This is a story about simple habits to improve your happiness and fulfilment in life. It's inspired by the key findings of a huge Harvard University study of happiness that's now gone on for more than 80 years. (Bill Murphy, Jr.)

Do you want to be happy in 2023? And beyond? A recent article in Inc. gives some suggestions.

1.  Take stock of your relationships.
We can’t improve things if we don’t measure them. So, as unromantic as it might seem, it makes sense to assess which relationships are important to you, which ones have proven less so, and which ones you wish were better.
2.  Nurture casual relationships.
We’ll get into some of the things that you can do to improve the truly high-impact, nurturing relationships in your life. But, our lives are largely made up of very casual bonds.
3.  Make time for conversations.
This is a fantastic habit, and as it happens we have brand new academic support for it.
A study out of the University of Kansas suggests that the simple act of reaching out to a friend for conversation — at least once a day if you can manage it — increases people’s happiness and lowers their stress.
4.  Cultivate kindness.
Here’s a study for you: Researchers at Michigan State University combed through data on 2,500 long-term married couples (defined as 20 or more years), to determine their aptitude in five dimensions:
emotional stability, and
openness to experience.
To cut to the chase, the ones who reported higher levels of agreeableness and emotional stability also reported greater relationship happiness.
5.  Volunteer.
I've written about the Harvard Study before; I’ve been intrigued for a while. One of the things I’ve learned in the course of it is that to develop better relationships, make time to volunteer.
6.  Learn to apologize.
Sometimes, nurturing relationships means repairing relationships. And repairing relationships often means making apologies and making amends. I know this first-hand; maybe you do, too.
But we all know how to apologize, right? I mean how complicated can it be?
Oh, my friend, more complicated than you might imagine. There’s a whole theory attached to how to apologize and when — whether to use language that centers your apology on you or gives power to the other person (“I’m sorry” versus “Please forgive me,” for example).
7.  Ask questions.
Here’s something everyone on Planet Earth has in common. We all like to talk about ourselves.
Even the introverts among us, given the right circumstances, have things they’d love to expound on.
8.  Express your love.
I don’t necessarily mean go around telling everyone you love them. (Although I did that for a while as an experiment, and it was pretty awesome.)
But that doesn’t work for everyone. Instead, there are many ways to love, and many ways to express it.
9.  Be willing to be vulnerable.
Relationships involve risks, especially at the beginning. So, be willing to take them.
As a practical example, if you want to make friends and develop great relationships, use the rule of three overturns — meaning, be willing to try to start conversations or set up plans and be rejected three times before giving up.

Note that this article is taken from Inc. magazine, a magazine committed to helping people succeed in business. I often appreciate the honesty I find in publications that deal with the bottom line.
I find myself nodding vigorously when I read articles like these. Invariably I think of Bible passages like Genesis 2:18, “It's not good for man to be alone”, and Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one”. Then there are the many times that Jesus tells His disciples to love one another, especially in the Gospel of John.
To be Christian is not to be superhuman. Christians are meant to be truly human. We shouldn’t be surprised then that both Scripture and empirical research affirm that a key path to human thriving is healthy relationships.
Yet we note that loneliness is still rampant in society and in our church communities. As many have noted, churches may be friendly, but they are not places where one develops deep friendships. Indeed, I wonder if any church puts helping people to develop genuine friendships as a key part of their culture, something that goes beyond slogans and is actively pursued. The Christian faith is built on truth and hence the commitment of most churches to teach their people the Bible. Maybe it is time we also take seriously the call to help people love one another.
This article is only one of many that reminds our ministry, Graceoworks, of the importance of helping to build community in our churches and beyond. However, we must be aware of the danger of being so busy helping people to be friends we neglect our own friendships.
The Inc. article quotes the following advice from Robert Waldinger and Marc Schulz, the authors of the book they base their article on:

Perhaps every year on New Year’s Day or the morning of your birthday, take a few minutes to draw up your current social universe and consider what you’re receiving, what you’re giving, and where you would like to be in another year.

We would add that we should also take stock of our relationship with God. But good advice, nevertheless. And perhaps a good friend can also help us draw closer to God.