If there are friends in your life who sap the happiness out of your mood, it’s time to start the year off on a new foot. Take an inventory of these “happiness spoilers” and realize it is more than alright to turn down their invites to get together. Make plans with those who bring you up, instead of the toxic people who bring you down and your year will be a whole lot more fruitful.

Here are some expert tips on how to do just that.

Put yourself first


Lose the guilt about putting yourself before others. “Putting yourself first is not a crime,” explains Emer Moloney, founder of thisisnotlifecoaching.com. “Depending on how you were raised and the values you live by, you may be conditioned to be a people pleaser and you may feel real guilt saying ‘no.’” Instead, visualize an evening doing the things you want to do, with the people you want to be with.

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Realize the value of your time

Your time is a limited and valuable asset. “Each second it passes you can never get it back, and giving time to friends you don’t want to spend time with or who drain you and make your day less than what it would have been without them is literally giving away your most valuable asset for free to someone who you don’t want to give it away to,” explains life coach Stacy Caprio.  What’s more, you can never get it back, she says. Instead, think about who is really a good friend and who is not — and make those who are being a good friend to you a priority to see.

Cut your stress triggers


Living life is hard enough without the added stress and energy-drain of being around people who bring us down. “We must choose our inner circle of people carefully, because we need to have people in our life that make us feel safe, respected, understood,” says Natasha Sandy, a psychotherapist and female empowerment igniter in Toronto, Canada.  “There are people in our lives who will be good friends forever, and there are others who will not, for all sorts of reasons.”

Understand you’re evolving as a person

We are ever-growing and evolving beings, says Sandy. “As we mature and own our value, we also step into our power. Along with this empowerment comes a growing self-awareness in general, as well as a growing awareness of what we need from our friends and family,” she says. In owning and exercising this empowerment, Sandy says it becomes easier to ask for what we need, to state what we don’t like, and to nurture the relationships that matter, as well as stop putting effort towards relationships that bring us down.

Respect yourself more


Sandy says when we prioritize love and respect for ourselves we also prioritize giving and getting it from the people around us. “The more we exercise our spirit muscle of assertiveness, the easier it becomes to decline social invites from superficial, unhealthy or meaningless relationships,” asserts Sandy. “Alongside this, we should be shifting our energy and efforts towards nurturing the relationships that do matter. This makes for a better, more meaningful life and fuels our mental, emotional and spiritual health.”