1 Simple Way to Be Happy in the New Year

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Over the holiday, I left my bed unmade a lot the first few days. What the hey, I figured, no one's coming over. And then, I discovered something. I got pretty grumpy. Could it be that walking past my bedroom, seeing my unmade bed, was what was bringing it on? That's ridiculous. Turns out, not so much. It's exactly right on.

Whether your guru's Flylady or The Happiness Project or Zen Habits, they all suggest doing small chores around the house. Forget about it, you may sniff, but small things — from keeping your sink clean to making your bed to organizing your closet — can make a big difference in how you feel by giving you a sense of competence and accomplishment, a feeling of well-being and all is right with the world even before you even walk out the door.

Walking past my bedroom and seeing the bed made (whether the clothes are put away or not) makes me feel all is right with the world. I like to follow Flylady's advice on this one and pick one thing that will have a high impact in each room: making the bed in the bedroom; keeping the sink clean in the kitchen; in the bathroom, I keep the toilet lid down; I keep the coffee table clear in the living room, the table clear in the dining area and the landing strip neat. Six small chores that take a grand total of less than seven minutes. I think it's a good swap for happiness. What small chore will you chose to keep at this year? You don't even have to do six. One will do.

Image: Daryl & Jenna's Playful Pad