Senia Maymin and Kathryn Britton are the senior editors of PositivePsychologyNews.com. Together they have edited two books in the Positive Psychology News series: Resilience: How to Navigate Life's Curves and Gratitude: How to Appreciate Life's Gifts. Kathryn co-edited the third book in the series, Character Strengths Matter, with Shannon Polly. Their co-authored articles are here.
Senia Maymin, MAPP '06, is the coauthor of Profit from the Positive. Maymin is an executive coach to entrepreneurs and CEOs. Her PhD is in organizational behavior from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Full Bio. Her solo articles are here and her articles with Margaret Greenberg are here.
reverse engineering positive psychology, different people need different approaches. We hope at least some of these thoughts help you think positively about starting a new year appreciatively, with self-compassion, and effectiveness. May we all move closer to the goal of flourishing in 2011.Editor’s Note: Today the authors and editors of PPND share some suggestions for starting off the new year. As Orin Davis mentions in his recent article on
This is the fourth in a 4-part season for the end of 2010. See also the 2010 book list, holiday tips, and movie list.
The authors are listed in somewhat inside-out order so that our middle of the alphabet authors have a chance to come first.
For additional holiday ideas, see the article Gail Schneider wrote for PositivePsychologyNews.com on An Appreciative New Year.
The authors answered the question, “What tip or research suggestion will you follow in the New Year, and what tip do you have for our readers?”
Dave Shearon: Do something. Quit reading/thinking about how to be happier, more engaged, have a more meaningful life and DO something. If, like me, you tend toward the world of ideas, this may ring a bell for you. If so, all the best! If not, if you are already a doer, then – move along, nothing to see here! As you were. Keep up the good work. Etc. But, for those of us who sit and think, get up and do!
Margaret Greenberg: Don’t set resolutions; create one new positive habit instead.Elizabeth Elizardi: One thing I would recommend – Set actionable goals and create rituals. Build self-efficacy with small steps. As opposed to “”I want to lose twenty pounds”” start with “”I’ll walk for twenty minutes four times a week.” Write about your best possible self for the new year.
One thing that I am focusing on is fulfillment instead of balance. I will be working on moving my life in the direction of my strongest moments. With this comes mindfulness, reflection, and integrating positive interventions, such as journaling, writing about my best possible self and using my strengths more every day,Timothy So: Apply the 3 Good Things Exercise, but focus on what you have done really well in the previous year. And how you continue your 3 good things into the new year, even by an innovative ways. (For more about 3 good things, look here. There’s also a chapter about it in the PPND Gratitude book.)
People usually do goal setting in the new year, which is great, but is there an ideal way for doing so? I would recommend trying the P.E.R.F.E.C.T model develop by a Harvard Psychologist and Executive Coach, Carol Kauffman. The P.E.R.F.E.C.T. framework addresses seven areas:
- Effective Thinking
- Continuity of past, present and future
Senia Maymin: Finish things. Finish one thing as opposed to having five in progress.
Elaine O’Brien: Practicing perspective is a really important theme for me. Values clarifications around my appreciation for my family, friends, health matters, my teaching, and gratitude means a lot and helps me to cherish every day on Earth. I think putting emphasis on well-being, PERMA, mindfulness, and in positive physical activity, especially in using my healthy body to help others whenever I can, is something I will continue to practice and promote in the New Year.
Nicholas Hall: Listen to your gut. Follow it when you have difficult, complicated decisions to make. Trust it and yourself.
Lisa Sansom: Slow down, focus, mindfully choose priorities and work towards those. I don’t need goals, I need process.
You could also think about sharing a joke, paying a compliment or giving some positive feedback – these can be a great way to establish a positive personal connection and make you both feel good. Marie-Josée Shaar: Introduce 10-minute relaxation/deep breathing/meditation sessions in the day. I recently went to Harvard Medical School for a course in Mind-Body Medicine, and all the research that supports this very simple practice convinced me that I’d really be missing out not to do it. Plus, after 90-120 minutes of consecutive work, focus goes down, so that seems like a great use of a 10-minute break.
Angus Skinner: Be true to yourself and open to others.
Huge challenges but the only journey.
Sherri Fisher: Work to attain a goal that you have always wanted to achieve but have not for some reason. Caroline Adams Miller’s book, Miller, Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide, will help you through the process with numerous examples, all grounded in positive psychology research.Yee-Ming Tan: Start the New Year by pledging to become a Kiva loaner. Give a loan that change lives at Kiva.org.
Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.
For more info, see the book by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatté called The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles. Or you could read about these techniques in the PPND Resilience book.Yukun Zhao: The three character strengths that most correlate to well-being are Optimism, Zest, and Gratitude. Try to nurture one of them. It doesn’t have to your weakest link though, as using your strong hand can bring you more flow experiences, positive emotion, and other psychological benefits.
For me, I will focus on Zest. I will DO more positive psychology than TALK. I enjoy learning, writing, and disseminating positive psychology. But next year, I want to focus more on applying positive psychology to make other people’s lives better. This task requires more zest as well nurturing zest.Sulynn: Aim to remove one ANT (automatic negative thought) that hinders flourishing.
I will be more mindful of the quality of the time I spend with my family instead of giving myself to the world unreservedly and being absent-present with my loved ones.
Kathryn Britton: I resolve to cultivate humility, that is, taking myself out of the center of the picture. I think many sources of negative emotion would drop away if I could do that more often. I also plan to laugh more. Life is really rather funny.
Emily VanSonnenberg View each day you wake up as a new year for you, as opposed to January 1 as the one and only new year in which positive change can begin. Waking up each day is a new day/new year. The difference is only in perception.
Thus, if you have a New Year’s Resolution, be sure you set just one resolution, and make it specific and attainable. Then, once this resolution has been achieved, reassess, and begin the next change you would like to implement and embrace.
Amanda Horne:The holiday season with the beginning of a new year is such a special time in so many ways. And it’s also the time when we typically set New Year’s resolutions which tend to be a variation on the theme, “What can I do to make my life better this year.” Instead, we should find some quiet time to reflect on how we can set the tone for the coming year. Find some peaceful moments with yourself and with others and ask “Who and how can we be this year to ourselves and to others?”
I also like this wise advice passed on recently by a client who suggested that we ask the following question of the other people in our lives: “What can I do to make your life better this year?” Now that would make an interesting conversation…and an interesting year.
Kauffman, C. (2010). The last word: How to move from good to great
coaching by drawing on the full range of what you know. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 3:2, 87 – 98.