4 New Year's Resolutions you can actually achieve AND will make you happier

December 31, 2014

Every new year’s eve we find ourselves in the same place right as the clock strikes midnight. If you’re like me, it’s with a mouthful of grapes trying to stuff twelve of them down with champagne, while attempting to make twelve wishes for each month of the new year! More on that some other time.

However, for the rest of ya’ll, you’re probably thinking about your resolutions for the new year: weight management, quitting smoking, finding that gal/guy, getting that job...You know, the usual suspects. All noble intentions. But when we’re honest with ourselves, I mean really honest, these are all serving to fill a void of some sort that we hope will help to achieve happiness. If I look better, I’ll be happier. If I just have that job, make that money, meet that someone, you know the drill.

This year, instead of assigning ourselves goals and then punishing ourselves or feeling guilty when we fail to meet them, I propose something different. I challenge you to resolve to sharpen the emotional and spiritual tools that will help you become a better human:

    1. Be more present: this is #1 in my book. We often run our lives on autopilot so much so that we become disconnected and forgetful. Things lose meaning. People are taken for granted. Being aware of ourselves and our surroundings is how we feel alive and attuned to what’s beautiful, what needs attention, and how we can offer the best version of ourselves. 
      Tip: put the mobile phone down. Stop thinking of how you'll share the moment and just experience it, instead. Don’t take that selfie #banselfies
    2. Practice gratitude: what you think is what you attract and your thoughts become your reality. If you focus on the negative, your life will seem like in it's a rut. The best way out of this is to be thankful for the things in your life. When you practice gratitude on a regular basis, your biology changes. Your immune system strengthens, your cortisol levels drop, sleep improves. Not to mention that thinking of what you’re thankful for tells the universe that you want more of it! Convinced life’s already bad? Be grateful for the air you breathe, your limbs, your senses, the colors out in nature, the song of a bird, or just the fact that you’re alive and experiencing this crazy ride with the rest of humanity. We’re all in this together.
      Tip: say “thank you” when you wake up for having one more day and "thank you" before going to bed for having made it through. For the technophiles who rather not keep a gratitude journal, use an app. Get Gratitude is a good one. Or take a happiness challenge and make it an intention to record one thing you're grateful for every day. I've done it and have felt a difference at the end. Plus, it's fun to share with family and friends. Spread the joy!
    3. Soul recharge: life can be draining. Stress, negative people, the daily grind, all manage to deplete us of our positive energy. Making a conscious effort to recharge is key to regaining balance.
      Tip: spend some quiet time with yourself, especially after all the holiday noise, to recoup! Visit family and friends with whom you can be completely unabashed. Volunteer for a cause you find rewarding. Do a little dance and make a little love!
    4. Let go: you know that feeling you get when you clean out your closet? Ahh, you can breathe again. That’s what it feels like to forgive, let go of past trauma, and release resentment. It’s no longer a mystery that letting go of negativity has a marked effect on our physical bodies for the better. Science shows it can lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, improve heart health, reduce symptoms of depression, and much more.
      Tip: take the things you’re angry about, write them down and after making the intention to let go, burn the paper and imagine yourself releasing the weight. Gain closure by telling someone you forgive them, or write them a letter if it's easier. Remember that every mistake, every embarrassing moment, every bit of pain has served to form character and create the person you are today. Embrace it as a lesson. The more weight you let go, the more good things you can take on. Start living!
May you have a happy new year in 2015!

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