Forget Resolutions – try these instead!

When a journalist contacted me last year for some quick “Be happier by—” tips for a piece she was doing on the dreaded New Year’s resolution tradition I was not thrilled. I’m really not a huge fan of New Years’ Resolutions.
But then I thought well,  hmm… “Be Happier by -” That’s FAR better than “Be miserable, unrealistic and give up stuff I love up by – “.  And so I replied to her with a list, she wrote the piece and I thought – that’d make a nice little post on my own blog some day. Then in true New Year’s fashion, I forgot all about it!

BUT I just found it!! Better late than never right?

1. Be happier by removing yourself from the centre of your imaginary universe.

That person who gave you a weird look this morning? Did you wonder if it was something you’ve done, said or were wearing? It most likely wasn’t. They maybe just have a headache or have just heard bad news. People think about us a lot less often than we think. If you have doubts about that check how often you think about other people compared to how often you think about yourself or yourself through other peoples’ eyes.

2. Stop allowing yourself to be hurt by social media.

You can do this by understanding you are the one doing the hurting, not the social media.

We have been blaming new technologies for centuries – but that doesn’t fully cut it. We also need to take personal responsibility by controlling our own behaviour and knowing our own triggers. If you feel bad about your body image, stop following accounts that tell you to look different. If you continue, you are, in effect,  choosing to hurt yourself. The purveyors of said accounts should stop purveying, ideally, in my ideal imaginary world… But while we continue to create a lucrative market for them why would they?

3. Reduce your involvement in arguments by not starting them and not taking part in them.

4. Reduce your irritation at people who are ‘wrong’ by reminding yourself that everyone else also believes they are “right”.

And maybe you are “wrong”.  And maybe use the word “mistaken”?

5. Reduce your road rage by understanding that people just make mistakes, or have stuff going on, or are tired, grieving, or upset.

Not everyone on the road is an as&+ole. And sometimes, it might look to others as if you’re the ash&le. I appreciate that it’s a hard one to admit though, having been the one that has definitely looked like the ash%le…

6. Live longer by not doing things that will kill you.

We all think we are immune to disease. We all know half of smokers will die from smoking but that we’ll think we will be in the other half. We’ll think that of all the people who text while driving we are the better multitaskers.

We are not.

Understand that you are as fragile as your neighbour, or the person in that tragic accident you heard about last week.

7. Be aware that most of what you think isn’t true.

Your brain is lying to you 24/7. And it’s kinda enjoying it a lot of the time… #meanbrain

8. Lower your blood pressure (and self-loathing) by not taking things personally.

Remember that people have feelings in our presence. Not necessarily because of our presence. If our partner or friend is in a bad mood, let them be in a bad mood. It will pass. This is the essence of good boundaries – it can be tricky to get the hang of, but it’s worth it!

9. Diffuse potentially explosive situations quickly by saying sorry.

IF and only if you are responsible for a wrongdoing or for causing pain. Equally, consciously avoid saying sorry if you are certain that you’ve done nothing wrong.

10. Have better arguments by pausing before you answer a question in an emotionally charged situation.

The other person won’t notice, they’re too busy thinking of the next point they’re going to make. And in doing so you are implicitly coaching them to slow down too.

11. Sleep more

12. Say “I don’t know” more often

People usually sense when they’re being manipulated or spun a tale. Saying you don’t know illustrates how honest you are, it does not make you look stupid. It is not your job to know everything.

13. De-stress by understanding that “No” is a complete sentence

and that you are allowed to use this awesome sentence even with people who have done things for you. It is not your job to do everything. And you can do this without justifying or explaining – indeed that weakens your “no” or worse, can sound manipulative.

14. Clear your lovely head of guilt by asking yourself if you’ve actually done something wrong.

Hint: Saying “no” to that person who keeps asking for favours isn’t actually “wrong”. If you haven’t done something wrong, then guilt is an inappropriate response. Guilt is rarely useful.
Our dang brains…

15. Allow mistakes

For you, and for others.

16. Energise yourself by surrounding yourself with nice people.

Think about how you feel in the presence of each individual you spend time with. Do some people leave you feeling drained? Feel OK about spending less time with those ones, or better, no time at all –  if it’s practical!
And finally my favourite Be Happier Tip:

17. Feel better every day by treating yourself as well as you would a friend.

That horrible thing you thought about yourself when you looked in the mirror earlier – would you say that to your best bud? Would you follow your beloved people  around and whisper the nasty things you say to yourself into their ears? Does the thought of that even seem preposterous??
Wishing you all a sincerely lovely New Year 2019!

HEALTH WARNING  – these are tips, just that. If you like the sound of them, and you decide to try them, and you get it “wrong” or forget – that’s no excuse for beating yourself up!

And on a personal note: many, many thanks to all my lovely clients and friends who have taught me these things along the way. And mostly, as this year draws to an end, thanks to my mother –  the wisest most resilient woman I knew, whose absence and presence I will always feel.
Ps: Here’s a link to a piece the same journalist wrote this year and you’ll see a few words from me and a colleague in here too. It’s called

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.