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5 ways to be happier in 2017

With the New Year knocking at the door, here are 5 ways to make 2017 even better.

  • Take off the glasses – When we reflect on what has happened in the past, we tend do so with two kinds of glasses. We put on our rose-coloured glasses and pump up our successes or more often, we put on our dark-coloured glasses and beat ourselves up regarding what we didn’t achieve or what we thought about doing (but never did). The alternative is to take off the glasses completely and see the year for what it was. This provides a great starting point from which to consciously decide to make 2017 even better.

  • Stop competing with others – It’s hard not to compare ourselves to other people. For example: not to compare how much we earn with what someone else does; what our kids achieve at school with other kids; how nice our house is compared to others. When we do this, we make the unconscious assumption that the people with whom we compare are the right benchmark. This limits the possibilities because we become locked into ‘better than them is enough’ thinking. The alternative is to constantly do better, be better and achieve more than we did ‘ourselves’ last time. This is way more satisfying and grants us the freedom to achieve even greater things.

  • Learn to 'let it go' - Is there a topic that regularly has you climbing up on your soap-box, trying to convince others to acknowledge its importance? Perhaps there is a person who always gets under your skin or winds you up. Why not make 2017 the year to 'let it go' and not react as you usually do?

  • Be grateful – It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. Spending a few seconds every day being grateful for what you have (and I don’t just mean material things) gives life a fresh, rich perspective. It brings balance to all the issues that feel big at the time but in the scheme of things, don’t really matter that much.

  • Build deeper connections – When we’re busy, we often gloss over the interactions we have with people. With our family members and familiar work colleagues particularly, we fall into ‘auto-pilot’ listening ie. making all the right sounds but not really being in the moment and not connecting. Make 2017 the year you’ll ‘be there’ (in both mind and body) for these conversations. Also, why not connect with people you never have before. For example: the person you pay at the petrol station –look at them, smile and say something; that person you always see in the lift but never say hello to – introduce yourself; the parent you see at your child’s sporting events – start a conversation about the game you’re watching. The outcome may surprise you.

Before you begin your New Year festivities, why not spend 5 minutes writing a note to yourself to read at the end of 2017. Write 3 things you’re going to achieve; 3 things you’re going to do differently to the previous year and 3 things you are never, ever going to do again. Put the note in an envelope, write ‘To be opened on [date]’ and place it in a location you will see it every day (eg. on your computer screen or on your fridge door).

All the very best for a happy, prosperous and successful 2017.

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