As people make resolutions to start the year, most focus on typical goals, but there are some resolutions which focus on making you happy.
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Dr. Matt Townsend shares five resolutions to make you happy.
Move Back Into Your Head
· You can’t understand something you’re not ever participating in!
· You’ve heard me talk about being present for a long time.
· Researchers in the field of happiness who have studied people that are happier than most have found that one key to being a happy person is being in a state of mindfulness.
· Mindfulness means you’re actually present in your head. You can understand your moods and feelings and you’re present in the thoughts that precede some of your actions and feelings.
· Start paying attention to your actual feelings and emotions that you have. Do what you can to be in every moment of your life and don’t allow yourself to go on autopilot.
· Notice the thoughts and rationale that you use every time you try to sabotage being happier?
· Start taking responsibility for your own thoughts, feelings and actions.
Be More Appreciative
· Begin to notice what is working in your life!
· Find the functional! Everything we do in life will always be seen from a million different points of view. Two obvious ways can be by noticing what is going well (appreciative) or what is broken (depreciative). We can focus on what is broken and needs improvement or on what is working and could be better leveraged.
· Most people assume you fix things by focusing on what is broken. Remember however, you can’t know the broken if you don’t know the healthy. Having a clearer understanding of what is healthy (the appreciative) will usually help you to get more of what you want than the depreciative.
· Resolve yourself this year to focus on what is good, healthy and working in your life. Begin to make a big deal about how much you love about your life, versus how little you’re getting. An example of the power that an appreciative mindset can have in your life can be seen in the Gratitude Visit taught by Dr. Martin Seligman on Ted.com.
o Remember someone who did something enormously important that changed your life in a positive direction. Your assignment is to write a 300 word testimonial, call them on the phone, and go visit them, show up at the door and read the letter to them.
o When people are retested after the gratitude visit activity, one to three months later the research shows that these people are happier and less depressed.
· Find opportunities daily to share the things that you see that are good with the people around you. Every night identify things that the people in your life did that day that you appreciate and reinforce what you love about them in a positive way.
· By simply noticing what is good, we increase the likely that those around us may do more good or in the least, that we will benefit by noticing more good.
Focus on Your Passions in Life, Not the Pleasures of Life
· The research in the field of happiness show that people that are “anxiously engaged” in a good cause are happier.
· The key to lasting happiness is not to only have the pleasures of life (money, house, cars, clothes, things) at your disposal, but instead to have a profound sense of meaning and purpose in your life . . . being actively involved in something you love to do.
· Seeking pleasure is fairly simple. It has a raw feel when it’s achieved, it’s carnal and fairly tangible. However, lasting happiness comes more from being in the flow of your passion. You are so caught up in what you’re doing, you literally can’t feel anything else, just “actively engaged”!
· Research shows that the most effective form of happiness is not having pleasure and all of your needs met, but instead being actively engaged in a worthwhile purpose that excites you.
· Activity: One of the fastest ways to focus on your passion is to identify something in your life that when you participate in this activity, “time literally stops” for you.
· Activity: Make a list of activities that you are passionate about doing and commit yourself to focus on those activities regularly over the next few months. Don’t worry about if they are “logical” or make sense right now, just make sure that they connect to you deeper meaning in life, and sense of self.
Know Your Five Strengths
· Research on happy people shows that they don’t just try to be everything for everyone, but instead they actually are very focused on the things that they do best.
· Contrary to what most people believe, the happiest people are not constantly trying to be good at everything, but instead are very focused on being good at what they do best.
· Every person has inherent strengths that are his or her unique gifts to the world. Our strengths are the convergence of three things: our natural gifts/talents, knowledge and skills. There is a lot of research based on the benefits of focusing on our strengths in the book called “Now Focus On Your Strengths” from Marcus Buckingham.
· The basic research is that people who focus on their strengths are inherently happier than those that don’t.
· Go to www.authentichappiness.org to take free assessments and to narrow down your strengths.
· Activity: After identifying your top 5 strengths, begin to make plans about how you will utilize those strengths more in your life.
· Activity: Plan a Date Night with your partner where you can each utilize your strengths together on the date. Pay attention to how you feel while focusing on what you do inherently well.
Direct Your Arrows Outward, Not Inward!
· Our arrows are our attention and focus in our lives.
· Many think the real key to happiness is to truly come to know yourself better, and that knowledge will make us happier. Research actually doesn’t support that. In fact, the happiest people are those that turn their personal strength outside of themselves for the benefit of others.
· Examples of arrows in are being consumed with how we felt about something, how they hurt us, what I think about this or that, or how my needs are being met or aren’t being met. Nothing will make us less happy than constantly focusing on how unhappy we are.
· If what truly matters to us most in our lives are our most important relationships with family, friends, and God, then it’s time to start directing our arrows outward.
· Examples of outward directed arrows are: Showing concern for how others are feeling, thinking and connecting, learning the names of the people around you, caring about their sense of comfort, growth and development, being a listening ear, and serving the person when the prompting enters our heads.
· We should focus our energy on those things outside of us, instead of dwelling on everything that is going on inside us, so we can use our energy to improve those people’s lives, indirectly improving our own.
· Activity: Start working on the space between you and others, instead of only staying focused on how you are being impacted by others. If your friends let you down and hurt your feelings, find a way to not turn your arrows on your story and instead turn your arrows out and understand what they are going through. The more you focus on serving others, understanding others, giving to others, building others, caring for others, the happier you are.
· Activity: Talk daily with the people around you about your experience in the day . . . of where you caught people with their arrows pointed outward, instead of inward.
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