It's that time of the year when most of us spend a little time thinking about the year ahead and planning things we would like to achieve. How often have we made our "list", do we then either fail miserably in the first month or when we get to the end of the year we can't remember what we wanted to achieve! Well, this year let's make happiness our focus both for ourselves, our family and friends. So here are some happy thoughts:

Do one thing at a time.
Multitasking doesn't make you more efficient but it does stress you out. If your focus is fragmented you'll likely find yourself getting anxious. Organise your activities into time chunks e.g. work, social, home, kids and then commit to being totally focussed in that time slot and see what happens.

Use the stairs!
Take 5 minutes to run up the stairs either in the office or your home. If you're tired but climb the stairs for 10 minutes a day, at pace, you get a bigger energy boost than having that extra cup of coffee to keep you alert. Getting fitter will make you happier.

Decorate your home with your family.
No, I don't mean "physically decorate" your home, I mean display items that are connected with your families past. Hang pictures from your history, grandparents wedding photo, your parents when they were young, you and your brothers and sisters. Ornaments and gifts which were given to you by a family member. Looking at these items will bring back happy memories from years gone by.

Plan a holiday.
People who holiday at least twice a year have a lower heart attack risk than those that do so rarely. Researchers have found that even thinking about an upcoming holiday can boost happiness for several weeks. When you return from your break always be planning the next one!

In the times we live in it's an ideal opportunity to volunteer and aid others that might need help. It might be an animal shelter or your local care home or maybe help clean up your local park. Volunteering regularly has been shown to lead to less stress in your life and lower blood pressure. So why not use this time to jump-start a long-term personal commitment.

How about trying one new exercise move.
You most certainly do not need to go to the gym to become fitter and happier. For some people the thought of going to the gym makes them break out into a sweat before doing any exercises! Some people don't go because they're not sure what to wear! A simple walk for 15 minutes a day, maybe park the car in the furthest away parking bay from the store you're visiting. Instead of using transport use your feet. It is simple and effective to do basic exercises in the privacy of your bedroom, maybe 5 minutes first thing in the morning and just 5 minutes in the evening. There are a whole host of simple exercises from squats to push-ups to body stretches and all easy to measure improvements as each day goes by.

Play upbeat music.
Playing any happy making tunes can work multiple mind-body wonders, including reducing pain during exercise, elevating mood and lowering stress. So build a playlist of any music that raises your spirit and makes you happy.

And finally, spend less time glued to your phone!

In a recent survey, 83% of people said they simply had no idea how long they spent on their devices. But short of deleting all social apps it can be hard to trade screen time for more productive pastimes like walking the dog and coffee with friends. So no more taking your phone in the bathroom with you. Have 1 hour not connecting with your phone in the morning, 1 hour in the afternoon and 1 hour in the evening and of course stop taking that phone to bed with you. You'll notice a very major difference quite quickly to your happiness levels!

I'd just like to wish you all a wonderfully happy 2019 and don't forget to make happiness your focus for this year.