Most people spend their lives waiting for happiness. They cling to the idea that as soon as they get that job, as soon as they lose those last few pounds, as soon as they’re in a great relationships, then the gates will open and happiness will come rushing on through. Most people are misinformed. Happiness isn’t something that just happens, it’s something you need to actively pursue. True happiness doesn’t come from wealth or beauty or status or anything external, it comes from within.

Love and romance

In order to find true happiness in life, you need to work on yourself and make a few adjustments to the way you live your life. These tweaks are actually pretty simple and if you do it right, you will attain the kind of genuine happiness most people spend their lives pursuing.

Here are 11 tips to find true happiness:

1. Don’t Rely On Other People to Make You Happy. Relying on other people to make you happy will leave you endlessly disappointed. The reason most people feel unhappy in their lives is they expect other people to give them things that they can only give themselves. Think about it- if you continually outsource the task of filling a void and finding happiness, you will never be fully satisfied, instead you’ll be at the mercy of everyone you meet.

Only you can control how happy you are and how you feel about yourself. Stop blaming people for “making” you feel a certain way. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and accept responsibility for your own happiness and your sense of self-worth.

2. Conquer the Green Monster. Jealousy is one of the most destructive qualities a person can possess. In life you will inevitably come across people who are better looking, more successful, funnier, richer, etc., but who cares? I’m sure you have qualities that they’re lacking. No good can ever come from envying what someone else has, it will just make you bitter and jaded.

3. Be Genuinely Happy for Other People. This relates to not being jealous. If someone you know comes upon some good fortune- an amazing job, an incredible guy, a huge raise–be happy for them. They didn’t take anything away from you, and they probably struggled just like most people do on the quest to get what they want. If you put in the work, you’ll reap the same reward eventually. Remember, blowing out someone else’s candle will not make yours burn brighter.

4. Be Nice to People. You know who’s mean? Unhappy people, that’s who. Happy people feel good about themselves and about life and want to make other people feel good as well. Doing acts of kindness actually causes a chemical reaction that makes you feel really good. You can do little things, like smiling at strangers or giving up your seat on the subway for an old lady, or big things like volunteer work. For extra credit, try not to talk negatively behind someone’s back, or gossip. While it may seem fun, no one ever really feels good about bashing someone else.

5. Be Grateful. There’s a saying that goes: Happiness isn’t having what you want, but wanting what you have. Most of us are trained to look at what’s wrong in our lives, rather than what’s right. We yearn for a better job, a better relationship, better friends, a better body–we hone right on on what’s missing and overlook what’s right there in front of us. Try to change your filter system and instead zoom in on things to be grateful for.

6. Accept That Which You Cannot Change. There are certain things you can’t change. You can’t change your upbringing, your height, your general appearance. You also can’t change the past. All you can do is move forward and try not to repeat the same mistakes. Don’t waste your energy thinking about what a crappy lot in life you got. Instead, focus on what you have and on how you can develop these qualities to reach your full potential.

7. Do something About That Which You Can Change. If you need to lose weight, hate your friends, are miserable at your job….do something about it! The surest way to feel good about yourself is to push yourself to go beyond what you thought you were capable of. Change isn’t easy, but you only live once and no one is going to live your life for you. It’s up to you to find the strength and motivation to take the steps to get what you want.

MORE: How to Achieve Your Goals

8. Let Go of Grudges. There’s a saying that goes: “Holding a grudge is letting someone live in your head rent-free.” When you hold grudges, you’re only hurting yourself. You’re allowing negativity to course through you and you’re keeping yourself stuck in a painful past. Forgive the people who have wronged you and just let it go. Maybe you think they don’t deserve forgiveness. Fair enough. But trust me, harboring feelings of anger and resentment is punishing you more than it is them, so what’s the point?

9. Let the Chips Fall Where They May. It took me a long time to realize that the sky wouldn’t fall if I personally wasn’t holding it up, and it’s a lesson that has changed my life! Most people can’t enjoy their lives because they’re so busy micromanaging every detail. Yes, there is a time to make things happen. There is also a time to just let things happen. Take a breath, loosen up your grip on life, and try to adopt a bit of a laissez-faire attitude.

10. Take Care Of Yourself. When someone is in a rut or in a bad place, one of the first things people will notice is they stop taking care of themselves. They sleep at odd hours, they eat junk, they lay around on the couch watching endless hours of TV, they go days without showering. Happy people take care of themselves. And the more you take care of yourself, the more happiness you’ll experience. It’s a wonderful cycle to get caught up in. Make time for exercise, make an effort to eat healthy, take pride in your appearance. Exercise and healthy eating will noticeably change the way you feel about yourself and will give you an inner glow that radiates outward.

MORE: Eating for Beauty

11. Watch the Company You Keep. Oprah once said “Surround yourself only with people who will lift you higher” and this is a mantra I hold by. The people in your life will inevitably have an impact on you. When it comes to friends, quality is always better than quantity. Weed out the negative people in your life who drag you down and spend more time with positive, optimistic people who see the good in you and encourage you to be your best self.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.