New Year, New Beginning: The Only 3 Things You Need To Do To Be A Better Person This Year

I sought to title this article, "How To Be Happy For Dummies," but I quickly concluded that, considering I'm not a writer of the book series, this may have sounded arrogant and even slightly offensive. You may have tapped into this link in anticipation of being enlightened on how to be luminously happy, how to pull yourself up and out of the trenches of whatever hole you've been hopelessly trudging in for some time.

Maybe you expected to skim across another empty editorial about why going to the gym should be your number one priority this year, since you unequivocally failed to do it the preceding year. In either case, well, could you be any less optimistic about the New Year? (I'm only slightly joking.) Rather than build up the hype and anticipation around your New Year's resolutions and whether you will or won't let yourself down this time around, we're giving your self-esteem and self-respect a nudge in a positive direction.

In the grand scheme of life, and under the pressure of any New Year's resolution you may have already handcuffed yourself to for an indefinite period of time (more like three days...), there is one main goal: to better the self. Maybe you want to put in more effort at work this year because you've been feeling pretty worthless about your ridiculous lack of work ethic the past few months.

There's also a high chance you are one of those people who's tired of looking in the mirror and squeezing your belly into the shape of a face while doing your best impression of Homer Simpson. Hell, maybe you just want to be less of a dick in 2014 than you were in 2013. Whatever goals you may have set for yourself, the root of all resolution is within the self. In order to incite change, aka fulfill any resolution, we must act. The only way we act, is with motivation from within -- thus, bringing us back to the idea that unless we desire change, "ain't nobody got time for that!"

So, my bewildered, tired, overworked, fuzzy friends, let's make this simple. Here are the three effortless and rewarding resolutions you need to adopt in 2014:

Be A Little Selfish

Have you been feeling completely disregarded by those you pay favor to? It's as if you never receive gratitude or recognition for the good you do for others. It's not that you're looking to be acknowledged and rewarded for every good deed you choose to do out of the good of your heart; rather, it's the blatant truth that no matter how much good you put out into the world, it seems to go completely unnoticed. It's the disheartening realization that you've put so much on the table, given so much to bettering the lives of those around you, it's expected of you.

Your good deeds are no longer garnering attention and shining light on your genuine intentions because it's in your nature. Despite wanting to be respected and acknowledged for helping others, if you cease your habit of being a generally giving and selfless person, you won't feel yourself. After all, acknowledgement isn't the reward you're looking for; it's the warm, satisfying feeling of having done something to improve someone else's misfortune.

You, you good doobie, you, I challenge you to focus more on yourself in 2014. Strike a balance between selflessness and selfishness. Of course, don't parade around as if you're the only person in the world, completely inconsiderate of everyone and everything else, holding a grudge against those who show you no appreciation for your good soul -- not that you even have it in your nature to act as such. Instead, bask in moments of solitude. Thrive on the time you get to spend with yourself, completely disconnected from the outside world.

Enjoy your guilty pleasures. Don't feel so pressured to be there for everyone at every beck and call. While it might be in your nature to feel it necessary to run to the rescue when a friend or family member is in need, pick and choose your sacrifices. You are only one person; you can only do so much. Learn to live for yourself while also considering those who matter -- it isn't impossible. You will never find the utmost happiness if you're living to ensure that everyone else is content. What about you? Who makes certain that you're happy?

Embrace All That Life Hands You

Take in both the negative and positive for what it is. Don't play victim when things go wrong. Sure, the stars align for some people (yeah, you, everyone notices the way circumstances always fall in your favor), but others experience something notoriously known as tough times. Everyone endures tough times. Don't lose yourself under the ambiguity of a dark cloud when it passes over. No feeling is final. Embrace these experiences for what they're worth. Learn something from the negative: be stronger, smarter, more mature, more carefree, more loving -- you don't know who you really are until you've been tried.

The beautiful moments are easy to live with, but in moments of bliss, we forget to lock them in. Don't take the people in your life for granted. Love the sh*t out of them! Ask yourself why you've being so nasty to your boyfriend or girlfriend lately. Promise yourself to stop fighting with your mother or father, who you butt heads with so frequently because you're too much alike.

Take in every moment of pleasure, rather than just letting it pass you by. Make it a memory. Listen in on good conversations; remember the witty, questionable and stoic statements people make. Savor every bite of the best meal you've had in a while like it will be your very last. Take advantage of time spent with family; get to know them better.

Lose yourself in a piece of pop culture. There's so much beauty in life, yet it's so overshadowed by the negatives we experience. Why? It's how our minds work. We mull over the things we wish we could change and for that, we sacrifice the gifts; we undervalue the blessings. Be more appreciative of the good, and the bad won't seem so omnipresent.

Believe In Everything

Don't be another cynic this world doesn't need. Allow the uncertainty of life to entertain you and keep you interested. What will you ever have to look forward to if you don't believe in the possibility of good falling at your feet when it's least expected? Again, don't let negatives turn you into a nonbeliever in the possibility of positives. Bad things do happen to good people -- it's the way of life.

Fate is completely out of our hands, yet we should never fear it. Come what may, always believe in the possibility of the future. Everyone has dreams and ambitions. Maybe you haven't attained yours quite yet, but it doesn't mean you never will. You never know what will happen next. Whatever other looming resolutions you may have presented yourself with, don't look at them as barriers, or obstacles; view them as milestones, which you will complete but aren't quite there yet.

Be open! Be willing to work towards new goals and believe that you can achieve them. An open mind, a positive mind, can rule the world.

Photo credit: Doing Show