When my husband of 15 years left me for our 25-year-old nanny, I thought I would never be happy again. I took the advice of my best friend and hired a coach to help me pick up the pieces of my life.
With the support of my coach, I began a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Coaching saved my life – both personal and professional. Through coach training, I learned to find my happiness again. By helping others through coaching, I was healing the trauma of my divorce.
Fast forward five years, I’m now a Confidence Coach for women in tech. My mission is to accelerate equality in the tech industry by empowering women. I’ve helped company presidents, co-founders, CFOs, and software engineers design happier lives using science-based tools.
The Gallup 2022 Global Emotions Report showed a global rise of unhappiness due to war, inflation, and the pandemic. But the Gallup 2023 Global Emotions Report paints a happier picture where the world feels more rested, experiences more enjoyment, and smiles or laughs more than in the previous year.
Would you like to get more happiness in your life? Check out my top seven tips to make yourself happy in 2024.
Establish a gratitude practice.
There is a direct link between gratitude and happiness. Expressing gratitude helps you feel more positive emotions, savour good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and strengthen your relationships. Start a gratitude practice with your bestie where you text each other three things you are grateful for each day. It can be little things. One of my clients started one with her 6-year-old son at bedtime. And she is now much happier. What are you grateful for?
Tame your inner critic.
According to the science of Positive Intelligence, your inner critic is your judge saboteur. Simply notice your judge when it rears its ugly head to reduce its power over your life. I think of my judge as a dominatrix sitting on my shoulder whipping me and saying things like, “you sound stupid” or “you will fail”. Personify your judge; give it a persona or name to weaken it even more. How much happier would you feel if you stopped criticizing yourself?
Set healthy boundaries.
Boundaries protect your emotional and physical well-being while maintaining authentic connections with others. Boundaries can be physical, emotional, material, time, intellectual, or energy. If you are highly empathetic, it can be hard to say “no”, and to advocate for yourself. But, by prioritizing your needs and putting your own oxygen mask on first, you show up the best for your loved ones. Should you set a boundary?
Be warm and understanding to yourself even when you mess up. Speaking kindly to yourself helps you bounce back from challenges quicker, boosting your resilience and your happiness. You have access to a powerful source of support – YOU – 24/7. What if you showed yourself the same love and compassion you give to your family and friends?
Create a fitness habit.
Making fitness a part of your daily routine will significantly increase your happiness. It improves your mood, mental health, and sleep, and gives you more energy. Your clothes fit better. When you feel comfortable in your own skin, you have the confidence to go after what makes you happy. Physical activity increases your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters – endorphins. Get off the couch and get your sweat on for yourself, your family, and your community. What are you doing to stay active?
Mindfulness is a powerful tool for enhancing well-being, reducing stress, and improving mental health. Tap into your body using any of your senses to get out of your negative thoughts. Meditation, the cornerstone of mindfulness, involves sitting still and observing your thoughts without judgment. Regular meditation improves memory, attention span, and cognitive function. It strengthens the neural connections in your brain, fostering resilience and emotional stability. How can you create more mindful moments throughout your day?
Learn to fail fast.
Get busy failing in small ways to stop ruminating on your shortcomings. Take actions instead of overthinking. Get outside your comfort zone and try new things. For example, I decided to tackle my fear of public speaking by joining Toastmasters. During my first speech, I completely lost my train of thought. But I recovered. You learn by failing. You gain knowledge and experience to fail a little bit less next time. Reframe failure as feedback. Do the things that scare you. What’s one bold action you could take today?
You are in charge of your own happiness. Don’t expect others to make you happy. Make 2024 your happiest year yet. By improving your own happiness, you will spread more happiness into the world.
Cheers to a happy 2024.
Anna Gradie, B.A., ACC, CPHR, is a former co-founder/COO of an EdTech company and now a Confidence Coach. She helps women in tech 10X their confidence, accelerate their performance, and build stronger relationships. You can sign up for Anna’s free weekly newsletter on her website.