senior woman new year christmas

2020 has been challenging for everyone. And though sometimes the days can seem grim, each day and in every situation, we have a choice. We can choose to focus on the negative, or we can squeeze all the joy we can out of each moment.

Let 2021 be the year you choose joy!

Consider these fresh thoughts and ideas to fill your life with more happiness and joy:

Laugh at Least Once a Day

Laughter releases endorphins in the body and brings instant joy into your life. Need something to laugh about? Watch an old sit com, or get a book of jokes from the library.

Stay Grateful

Reflect on your daily blessings and find gratitude in them. Some people keep a gratitude journal and write down everything they are grateful for each day. It can change your life!

Find Creative Activities That Make You Happy

What do you enjoy? Tap into your natural passions with a new hobby that brings you pleasure. last year, I explored jewelry making, art journaling and basket weaving. I love them all!

Reconnect with Nature at Least Once a Week

It’s important to enjoy nature and find time to explore it. Plus, a half hour walk each day will lead to better health.

Volunteer to Help a Local Organization

Instead of writing a check and forgetting about the charity, connect with a local organization that needs help. Your heart will be filled with joy as you help others. Getting out of your self is a great way to add to your happiness.

Express Your Appreciation to Others

Ensure that others know you appreciate their efforts. Making them feel good makes you feel good too! One year, I wrote a nearly weekly note to people who had touched my life over the years. The notes were well received and made me feel great, too!

Clarify Your Priorities

Spending time on those activities that support what’s most important to you brings you satisfaction and fulfillment. With empty nests and changing relationships, now is the time to look at what is important to you. Many of us have spent our lives making others a priority in our lives. Now, you are the priority!

Organize Events with Friends

Your friendships can be a source of joy. Try to have a virtual coffee or tea, or take a walk with a friend at least once a week.

Get Enough Sleep

Researchers have found that getting enough sleep boosts happiness levels. Have trouble sleeping? Try some meditation CDs or soothing music at bedtime, instead of the computer or television.

Stay Present in the Moment

You can find joy in the little things by enjoying each moment of the day. Does your mind race around, thinking of what’s ahead or thinking about what’s behind?

It might be hard for you to just be present in the present moment. Practice for a few minutes at a time. Expand as you can. You will find your happiness expanding as well.

Keep Your Mind Active

An active mind avoids boredom, so you can find more joy. This might take the form of reading more, taking a course or learning something new. What are the things you have always been curious about, but never had enough time to pursue?

Make New Friends

New friendships instantly add joy to your life. Become more active at your church or senior center to meet some new people as soon as it’s safe.

Give and Accept More Hugs

Hugs can lift your mood, and researchers have found hugs have a positive impact on endorphin levels. Of course, hugs have become a commodity of the past, but we must not despair. Perhaps 2021 will be full of hugs!

Encourage the People Around You

As you encourage others and help them find happiness, your own joy will increase. Are there younger people in your career you can mentor? How about younger moms who need encouragement? Never waste an opportunity to speak a word of encouragement over someone else.

Smile More

Make smiling a priority and watch joy fill your life. Other people are attracted to a positive smile, too, albeit a masked one!

Create New Goals

Find happiness in new directions and goals. Set a goal to walk greater distances, or pick up a new language. The world is your oyster!

Reconnect with Lost Family Members

Have you drifted apart from family members? Rediscovering your bond will bring happiness to both of you.

Be Selfish!

Is it selfish to take time for yourself? After a lifetime of helping and serving others, this is your time for yourself. Take that bubble bath, get that pedicure, go on that retreat. Practicing good self-care is not selfish at all.

Think About Writing Your Memoir

Are there things you would like those who come after you to remember? Are there stories you want your children or nieces and nephews to cherish? Now is the time to preserve these precious memories for the future. You will enjoy remembering them and others will delight to read them.

Do Bold Things

Are there things you have been afraid to do, or felt a lack of self-confidence over? Guess what? As someone who has lived a full life, you have nothing to prove to others and nothing to lose. Be bold!

Speak out for causes you believe in. Tell others your feelings for them. Travel, when it’s safe to do so. Taking some risks to do bold things can lead to a fuller, fun life!

Forget about New Year’s resolutions. Try to reach for all the new year joy you can in the new year. Soaking the year in joy can transform your life!

How are you creating joyful thoughts for your new year? Please share in the comments below.