09/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Happiness Tip Of The Day: Always Pick A Favorite

I'm working on my Happiness Project, and you should have one, too! Everyone's project will look different, but it's the rare person who can't benefit. Join in -- no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday's post will help you think about your own happiness project.

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During this visit to see my parents in Kansas City, I realized that one of the reason that we have so much fun here is that we spend a lot of time visiting our "favorites" - our favorite dime store (The Dime Store), our favorite diner (Winstead's), our favorite BBQ place (several contenders for this), our favorite book store (Rainy Day Books), our favorite ice cream store (Fooz).

At home in New York City, though, we don't really think this way. Take dinner, for example. Sometimes, on Sunday evening, we go out for an early family dinner. But instead of saying, "Yippeee, let's go to our favorite restaurant!" our attitude, "Where shall we go for dinner? Well, we can't be bothered to think of anyplace new, so let's just go back to Luke's. That's convenient."

That attitude is a lot less fun, a lot less festive. After all, if we always go to Luke's, it IS our favorite place. Why not embrace it and enjoy it? Saying we're going to our favorite place makes a visit seem more fun. Just saying that something is a treat can be enough to make it feel like a treat.

Having a "favorite" also boosts the feeling of tradition. It's more gratifying to think, "We have a tradition of going to Luke's, our favorite place, for a special family dinner," than to think, "When we're too tired to cook, we go around the corner to some quick, easy place."

The "Pick a favorite" resolution just struck me yesterday, so I'm still thinking about how I might apply it myself. I'd love to hear from any readers who are already following the resolution to "Pick a favorite" themselves.

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