Making 2015 Resolutions? Frame Them Around Known Components of Happiness

(Photo credit: Jim Lowman leafdogart.com)

"In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed." - Sid Caesar

At the start of a new year, most of us contemplate some type of resolutions, whether they be fitness or diet-related, improvements at work, or changing of certain habits. However, effective goal setting can be an elusive task. There can't be too many, too few, they shouldn't be too broad nor to detailed, measurable goals are easier to meet, the timecourse needs to be appropriate, etc. Check out this article from Gretchen Rubin on tips for making effective resolutions. Others poo-poo resolutions, opting instead for setting a mindset, a theme, or a word to remember as a theme for your actions. But how do all these methods for self-improvement translate to increased happiness?

Last (Really? Really!) December, I saw an interesting program on HBO called State of Play, which profiled several ex-NFL players in the quest for a meaningful life after football. One of the psychologist/experts interviewed on the show mentioned three essential components for happiness that have been proven in the literature:
  • Connecting with Others
  • Opportunities for Personal Growth
  • Contributing to a Community
These just made sense to me. This year, I feel motivated to frame my 2015 goals around them. Why not maximize happiness while trying to make difficult changes to our lives? I'm certain that the achievement of goals is at the very least perceivably easier when they fit within the components of happiness.

My first and foremost goal (carried over from 2014) is to become a mom, which fits into all three of these components. I would no doubt grow personally from becoming a parent, and I would connect with a new human being and existing family members, plus eventually other communities that I normally would not have encountered. Another resolution is to continue my regular blogging with a goal to write two posts per month. This goal also applies to all three areas above. I hope that as readers you would agree that through my writing I am connecting to you and contributing to a community of people who want to prioritize self-care and stress management in their lives. And ultimately, I do write my posts in the interest of personal growth; they are my own public journal for discussing current thoughts, fears, and dreams.

I also have a resolution to continue minimizing the things I have in my closet. As a confessed shopaholic, I want to simplify my wardrobe further and may even try using this capsule wardrobe technique I recently read about. This will help me find more time for other things in my life, such as connecting to family and friends or pursuing other activities such as reading and writing more. Lastly, I will mention one goal that is more for personal achievement than anything else: I would like to do a real chin-up this year! People are amazed when they hear how long I've been rock climbing despite being able to do a chin-up or pull-up. I've already been working on exercises for about a month to get my back and core stronger, but with a little more weight on me this past year (being tall doesn't help the situation either), the chin-up has proven to be a difficult task! If I can do it now, I'll be no doubt be able to do it when I'm really back into climbing!

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