There is nothing I would like more than for all of us to have the Happiest of 2018.  It seems year in and year out there is much to be discouraged about as we reflect on each year, and the truth is to create a truly Happy New Year, we often have to start with ourselves.  In 2017, I was honored to have coached many clients, and noticed common practices that created and maintained happiness in their lives.  I also researched many articles, books, and videos on best practices towards meaning and purpose, and believe if—instead of sticking to New Years resolutions we rarely keep—we incorporate any one (or more) of the following practices into our life, we will be more satisfied and fulfilled.

Be Yourself (and Your Best Self at That)

We try so hard to look good to others that we end up being inauthentic and looking bad instead. We respond and react based on how we assume others would want, instead of how we feel.  We make promises we can’t keep because we don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings (even if the result might be lost trust).  Be you and be the best you…in life, relationships, at work, interviews, and more. As a result, you will find your authenticity will be contagious, and life simpler as well.

Ease Off Electronics

Have you recently been to a restaurant and noticed how many people are looking at their phones instead of interacting with each other?  People walk down the street with their head planted down instead of observing the world around them.  We are missing a lot when we get distracted by technology, and even a small act, such as checking email only twice a day instead of twenty, can make a big impact on our quality of life.

Focus on the One Thing

Study after study has proven multitasking isn’t effective.  When we jump from one task to the other, we are less productive than if we remain focused on the one thing at hand, completing it, and moving on.

Earn and Use Your Rewards

Every day we have new projects and tasks added onto existing ones.  We easily get inundated with work, to the point we do not realize all the great accomplishments we achieve on a daily basis. Recognizing the achievement of these goals plays a big part in staying intrinsically motivated. Even more important is to reward ourselves when we complete a difficult task.  If there isn’t a reward, what are we all working towards?  Most importantly, rely on yourself for the reward instead of waiting for the acknowledgment from others.  We know when we’ve done a good job more than anyone else and should treat it as such.

Ask for Help

It is often hard to ask for help from others.  First of all, no one accomplishes a goal in the same way we would like to and because of this, it is very difficult to give up control.  Second, many of us feel we are creating a burden onto others by asking for more (or anything) from them.  What we don’t know is how much they might like to contribute, and how their strengths and value could actually make our work much easier.  Strengths Finder emphasizes how recognizing and utilizing our strengths as well as others (instead of trying to better each other’s weaknesses) will lead to better team dynamics and improved productivity.

Rock On!

We all have one of those songs that, whenever it comes on, instantly makes us happy. We simply have to sing along. In fact, we all have multiple songs that create positivity and happiness when we hear it.  Instead of waiting until you need it, create a playlist at the ready when and play one of the songs from this list to start off your day on the right note (no pun intended).  Also try to incorporate classical music in your life…it can make great background noise, especially at work, and classical music is known to help reduce stress and increase cognitive functioning.

Love Your Neighbor

Even though we live in a world where it seems to always feel like we have to watch out for number one, giving back to our community and treating others as we would wish to be treated can create a positive effect.  Whether through volunteering or socializing, surrounding ourselves with people with similar interests and causes creates a greater sense of belonging for everyone involved.

Exercise your Body and Your Mind

Depending on the article or research, experts will tell you to exercise somewhere between 3 to 6 days per week for 30 minutes to an hour each day.  With so many opinions and options, it’s hard to figure out your own routine.  However, resources ranging from The Whole Life Challenge, Headspace (for meditation), and the 7-minute Workout provide suggestions (and actual routines) for your body in 10 minutes or less.  The extra release from just ten minutes a day (with a rest day as needed) reduces stress, helps you sleep better, and increases productivity.  Try adding on a short mental exercise, such as a Sudoku puzzle, a Word Find, a crossword, or any type of trivia (HQ anyone?), to enable the mind and get your creative juice going.

Start with Small Wins

When we look at New Years Resolutions, we often go big (and end up going home).  Before committing to your resolution, consider breaking it down into smaller pieces.  For example, if you are looking to lose weight, instead of trying to lose it all, break it down into smaller goals, such as first losing 5 pounds, and when you accomplish that, going for another 3, and so on and so forth. Look for ways to make your goals, from health to wealth to career, break down into smaller wins and see greater results.

Schedule Time For Yourself

Setting up some time each week to reflect on yourself can reap great rewards.  Asking what went well each week, what we can improve on, and what we want to accomplish in the following week keeps us on track, as well as reminds us of how many obstacles we overcame previously.  Adding reflective questions also allows us to imagine the future, and the cognitive presence of future goals can have an impact on making fantasy a reality.

I wish you all a New Year of great happiness, and hope you find one or more of these practices helpful in creating and building greater satisfaction in 2018 and beyond.  Within each of these practices is something key to making it happen, and if you combine the first letter of each word, you will find that key.  Happy New Year and Best Wishes!