4 Things You Need to Start Doing Now to be Happier in 2018

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'Tis the season to reflect on the last year - the good, the bad, the ugly. Now dig way back to January 1, 2017 and think about the resolutions you hoped to stick to. Maybe you set out to eat healthier, shed some pounds, go to bed earlier, workout more, eat out less...how'd that all work for you? Research tells us that the secret to resolutions that stick are to set them long before the ball drops. 

I'm a master procrastinator (I like to think it's just that I work well under pressure), but when it comes to goal setting I know that late is most definitely not great. This time around, I'm making the choice to start on my resolutions early. New beginnings give us the opportunity to reflect inward and align ourselves with what we want to bring into our lives. 

All the TED Talks, self-help books and Csikszentmihalyi teachings I've consumed throughout the years have brought me to these 4 things we need to do to make our resolutions a reality.

1. SET CLEAR INTENTIONS

I find that setting clear intentions is the key to getting what you want. When I’m clear with myself about what it is I desire or want to achieve, taking the necessary steps toward change seem far less daunting than usual. If you don't have an intention clearly outlined when setting a resolution, it's easy to forget why you're doing what you're doing in the first place...resulting in abandoned goals.

What are intentions exactly and how do you set them? Let's do it together.

Grab a notebook, a cute pen and ask yourself these questions. Let your pen do the writing when it comes to answering them...

  • What do I want to change in 2018?
  • What do I want to attract into my life in the new year?
  • How do I want to feel at the end of 2018?

Gaining clarity around your intentions is the first and very nessecary step towards making them a reality in your life.

2. BE NICE (TO YOURSELF)

In the words of Justin Bieber, "Oh baby you should go and love yourself". No, but really, when you see yourself through a lens of compassion and acceptance, you allow yourself to feel happier. When you change what you say and what you think (especially about yourself), you change your energy. Shifting your energy towards positivity and self-love gives you momentum and motivation to make good things happen. Why? Because you're nice and you deserve good things. The time you used to waste on self-judgment and putting yourself down is now spent on positive things...like achieving your goals.

3. STOP #JUDGING

Judgement is an awful habit and chances are you've been judging yourself (and others) more often than you even realize. Think about it. How often are you saying things like, “Why do you always say the wrong thing?” “Why can’t you lose weight?” “I thought that photo was really good, but it barely any likes." "Why did you smile like that again? It makes your eyes look small." etcetera, etcetera. 

Be easy on yourself. If you aren't, who will? Make a conscious effort to stop judging. You will see your relationships improve, your mood elevate, and ultimately you'll begin attracting your desires. Healing judgment in your life will release the beliefs that hold you back from living a better life. 

4. DITCH THE NEGATIVE NANCY

Sometimes creating change and sticking to resolutions can feel overwhelming. Surrounding yourself with positive people who uplift, empower and encourage you makes a world of a difference...especially on the cloudy days (because, let's be real, bad days happen). 

Studies show that we are happiest when we are around those who are also happy and display joy. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of the damage being caused from the negative energy of a friend or family member. 

Maybe it comes with getting older, but when you take a step back sometimes you start to realize that not everyone has your best interest at heart (painful, I know). Some people like when you are in crisis because it fulfills their want to be needed. It’s not easy to let go of the friendships, relationships and family loyalties that cause you pain. While you don't always have to burn a bridge, boundaries are healthy when it comes to someone who is bringing more negative than positive vibes your way. It's hard, but you have to remember that the happier you are the better you're positioned to have a positive influence on someone who is stuck in a rut. Misery loves company...get yourself out of the ditch.

Positive energy is contagious and being around those who want you to succeed will only contribute to your happiness and improve your quality of life.