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Tips for Starting the New Year

By on December 29, 2010 – 1:03 pm  10 Comments

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.

Kathryn Britton, MAPP '06 also co-authored Smarts and Stamina on using positive psychology principles to build strong health habits. Blog. Full bio. Her solo articles are here.



New Year's Fireworks

New Year's Fireworks
Illustration from Gratitude Book

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 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.
 
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

Dave

Margaret

Margaret

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

Elizabeth

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

Timothy

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:
 

  1. Physical
  2. Environmental
  3. Relational
  4. Feelings
  5. Effective Thinking
  6. Continuity of past, present and future
  7. Transcendence

Jeremy

Jeremy

Senia

Senia

Jeremy McCarthy: Plan time in your day for gratitude. Make it a ritual before going to bed or before a meal.

 
Senia Maymin: Finish things. Finish one thing as opposed to having five in progress.

 

Elaine O'Brien

Elaine

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

Nicholas

Lisa Sansom

Lisa

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.

 

 

Bridget

Bridget

Bridget Grenville-Cleave: “Often the New Year is a time for introspection, when you think about your own goals and resolutions for the coming 12 months. This year, why not start with by putting others first? Focussing on doing small things for others is a great way to increase well-being, both for you and for them. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Something small like making someone a cup of coffee or running an errand for them will do fine.
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-Josee

Marie-Josée

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

Angus

Sherri

Sherri

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

Yee-Ming

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.

 

Aren

Aren

Aren Cohen: Building my resilience and confidence by using the Reivich and Shatté model of ABC (Adversity-Belief-Consequence) to help prevent Thinking Traps. Beware Thinking Traps….be gone!

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

Yukun

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

Sulynn

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.

 

 

 

Emiliya

Emiliya

Emiliya Zhivotovskaya: Bring your mind-body-spirit into a more optimal state using your breath. It doesn’t cost you anything and it’s always literally under the tip of your nose. Breathing for optimal health is as simple as slowing your breath down to 5 breaths per minute, that’s inhaling for 6 counts and exhaling for 6 counts. Practicing this for 5 -20 minutes per offers are the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, self regulation and focus. couple that with savoring and you increase your positive emotions as we ll as well being.

 

Kathryn

Kathryn

Cassie

Cassie

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.

Cassie Robinson: Think more widely and deeply about intimacy! Om.
 

 

 

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.

Sean

Sean

Sean Doyle: Do everything you can to begin and end every interaction from a standpoint of compassion, affection, and lightheartedness. Send a thank you note to the woman calling you from the collection agency. Hug the person giving out parking tickets. Listen with rapt engagement to your elderly neighbor as he tells you the same crazy story you’ve heard multiple times before. We only have a limited amount of time and all have to share the same space. Refuse anything that excludes or pushes us apart.

 

Amanda

Amanda

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.

 


 

Reference
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.

10 Comments »

  • Mirjam van den Berg says:

    Last but not least, love the very last comment: What can I do to make your life better this year? Makes me more happy just thinking about it!
    Thanks for all the great posts this year. Keep up the good work.

  • oz says:

    Timothy – thanx for the inspiration.

    Rather than trying to be PERFECT – perhaps we should just PERFORM.

    1. Positive emotional intelligence
    2. Exercise
    3. Rest (sleep)
    4. Food
    5. Optimal thinking
    6. Relationships
    7. Mindfulness

  • Wayne,
    I like your choice of word and your list. Could you say just a little more about “Optimal thinking.”

    Kathryn

  • oz says:

    Thanx Katherine,

    I’m still working on the model – but based on the research optimal thinking is a blend of realistic optimism, keeping things in perspective and CBT

    The other interesting term is positive emotional intelligence (EI+).

    It refers to the ability to be understand and manage positive emotions in self and others. I have grouped all PP interventions (eg savouring, gratitude, strengths) in this category, as the trick is to work out what works for you and others – one size doesn’t fit all.

    I hope your PERFORM in the new year.

  • William S says:

    Actually, optimal thinking is not realistic optimism. It is optimal realism. The term was coined by Rosalene Glickman, Ph.D. author of Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self (Wiley)> You can find accurate information at http://www.optimalthinking.com/WhatisOptimalThinking.html

  • Oz, Does Meaning fit into your model? If so, where?
    Kathryn

  • oz says:

    Kathryn,

    Meaning and engagement all come under the EI+ dimension.

    The rationale for this is that at the end of the day activities that give people meaning typically evoke positive emotions – often the very subtle ones like calmness and contentment. I guess the other thing is that the research shows that in oz meaning isn’t a biggy – unlike America which is far more relgious.

    Seligmans pillars are a little arbitrary and are just one way of classifying PP.

    I think its far more useful to be curious and discover what works for you from a PP perspective – hence the awareness dimension of EI+

    Enjoy

  • oz says:

    Kathryn

    Based on some thinking you have generated I have tweaked the model.

    Its now PERFORMANCE

    1. Positive emotional intelligence
    2. Exercise
    3. Rest (sleep)
    4. Flexibility
    5. Optimal thinking
    6. Relationships
    7. Mindfulness
    8. Achievement
    9. Nutrition
    10.Curious
    11.Engaged

    Thanx

  • Oz,
    I love being your muse. I just suggest, for parallelism, that the last two be Curiosity and Engagement.

    I wonder if people can remember that many, even with the mnemonic. I don’t know if the magical number 7 +/- 2 still has any validity, but it does seem like a lot of thunks. But it is still less than the Gallup 12.

    Kathryn

  • oz says:

    Dear Muse(Kathryn),

    I’m not sure if it will be difficult to remember

    I’m about to rebrand my corporate workshops around PERFORMANCE

    So I guess I will find out

    Thanx

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