A fresh start. A clean canvas. The New Year is a time for reflection and a promise to make improvements to our lives.
That’s what millions of us believe as we assure ourselves that we’ll lose weight, exercise more, eat less chocolate on 1 January.
You can trace the roots in New Year’s resolutions all the way back to the Romans who dedicated New Year’s Day to their god Janus, promising that they would be better in the coming year than they had been in the past.
But does a new year’s resolution actually do anything for us? Is there more to the tradition than just history and wishful thinking?
According to scientists, New Year’s resolutions can make us happy. “Most people want a second chance to improve the quality of their lives,” explains Dr Dennis Buttimer, American life coach and psychotherapist.
“The New Year offers a blank slate – an opportunity to get things right. When we set New Year’s resolutions, we are utilizing a very important concept called self-efficacy, which means that by virtue of aspiring to a goal and following through on it, we have a sense of control over what’s happening in our lives.”
So powerful is the act of making a resolution and following through on it, that we trigger dopamine in our brains which makes us feel better, according to Dr Buttimer.
And even if our resolutions waver as the months move on, the act itself of making a resolution, creating a framework in which to live our lives, is all part of a journey that can make us feel good about ourselves.
The secret is that resolutions are goals. According to Psychology Today, goals give us a vision and direction. They give our lives meaning through purpose, they set benchmarks for progress. They help us become who we want to be and create a driving force. All of these things are known to make us happier inside ourselves.
So here’s to a Happy New Year, and Happy Ali’s guide to a few New Year’s Resolutions to make you happy.
The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to be kind to others.
Put Your Bills on Autopay
It’s one less thing to think about.
Take The Stairs
Come on, you can do it!
Buy Less Plastic
If we all did, it would make a difference.
It’s therapeutic. Costs less. And less plastic than take-out.
Make Your Bed Every Morning
You’ve already accomplished something if you do.
Focus on How You Are, Not How You Look
Inner beauty shines brightest of all.
Give Someone a Compliment Every Day
You’ll feel good that you did.
Read a book, Instead of Your Phone
It’s good for your brain and reduces stress.
Clear Out Clutter
We’ve all got too much of it.
It increases stress. Focus on one thing at a time and enjoy it as you go.
Start a Hobby
You will blossom.