taken piano lessons and finding out whether you suck at it or not, than spending your whole life thinking that it would have been much better had you taken piano lessons.
5. Know that happiness is hard work. You may think happiness means that everything in life will become easier for you, but no. Happiness is a full-time job, though it may pay much more than your current one.
6. Know that hard work doesn’t have to mean that it is hard. Speaking of those piano lessons you may be taking, do not think you will be a Debussy the moment you set your fingers to the keys. There will be endless hurdles on your way(buying the expensive instrument, making time and money to afford lessons, practising your scales everyday, learning songs, composing your own music, getting over nerves to play in front of people, etc, etc.). But, even though it may be stressful, challenging and frustrating, it will be the kind of hard work that will actually make you want to wake up in the morning instead of turning in your bed when the alarm rings.
7. Know that love is the greatest(and perhaps,only) motivator to do anything. Remember the first time you fell in love? Yes, yes you do, no matter how much you try to shove it under the carpet. It was embarrassing, but boy were you motivated. The day had 26 hours and all of them were dedicated to numerous love-related activities. If you can apply this to your life now, even if it isn’t about another person(we are quite capable of loving animals, music, literature etc), wouldn’t it make your life way more bearable, and dare I say it, happy?
8. Do not do one thing that scares you everyday, do one thing that you have never done, once in a while. I am a highly neurotic person with my list of fears clearly etched in my brain(they mostly co-incide with Woody Allen’s). Now, not only would it be impossible for me to overcome these once everyday, (or a good seven years,) even if I manage to do them, I would be a completely different person by next week. Instead, focus on trying something new as often as you can. Because there is no baggage of fear or confidence, you might actually discover a new side of you. Leave your fears to therapy.
9. Know that if perfectionism existed, we would have actual gods among us. Whatever your religious beliefs(or lack of), you know that if someone had complete control over any given aspect of their life, there would be something bizarre and supernatural about them. Which is why, nobody is perfect. Everyone has real and virtual warts. Loving someone or yourself, “warts and all” applies to everyone of us.
10. Rather than feeling burdened by expectations, laugh at the randomness of life. There has to be a time when “I” stop, you know? And you don’t know when it is. It is a random number, just like most events in your life. And since you cannot do anything about it, might as well not take it so seriously. Which does not mean you tilt too much on the other side either. But, knowing that there are things you cannot control, isn’t it wonderful when there is one less thing to worry about?
Bonus: While there are many other things you can do to be happy, remember that happiness is a blanket term for what is felt differently by different people. Instead of trying to define happiness and what it should be, find out what it means to you.