Considering new year resolutions? Here are five things that will help you to kickstart the new year and make you happier!
The end of the year is a good time to do a little reflection on what has been happening in our lives. It is a time when many of us think about those nagging things that we postponed. So often we’ll drag these out, resolving to do them in the new year. These may be things such as getting rid of clutter, or exercising more. Perhaps donating or selling those unflattering clothes and killer shoes that you have never worn. Maybe it’s having more ‘quality time’ (whatever your definition of it may be). Could be eating less, learning something new, saving more or finishing the book we never finished…
But, rather than meaningless lists of things that you may never actually get to do and will end up making you feel disappointed, how about some things that will make you start the new year with optimism and contribute to your overall sense of well-being?
Here are five key resolutions taken from research studies on positive psychology that you could consider adopting in the new year.
Resolution 1 – Cultivate a sense of humour
Happy people are able see the positive side, even in difficult situations. This does not mean that you should not be rightfully upset or disappointed when something bad happens, or write LOL on every text! Nor does it mean you need to have a perpetual plastic smile on your face, or run to join the laughing yoga group. It refers to having a positive outlook and seeing the glass half full. It is about optimism in the face of adversity. It’s about finding pleasure in everyday life like visiting an art gallery, enjoying the sea breeze under a tree on a sunny day, or bringing flowers to brighten your home.
Resolution 2 – Be grateful
Thinking about the things that we appreciate in our life. Cultivating an awareness of the everyday pleasures that life offers and feeling truly thankful has a profound impact on our well-being. Studies have shown that, as a self-reflection, briefly writing about the things that are going well for us, and about the people that have helped us and to whom we are grateful, can have a long lasting, positive effect. Try it for a week and see what happens!
Resolution 3 – Examine your relationships
Sounds clinical and detached but deserves your serious consideration. It is the quality and not the quantity of your relationships that is fundamental to your well-being. So it is important that you consider them and nurture those who are valuable to you. I am referring to relationships in the broadest sense, not just romantic relationships and family ties, but the social connections that enhance your life. And I don’t mean how many ‘likes’ you got on Facebook, although those may also contribute to your overall happiness!
I suggest you think about those who are there for you. From the person in the coffee shop who remembers your favourite drink and brings it to you in the morning to your closest and most trusted person. Include your pets as well. Think about those who support you and bring joy and comfort to your life. Find ways to be grateful for those that are there for you.
Resolution 4 – Do things that absorb you and that are meaningful to you
Be guided by your values and use your strengths. This requires your innermost understanding of what you consider important and cannot be negotiated or compromised. Think about what you are good at and what you love doing. Do an audit of the things you value the most and those you are good at and let them be your guide. Something to really ponder about!
Resolution 5 – Be clear about the outcomes
What have you accomplished in different areas that are important to you? Before you think about what you want in the future, look closely at the things that are working well in your life now. Consider what you have achieved so far. Note these even if you think your achievements are not important.
Print this list, stick it in your notebook and commit to it! There is a great year ahead!
Sandra Meiras delivers individual personal development programs in Sydney and the Blue Mountains smeirasconsulting.com
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