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10 Good Habits to Cultivate in 2012

You create a lot of unhappiness for yourself out of your impatience. Why not give yourself a break, enjoy the present moment and have more reasonable, realistic expectations of how long things should take? You'll be much happier, less anxious and more competent if you do this.
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In a recent article I described 10 bad habits to let go of in the coming year. Now I'd like to talk about 10 good habits to adopt in 2012 so that you can go into the year armed with some tools designed to bring you success and greater happiness.

The first habit to cultivate in the new year is patience. We're all in such a rush so much of the time and there are many negative consequences to this. Aside from not being able to enjoy the here and now, being impatient makes you more prone to errors and accidents. It also creates frustration when you don't get the results you want when you want them.

You create a lot of unhappiness for yourself out of your impatience. Why not give yourself a break, enjoy the present moment and have more reasonable, realistic expectations of how long things should take. You'll be much happier, less anxious and more competent if you do this.

The second good habit to develop in 2012 is moral courage. By this, I mean the ability to do the right thing, even when it's not easy to do so. There's been a lot of news coverage recently about a case in which young children were being abused while a number of adults knew about it but did nothing to stop it. Ultimately, it resulted in trauma for the children and serious legal trouble for the adults.

Moral courage is a very important value that we need to return to popularity. When more of us are willing to stand up for what's right and to speak out against what's wrong, many innocent people will be spared great suffering. Doing the right thing will enable you to sleep at night with a clear conscience and with pride in yourself for having ably risen to the occasion.

Deferred gratification is another trait to cultivate in the new year. By this I mean the ability to wait for things to pay off. If you're able to invest your time and energy wisely into projects that will bring you satisfaction in the future, you stand a much better chance of achieving enduring happiness than someone who tries the quick and easy route to success.

The fourth good habit on the list is perseverance. It can be a challenge to stick with your goals, especially if they're slow to achieve or difficult to bring to fruition. If you persevere, as opposed to giving in to the temptation to quit or to try something easier, you'll eventually be rewarded with success and fulfillment.

Self-acceptance is number five on the list of good habits to adopt in the coming year. It can be so easy to be self-critical or a perfectionist, but there's no advantage to any of this. In fact, cultivating an attitude of positive self-regard will support you in your goals. Loving and accepting yourself as you are right now will enable you to put your best foot forward in every situation. It will also allow you to let in love, care and support.

Following along the lines of number five is positive self-talk. The more you practice talking to yourself in a loving and supportive manner, the better you'll do and the happier you'll be. Positive self-talk will bring out the best in you, whereas critical self-talk can be discouraging, even potentially disabling.

When you eradicate the destructive messages of the "inner critic" and talk to yourself with the same kindness, patience and encouragement you offer to others, there's no way you can't succeed.

Kindness is number seven on the list of good habits to adopt in 2012. This is different from being an overly-nice people-pleaser. Being kind means being loving but honest with others; it means being generous but setting limits on how much you do for others and how much you'll tolerate from them.

True kindness is an empowered stance that has nothing to do with taking abuse. It's generosity arising from an over-flowing of self love. When you love and accept yourself, it's easier to love and accept others for who they are, but this doesn't mean accepting their bad behaviour.

Number eight on the list is having a healthy attitude. This means letting go of pessimism, victim consciousness, melodrama or the expectation that other people will solve your problems for you. A healthy attitude involves taking responsibility for yourself and your life, being willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals, not blaming anyone else for your problems and not feeling sorry for yourself when you experience difficulties.

A healthy attitude means being the adult in your life as opposed to a spoiled, hurt or angry child. It's recognizing that you're the only one who can make yourself happy and fix your problems and seeing that taking on these tasks will bring you a better, easier life.

The ninth good habit to cultivate in the new year is an aversion to drama. When you opt for a calm, peaceful existence, choosing only to associate with people who are polite, respectful, loving and reasonable, life is much easier and infinitely sweeter.

There are some folks out there who love nothing more than to create trouble. They pit people against each other and then sit back and enjoy the ensuing chaos. You have a choice whether or not to associate with these troublemakers, depending on whether you want a more or less stressful life in 2012.

Ruthless compassion is tenth on the list of good habits to cultivate in 2012. This philosophy of honesty and loving kindness can really pay off for you in the coming year. Facing the truth about yourself without harsh self-criticism will enable you to grow and change so that you can become your best self.

Facing the truth about the other people in your life will empower you to improve your good relationships and to let go of the toxic ones you've been engaging in. With ruthless compassion, you'll stop enabling the bad behaviour of other people and no longer tolerate disrespect. You'll stop protecting hurtful people from the consequences of their bad choices and you'll be able to conserve your energy for pursuing meaningful goals.

By cultivating some or all of these good habits in 2012, you can be sure that the coming year will bring you happiness, success and a lot less stress.