Today is the first day of the new year.  It is a time for hope and reflection.  It is a time for potential and new beginnings.  Start investing in yourself by making small positive steps toward your personal satisfaction.  Start small.  Start easy.  Start today.

1.) Five minute meditation – For five minutes each morning, sit quietly and comfortably.  The goal is for five minutes of stillness.  Move and adjust as you must but aim for sitting as still as possible, breathing as slowly and deeply as possible.

2.) Start a gratefulness journal – Each day write three things you are grateful for in a notebook.  When you feel down, read over the many things you have been grateful for.

3.) Smile – Smile at strangers.  Smile at friends.  Smile at co-workers.  Smile at your family.  Not a smirk.  Not the go-ahead-and-take-the-picture-already smile.  Think of something positive and smile.  Bonus points: say something nice while you are at it.

4.) Say thank you – Did your kids bring their dishes into the kitchen without being asked?  Say thank you.  Did you kids bring their dishes into the kitchen without you having to bring out any torture devices?  Say thank you.  Sprinkle thanks around town generously.

5.) Turn off the news – The news is not about informing you.  It is about getting ratings.  Do you know the two most powerful draws to get more ratings?  Negativity and sensationalism!  Go ahead and check in on the news online but not daily and not for long periods of time.  Especially now in the 24/7 cycle of news, it is mostly repetition anyway and it will bring you down.

6.) Laugh – That’s it.  Just laugh.  Read a joke book.  Download a comedian.  Watch a funny movie.  Ask your family to tell a joke every night with dinner.  Bonus points: when something bad or frustrating happens, stop.  Breath.  Think about how funny of a story it will be once you stop being worked up . . . . . now why wait.  Start telling that funny story today.

7.) When the other person is talking, listen – Most of the time, most of us are thinking about what we are going to say next when the other person is speaking.  We aren’t really absorbing what they are saying.  We are just waiting for them to pause, so that we can start talking and give them a chance to think about what they are going to say next!

8.) Appreciate someone – take a few minutes every day and think about who you could appreciate today.  Your spouse?  Your children?  Your co-worker?  The guy at the lunch counter who always greets you with a friendly smile?  A customer?  Every day, let someone know that you appreciate them.  It can be a simple, I really appreciate the way  you. . . . . or it could be a thank you card in the mail.

9.) Read – Read one chapter (or more) of a book every day.  It can be a fun book or educational.  I recommend anything and everything be Dale Carnegie but it doesn’t really matter.  Just read something.  Anything.

10.) Learn from adversity – It really isn’t as hard as it sounds.  When things aren’t going your way, ask yourself what did you learn from this.  What should YOU do differently next time for a better result?  The keys are to focus on things you can do differently (not on what others should do differently) and on the future (not the past).

What small habits are you going to start working on?  What are you going to do to make 2016 a great year for you?