What does a New Year bring to mind? One of the immediate associations that comes to mind is – new beginnings, fresh perspectives and of course- resolutions!
Coming to think of it, what do resolutions really mean? What is their purpose?
When broken down to the most elementary level, the purpose of a resolution boils down to a simple, single purpose. To cultivate the discipline to make our lives deeply meaningful- foremost, for ourselves.
There are many things we learn from experience, yet one of the golden nuggets of wisdom that accumulates with age and experience is this:
‘It is really the small things every day that culminates in the big picture called life.‘
Since every resolution is rooted in the purpose of deeper meaning and more happiness, I created a list of small, everyday things with the potential to explode the happiness factor in our lives. Focusing on one of them every week can set the avalanche of better habits rolling.
So, here goes:
1. Write down all ideas that come to your head. Even the craziest ones. Writing them down is often a trigger to start touch projects.
2. Pick up a book in a genre that you have never read before.
3. Watch stuff that your kids enjoy. Read books that they love. Gain perspective on their world.
5. Wake up 15 minutes earlier. Spend time alone in the silence.
6. Invest in self-learning. One of the boons of technology is the democratisation of learning.
7. Play a sport you always thought you were bad at.
8. Dress up different.
9. Write a short story based on an incident from your own life. Stories are everywhere.
10. Unplug from Social Media. Remember, you still enjoy real ice-cream and coffee, not the ones on Instagram. Same with people.
11. Clean out annoying corners and drawers. Discard stuff you haven’t used in the last 6 months.
12. Go off the shopping grid.
13. Cut decision fatigue. Decisions about what to wear and eat consume mental bandwidth and are best made in advance.
14. Play silly games.
15. Use words that hurt less and soothe more.
16. Do one kind act every day of the week.
17. Write 1-3 positive thing(s) that happened to you every day of the week.
18. Write down your regrets and make peace with them. Everyone has regrets.
19. Stop your thoughts mid-track and turn them on their head to recognize repeating thought patterns and triggers for stress.
20. Laugh aloud.
21. Do a digital declutter. Delete/transfer old files, close out all tabs before starting on a fresh article or project.
22. Learn a different dance or music form.
23. Sing loudly.
24. Call an old friend.
25. Warm up to a new friend.
26. Organize an informal get-together.
27. Plan a surprise for someone who is least expecting it.
28. Travel to a place that’s not a popular tourist spot and do non-tourist things.
29. Learn a new language.
30. Read a book that you have always wanted to read/reread.
31. Resolve to be happy by acting happy. Gretchen Rubin, the New York Times best-selling author explains in her book ‘The Happiness Project‘ explains that acting happy helps you ease your way into being happy.
32. Get a tattoo or a new haircut. Try something different.
33. Talk to your grandparents to know what their life looked like. Listen to them even when they repeat themselves.
34. Learn your own history. Take pride in whatever you have come through.
35. Apologize to someone you have long wanted to, but haven’t been able to do it yet. Even if it is someone far younger and inexperienced.
36. Do the hardest thing first. Use more of your time for things you enjoy by using your time and energy prudently.
37. Smile at strangers.
38. Respond to emails only after your biggest task for the day.
39. Reach out to someone you think is beyond your circles. You will be surprised how many people actually respond.
40. Ask for help.
41. Take power naps. Many forward-thinking companies include napping opportunities in their employee benefits.
42. Kiss with abandon. Kissing and hugging are proven to have benefits as illustrated by this 10-year long study of men who kissed their wives before going to work every day.
43. Use the first few minutes to wholly connect. This is especially true for parents with little kids who are way calmer once they can get their parents’ complete and undivided attention after school or daycare.
44. Evercise. Runner’s high releases happy hormones that can improve your mood and beat depression.
45. Shock your brain. Set an impossible task for yourself- one that you are almost sure to fail in. Chunk it up and keep working anyway and notice all normal tasks get incredibly easy because your brain is trained for hard tasks.
46. Practise power postures. Amy Cuddy, a behavioral psychologist explains that taking just 2 minutes a day to practice power postures helps us feel more confident and in-control.
47. Hang out with people you really like. You are the average of the five people you keep the most company with.
48. Work on a long-pending pet project.
49. Manage your energy. Just like everything else, energy is a depleting resource at your disposal. Chunk your tasks to suit your energy levels.
50. Take time to appreciate someone, even for the stuff they are expected to do.
51. Seek out the Sun. There’s proof that it wakes up your brain cells.
52. Let go. Forgive people, including yourself.