Editor’s Note: For several years, we’ve ended one year or started the next year by inviting our authors to make a suggestion to people looking forward to the year ahead. If you like what someone says, we invite you to click the author’s name to find articles he or she has written over the years. This is part 2 of this year’s suggestions. Find part 1 here.
Tell somebody how much you mean to them. Make sure to pick somebody where it feels vulnerable! Then do it again.
It’s been really valuable for me to notice when I’ve making life decisions that reflect the norms of society or the norms of whatever in-group I happen to be part of versus when I’m making decisions that reflect my true values and strengths. The latter always makes me happier, while the former drains my energy. Setting aside societal expectations of what people are supposed to be doing, achieving, or buying, or how we’re supposed to structure our love life, parenting style, free time, finances, and so on, and figuring out what changes we can make to be kinder to our true nature, to others, and the planet, is quite a process, but worth it! I would recommend the book How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World by Colin Beavan, for anyone interested in making that their New Year’s Resolution. It will be published in January and is available for pre-order.
This new year ushers in an energy of flux, creativity, the need to transition and produce. It’s a planetary thing, so folks should know they’re not alone in this, and there are ways to leverage this space to optimize creatively.
Be kind to yourself. Be self-compassionate. The world can feel hard and difficult. The world news is filled with misery and it can feel crushing. Don’t take on too much. Practice self-compassion. Take small steps. Be good to you.
If you are making goals for the new year, go beyond SMART and make your goals SMARTEST.
Do hard things. Research shows that we scan our days at the end of each day for things we are proud of, and they are always the things that are hard and outside of our comfort zone. So don’t play it safe in 2016, shoot for the stars, aim for the moon, and remember to leave it all on the floor so that you have no regrets.
My one piece of advice is to Move2Love. Move2Love coalesces positive energy, kinesiology/sport medicine, and motivation around passion, compassion, and appreciation. The aim is in embodying understanding, kindness, caring, and love in our habitual actions, as we move through space together. One strategy is “FitDance,” a group dance exercise program combining positive energy, rhythm, and fitness training (aerobic, flexibility, strengths, balance, core, and coordination). It’s cross training, but not hard core. In my dissertation research in 2015, I found that FitDance increased exercise enjoyment, motivation, and adherence in participants as corroborated by family members. Move2Love applies PERMA in motion, and the application is in creating a loving, welcoming environment, social support, and cohesion to lift up individuals and the group. It is a way of building self-care and self-love so that we can give more to other people.
I recently spoke with Stefan Deutch, who is putting together a ‘Symposium on Love’ in 2016, and he discusses love as nourishment. Giving and receiving love is the greatest gift. It is truly transformative, transcendent, what really matters most. Giving and celebrating love for others, our environments, and ourselves is the ultimate gift.
- Find joy every day.
- Do what you love.
- Make a difference.
If you need convincing this is a worthy commitment, take the three-day 3 Promises Challenge and see for yourself how powerful this practice can be in your life.
(Here’s a link to the review of my book, The 3 Promises.)
Remember you are the only person exactly like you in the universe, so take all advice with a large grain of salt. Try it on for size. If it works, great! If it doesn’t, what can you learn about yourself by what happened?
Remember also Tal Ben Shahar’s discussion of green-tip psychology. Where the growth is greatest, new patterns form. Research may focus on averages and central tendencies, but exciting things happen at the edge.
Wishing you a green-tip new year.
Beavan, C. (2016). How to Be Alive: A Guide to the Kind of Happiness That Helps the World. Dey Street Books.
Pollay, D. J. (2014). The 3 Promises: Find Joy Every Day. Do What You Love. Make A Difference.. Sterling.
Images used courtesy of Sean Doyle.