Today is the 1st of January. It’s a day that many people make resolutions to do things such as lose weight, give up smoking, or get fit.
Sadly, many of these resolutions are dead in the water before the end of January. They needn’t be, says psychologist Caroline Adams Miller.
Miller believes that there’s a more positive way to set goals rather than simply writing them down, as was the mantra of the fifties .
In summary, here are Miller’s top 10 tips that will help turn your New Year’s Eve wishes into reality.
- Get happier. According to Miller, “it is now rock-solid science that being in your most positive frame of mind and functioning is the most powerful predictor of any type of success.” We’re successful because we’re happy so make that your first priority.
- Our happiness flows from what we think and do so make doing things that produce happiness and well-being a priority in your daily routine. Miller sites meditation, journaling (blogging anyone?), practising forgiveness, and expressing gratitude as habits that produce happiness.
- Don’t set too many will power goals at once. Giving up smoking AND starting an exercise regime is a big ask. Start with a regular exercise programme, says Miller, and the willpower to tackle others will flow.
- Prune dead wood from your social and professional life. Or as the old saying goes: show me your friends and I’ll show you what you’re like. If you want to become fitter, hang with fit people. If you want to give up smoking, make friends with non-smokers.
- Fill your environment with positive reinforcement, or “primes” as Miller describes them. Uplifting music and inspiring art and music all contribute to feeling happier.
- Create ‘hard’ goals, not simple, easy stuff. According to Miller, people who tackle and complete things they didn’t enjoy feel the highest level of self-esteem. In other words, avoid plucking only low-hanging fruit. Instead, have a crack at something big and audacious, something that’s going to stretch your sense of what’s possible.
- Be a risk taker. According to Miller, “we regret what we don’t try, and not what we try that doesn’t work out.” Get out there and have a crack.
- Make your goals your goals. Her advice, specifically to women is: “Get on the stage of your own life…”
- Think ahead to create positive habits using “if-then” scenarios. Miller gives the example of thinking of three blessings when encountering a stop sign. I do 3 chin-ups every time I walk through a specific doorway in my house.
- Have goals. According to Miller, “the happiest people wake up every day to clear-cut goals…that involve building relationships with others, making a difference in the lives of others, and making the space you inhabit a bit kinder and brighter.”
Photo credit: Lori Ann at http://www.mamawit.com/