1. RELISH THE LITTLE THINGS.
Take a moment every day to pay closer attention to what's around you, like the petals on a newly bloomed flower in your garden, or the dreamy way the light is hitting your bedroom wall. By carving out a little time every day to appreciate the small stuff, you'll always have something to smile about.
2. LET GO OF PERFECTIONISM.
Your house isn't always going to be immaculately clean. A vacation might not turn out exactly how you pictured. Your junk drawer is never going to get organized. Rather than focusing on what's going wrong, focus on what's going right, like that you finally found the time to clean out that pesky cupboard, or that you managed to get all your family members in the same place at the same time!
3. TAKE A STEP BACK.
You know those situations when you're inexplicably happy, yet plagued by the impending dread that the moment will end all too soon? Instead of letting those negative thoughts cloud your mind, take a few seconds to really focus on the sights, sounds, and smells around you. You'll create a more permanent picture to think back upon—and smile about—later.
4. PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN.
Though some of us might be better at this than others, we're all at least a little bit guilty of looking at our smartphones more than we should. At least once a day, resist the urge to check that latest email, text, or Facebook post, and grab a book or magazine instead (or, actually use your phone to call an old friend and catch up!).
5. LIVE IN THE MOMENT.
If you're hosting a dinner party, don't worry about the clean up you'll need to do afterwards. If you're enjoying a coffee date with friends, try not to think about what state your house might be in when you get back. Have fun with what you're doing, while you're doing it. Worry about the rest later.
6. SET A MONTHLY GOAL.
Fact: Time always goes so much faster than we want it to, and it's all too easy to say, "February is so busy, I'll tackle that project in March." At the start of each month, pick one thing you want to accomplish before the next one. Do you want to start cleaning out a messy closet? Is it time to start planning what to add to your garden this year? Set one goal that you know you can achieve in the next few weeks, write it down on a piece of paper, and prominently display it somewhere where you'll have to see it every day, like in the corner of your entryway mirror. By reminding yourself of your goal on a daily basis, you'll be more likely to carve out time for it—and you'll end your month with at least one important project crossed off your list.
7. GET RID OF WHAT YOU DON'T NEED OR USE.
Yes, we know you love that old sweater, but when was the last time you actually wore it? Gather up clothes or any other miscellaneous items around your house (kitchen gadgets, books) that you simply don't need anymore and donate them. Not only will you be creating more space for items that you really do need, but you'll be giving those items to people who can actually get some use from them. Plus, you'll be surprised at how freeing downsizing can be.
8. DARE TO DIY.
As advocates of anything you can make yourself, we love the idea of getting our hands dirty. Whether you're a seasoned DIYer or someone who has never dabbled in crafting before, try out a new project or two this year. Even if it's something as small as hanging a frame, we guarantee you'll feel a sense of pride when it comes to tackling—and finishing—a project with your own two hands.
9. GET CREATIVE IN THE KITCHEN.
Let 2016 be the year of innovative eating! Pick one new ingredient a week, and create a recipe around it. Or just test out a new recipe you've been meaning to try. You might find a new family favorite!