The greatest truth about being happy is that happiness is a choice and a decision. It's just a thought away! Every day you wake up and get to make the decision about how you want to feel.

Ask yourself, "Do I want to be happy today?" Isn't that the choice most of us would want? And yet, we often go in the other direction.

Perhaps life has been tough. You may feel you have reason to dwell on unhappiness (loss of a loved one, a job, a home...), but the greatest purpose in life is to live a life of service and joy and you can't live either of those without making the decision to be happy.

My life was challenged when I experienced “the worst that could happen.” I tragically lost my 16-year old son to meningitis. At that point, I thought grief was my life sentence, my burden to bear. I thought I would never experience joy again. How could I? My son died!

It was indeed a journey to find the stepping stones through grief recovery. It’s a long road, but I discovered that each step was simply a decision. I would wake up feeling the shroud of sadness and then see my youngest son playing joyfully with action figures, or my five year old daughter wearing a crown, playing fairy princess in her tutu and I’d think, I can’t be sad when I see that! That's denying the other gifts God has given me. I would force the smile, and then I’d actually begin to feel it.

I decided then, I am the creator of my feelings and the joy in my life. I began documenting these moments and how easily I could transform my sadness into joy. It was just a thought away! And then…I decided to write my own future. I would write in my journal, describing what happiness would look like in my life ahead.

It was often simple things, like watching my garden bloom in the spring, or a trip to the beach with the children. Everyday, I would try to shift gently away from the suffocating cloud of grief, and uncover a rainbow of joy. Sometimes, I found joy in my own tears of sadness, because it was an expression of the depth of love I had for my son. Through this process, I began to feel excited by the vibrancy of reclaiming my joy.

Learn to love your life! It’s your decision, and your heart. So, why not get started writing the script for your future today! Don't ignore the past! The hard times are your badge of honor and what you've learned from them is the platform to your future.

9 Story Points for Writing Your Own Life Script:

1. Do something you love and it will never feel like work. If you can’t work in your dream job right now, pursue your interests within your job and that may lead you on the path to your dream career.

2. Keep your drive young-at-heart! Never use age as an excuse. Louise Hay started her business at 60 when she sold her self-published book, You Can Heal Your Life out of the trunk of her car. At 86 she heads the Hay House publishing empire. Set your goals now and begin renegotiating a life you love.

3. You’ll never run out of money because you’ll never run out of ideas. A wise friend told me this. Your ability to think and create ideas are the tools God gave you to be resilient. Use your talents and abilities to open new paths.

4. “If someone says no, just say NEXT!”-Jack Canfield, author Chicken Soup for the Soul. The entertainment business is constant rejection with success sprinkled in. Don’t stop pursuing what you love. If you give up too soon, you may have been standing at the door of the person who was about to say “Yes!”

5. Take steps to push worry out of your life, and let passion fill it. That’s resilience. I remember seeing the actor, Will Smith, interviewed by Oprah, and she asked if it felt good to be rich. He said he still falls asleep worrying about money. That’s the pattern he learned in life. Will Smith! If he worries, then “worry” is really the enemy of our spirit. “Worry” is just fear at war with your faith.

6. Consider additional streams of income. Look to your talents like cooking, tutoring, or selling products or services for a cushion. Ask a friend what they think your talents are. It may surprise you! Even if it just pays the utilities or helps restock your savings…it’s worth it.

7. Life is about expressing love. Never let career or money issues spoil an evening with your partner, ruin a day with your child, or interrupt your sleep at night. When you feel those concerns taking hold, exchange it with expressing love. Take your partner on a date or spend a day with your children.

8. When you have a tragedy, recognize it as a time to grow in faith and strength. William Bridges author of The Way of Transition wrote: “Change can happen at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance.”

9. Look to your past and write the first act in your life script. You’ll see the cycles you’ve already lived. There is no story without conflict, but you’ve survived! Now write the second act just as you’d like your life to be. That’s called having a vision for your future.

I urge you to begin writing the next part of your life. Write your story with passion! You’re the star of your own show! And remember…Happiness is just a thought away!

I urge you to live life with love. It’s the only focus that will bring you peace and a life filled with joy…happily ever after.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Peckinpah writes books, articles, and speaks about resilience and using your past as a platform to the future. Her blog, looks at challenges like grief, love, job loss, relationships, and even disillusionment with life. Tragic challenges in life does not mean you walk that path forever. For more information and tools for transitioning your life into one where all things are possible, visit her website