We likely have many more than five goals we’d like to accomplish in 2016, but to keep things simple here’s five, which, if done mindfully can have dramatic ripple effects on your health and happiness – and perhaps all the other goals you’ve set for yourself.
1: Smile more. It is well known among social psychologists now that the simple act of smiling can make you happier and healthier, even if your smile is a forced one. According to the facial feedback hypothesis, smiling activates the release of dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, neurotransmitters that help reduce stress and elicit positive emotion, plus it’s contagious – so practice more in 2016!
2: Maintain a health and fitness regimen. The health impacts of regular physical exercise are widely known for reducing stress, fighting disease and improving mood, energy and sleep. Getting regular exercise and eating better can also have a dramatic impact on your eye health.
3: Schedule personal time. Many of us are used to scheduling, but for some reason only seem to do so in the context of work (e.g. meetings, project deadlines, etc). However, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the most productive people are not actually the busiest but rather those who prioritise their free time—for personal passions, for family, for activities completely unrelated to their jobs.
- Don’t commit to things you can’t do. This refers more to those activities you just know you can’t do. Can’t make it to dinner with your friend next week but prefer to say ‘maybe’ so you can delay the disappointment? Just say you can’t. Not overextending yourself will save you time and consternation down the road, and when you do commit, you’ll actually follow through—and become known as a person whose word means something.
- Use your calendar. One of the best ways to stay on top of your goals is to schedule—relentlessly. Managing your to-do list in an online calendar will help you miss fewer deadlines, keep you organised, and ensure that you are prioritising your most important tasks.
Don’t Just Set, Maintain
Success with resolutions, as with business objectives, isn’t merely about setting goals but maintaining them. That requires will power, discipline and a fluctuation in mindset between living in the moment and planning.