2018 is a new year and an opportunity for you to hit restart. Even though there is no fundamental difference between making a change on December 31st compared to January 1st, it can be helpful to use a specific moment (like a new year) to catalyze these transitions. That being said, a large percentage of people do not stick with their new year’s resolutions. There are a variety of reasons for this, but, at the core, it is because they are not sustainable.
Part of it is a matter of finding what you can get behind consistently. That means you can either think really hard about it, or you can try many different things and see what sticks. Here are 18 things you can do to be happier in 2018. Even adding a few to your life can have a drastic impact on a better new year.
1. Exercise more frequently.
You hear it all of the time, but exercise makes you feel better. The release of endorphins and energy that come with working out are extremely valuable. In order for this to be effective, though, you have to be consistent. That means finding what you need in order to really go to the gym, go for runs or workout from home multiple times a week.
2. Eat healthier.
Despite the instant gratification that comes with unhealthy food, it makes you feel worse. Providing your body with the right nutrients, and avoiding negative ones, will have you feeling much better and energetic each day. It is okay to have an occasional treat, and living in absolutes can often be much more challenging. A concentrated focus towards healthier eating, though, will pay off. Here is how I eat healthier desipte my busy schedule.
3. Spend more time outside.
Being outside has been proven to make people feel better. Enjoying nature and spending time in places that you love will help you relax and become more present. Despite how busy things might seem, it is easy to integrate the outdoors into your daily routine. This could mean walking around a park to catch up with a friend instead of getting coffee or reading in your backyard instead of on your couch.
4. Be more grateful.
Gratitude has been another proven way to increase happiness levels. Remembering how lucky you are and reflecting on the positives of life can be powerful. Making even a small effort to write down three things you are grateful for at the end of each day will improve the way that you feel.
5. Spend more time with people that you love.
This goes without saying, but being around people that you love makes you happier. It is easy to spend time with those that you do not truly enjoy being around. Cutting those people out of your life and replacing them with those who give you energy will make for a more meaningful year.
I’ve managed to do this in my own life by making myself “busy” all the time. I even went as far as putting together a calendar management guide to help you always make the best of your time.
6. Learn a new skill.
Progress makes people happier. Getting caught up in the daily routine can be boring and demotivating. Finding a skill to pick up over the next year can give you something to work towards and a tangible item of growth to be proud of. Skills could include artistic talents, athletic feats or even something like stand-up comedy.
7. Worry less what others think.
When we worry about what others think of us, we are taken out of the present moment. Plus, doing so does not accomplish anything productive. Instead, do what you want to do, regardless of how others might perceive those actions. There are enough amazing people in the world that will love you for you to worry about the ones that do not.
Meditation has also been proven to increase happiness. Plus, it is incredibly easy to get started. Just five minutes a day focusing on your breathing will yield benefits within a week.
9. Smile more.
Studies have shown that smiling triggers positive associations in your brain that spark happiness. This externality does not take much extra effort from you. Not to mention that smiling makes you come across as a warmer person which could attract more friends or potential partners.
10. Love yourself.
You have to love yourself for who you are. When we think poorly of ourselves or our actions, we are committing a disservice. Instead, accept who you are and the way that you act. You will not always make the right choices or be happy with how others see you. That is okay, though. As opposed to judging, just accept where you are in your life and think about what you can to be a better version of yourself. Doing so will eliminate many of the negative sentiments we often experience around self image.
11. Have more experiences.
Experiences tend to have a much stronger influence on happiness than material things. Therefore, do what you can to have more experiences in 2018. It doesn’t even have to be expensive vacations. Rather, you can have little experiences.Find the hidden gems where you live, go make memories with your friends and push yourself to try new things. These experiences are both fun in the moment and trigger positive memories upon reflection.
12. Give back
Helping others can give us a sense of warmth. Whether it is giving to charity, doing community service or finding other ways to help, doing so can will you happier. Plus, you get to add good to the world.
13. Find artistic outlets.
Whether you perceive yourself as an artist or not, spend more time with artistic pursuits. This could be learning to play a new instrument, trying your hand out at poetry or even joining an improv group. These activities spark creativity in our brain and different juices than we are typically used to. They tend to help us feel hyper-present and are purely enjoyable.
14. Laugh more.
Laughing warms our hearts and bodies while adding to life satisfaction. Therefore, find ways to laugh more. This could be watching comedy, spending more time with people who make you laugh, or even just taking life less seriously.
15. Push yourself.
When we really challenge ourselves, there is a deep level of satisfaction. Think about some of the most challenging things you have done and the way that you felt afterward. This is not to say to do something crazy or unhealthy for the sake of doing it.
Rather, pushing yourself in your workouts (don’t get hurt!), the activities that you care about, or in other ways can invoke a sense of accomplishment that resonates deeply. Think about starting a side project to bring in extra cash. The goal is to push yourself to new levels. Here is a guide on how to start a business to help you push yourself even harder.
16. Eliminate the things you do not enjoy doing.
This one also seems obvious. Yet, seriously think about the way that you allocate your time. There are some things you will not enjoy that you have to do, but likely many others that you could eliminate. Cutting these out of life will give you more time to do what you enjoy.
17. Spend less time on social media.
Social media leaves us craving something more. We feel like we do not stack up against our peers and we care more about our external images. Using social media less will remove you from those types of sentiments and make you happier.
18. Stay with it.
Life can be extremely challenging and sometimes there is nothing that you can do about that. Over the course of 2018, be persistent. Love yourself and accept that not every day will be the best. Just because one day was bad, though, does not mean it has to carry into the next. Each day you wake up, you get to have whatever mindset and perspective that you would like. This is powerful, and taking control of how you feel is a major step on the path towards greater life satisfaction.