Hey, kids, want to be more popular and happier in school? Then just be nicer.

That’s what researchers at the University of California discovered during a recent study. The researchers divided more than 400 kids ages 9 to 12 into two groups: One group performed “acts of kindness,” and the other kept track of pleasant places they visited each week. Kind acts included “gave someone some of my lunch” or “gave my mom a hug when she was stressed by her job.” Places visited included a baseball diamond, a shopping center and a grandparent’s house.

After four weeks, children who performed kind acts said they felt happier than the kids in the other group said they felt. The researchers then gave students a list of classmates, including those in both groups, and asked them to circle the kids they would like to work with. Kids who had done the kind acts were far more likely to be chosen by their classmates than kids who had not.

Being kinder sounds to us like a great new year’s resolution!