So how’s the pursuit of happiness going for you these days? It’s no coincidence that it has prominent placement in our Declaration of Independence. Isn’t this, at its core, what life is really about? If I had any doubts, the last few years have put them to rest.

My coaching clients are not just in pursuit of happiness, they’re in HOT pursuit. It’s amazing. For most, it seems, the pursuit of happiness is about balance in their lives. They’re finishing creative projects that had previously been on the backburner, making inner peace a priority, launching small businesses they find satisfying, applying for challenging graduate programs, sorting through options for having a baby, becoming more physically fit, volunteering, and making more time for play. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I recently facilitated a community discussion and asked this question: Is happiness a choice? There was a fair amount of disagreement in the room on the answer. I contend that it’s easier for some than others to answer “yes,” but that it is indeed a choice for most of us. Often defined as “subjective well-being,” happiness isn’t supposed to be a 24-7 proposition. Nor is it necessarily a pleasure-filled, hedonistic pursuit. Sometimes it’s about doing the right thing, bridging a gap, sacrificing, putting someone else before yourself. Other times it’s quitting a toxic job, giving yourself an opportunity to get to know a fascinating new person, taking a class just for the heck of it, staring at a hot pink and orange sunset, or reading a good book.

Ultimately, happiness seems to be a collection of good decisions, ones that are right for the individual. Just think of it this way. A person who is happy on balance makes a better friend, spouse, sibling, employee, parent or boss. Wouldn’t you rather be raised by (or friends with or married to or working for) a happy person? I thought so. Challenge yourself to be that person.