Whether you want to improve your work-life balance, increase your community connections, or spend more time on creative pursuits, research shows you’re more likely to reach your goals if you focus on its tangible building blocks.
“Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life,” says happiness expert Gretchen Rubin. “When we have habits that work for us, we’re far more likely to be happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative.”
Many of us know all too well the energy or happiness slump that creeps in at the beginning of the year. In response, Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project and host of the podcast Happier with Gretchen Rubin, created a New Year’s quiz ( that takes less than a minute to complete) to help you find the habits that will make you the happiest.
“People often say, ‘how do I start?’” says Rubin, about creating and sticking to a habit. “There’s no one best first way because it really depends on you, your weaknesses, your temptations, your interests, your values, and your strengths.”
The questions challenge you to imagine your future self and what may be the most fulfilling in 12 months. For some, it may be strengthening existing relationships or forging new ones. For others, improving spending and savings habits or getting involved in volunteer efforts will bring the most joy. Finding these desires and gaps in your life can help you align your daily habits with your goals. “We often don’t want to admit to ourselves what would really make the biggest difference,” Rubin tells Fortune.
After taking the quiz, you’ll receive an email with the results, the area you most want to work on, and tips for how to focus on it in your daily life. “This is probably something that really will move the needle for you if you can work on it,” Rubin says, whose most recent quiz results alerted her that she is eager to use her energy, time, and resources to give back. “It’s much better to frame [your goals] as something that is concrete and manageable and you know whether you did it.” Instead of a “learning Italian” New Year’s resolution, try to spend 10 minutes a day learning the language or trying to read an article in Italian, Rubin suggests.
We all know most New Year’s resolutions fall to the wayside by the end of February. Rubin hopes people take this quiz on an ongoing basis—because even if you create a new habit, there may be another category poking its head in and waiting to be prioritized. And if you fall off the bandwagon altogether, don’t fret. Rubin considers “determination day” to be February 28th, where you can assess, shift, and change your goals.
“People who are more compassionate with themselves are more likely to re-engage,” Rubin says.