Priorize happiness

Every time I go to the computer, I have a little ritual before I get working.
First, I play a few games of free cell (usually until I win one). Then I check the weather and the humidity (humidity affects my eyesight), followed by my e-mails.
And then I plan.
They are all fun things, but the most fun thing of all is planning. I’m a natural-born list-maker, so making lists of goals and planning what to do next are my cup of tea!
That’s why I was intrigued by the title of Debbie Ford’s book, “The Best Year of Your Life: Dream It, Plan It, Live It.” After all, that’s what I’ve been doing for years!
Each New Year’s, I tweak my long-term goals and I’m always revising my short-time ones.
Unfortunately, some goals—such as “be on time”—have been on my list for years without results. But some, such as “write a syndicated column,” took only four years from concept to fruition.
It seems that many people don’t write goals at all. They just do instead of making lists. And that’s OK–when you’re young.
But the longer you live, the less time you have to accomplish important things. So a book like Ford’s could become very important as you plan your future.
Dream it, plan it, and live it, says Ford.
Dreaming comes first. Envision what you really want, then plan how to get there. And living the dream is the final goal.
You can make this the best year of your life no matter what is going on around you, says Ford. “It is yours for the taking.”
You get to choose your actions—and the most important action, she says, is to “priorize happiness.” Then everything else will fall in place.
What an interesting idea!
Actually, the whole book is about happiness. Dream about happiness, plan for happiness, and live happy.
And don’t for one second think that priorizing your personal happiness is selfish. Far from it! You only can spread happiness when you’re happy yourself.
The most important thing you can do is to pursue happiness, so that you have lots of happiness to give away!
The meat of the book is six shortcuts to happiness. Shortcuts you easily can follow if you choose.
Shortcut #1 is “making happiness the priority.” And the last shortcut is “deciding to be happy.” In between those two bookends are four shortcuts that will ensure happiness if you follow them, such as being grateful and letting go of judgments.
Happiness is a choice, says Ford, just as unhappiness is a choice. Happiness doesn’t come to you—you have to pursue it!
But why would anyone deliberately choose unhappiness? The right choice is obvious. But like any choice, it takes work and determination to be successful.
Deciding to be happy, says Ford, is deciding to slice through the seemingly impenetrable layers of mistrust, meanness, and misunderstandings of life.
So there you have it – happiness or unhappiness. Which will it be?
Whatever your age or whatever your circumstances, why not make this moment the beginning of the best year of your life.
Dream it, plan it, live it by “priorizing happiness” today!
Write Marie Snider at