January has been and gone and we’re now in the full throes of 2016. Last month we published an article about why we’re not making any New Year’s resolutions and instead but instead set ourselves a handful of goals we’d like to try and live by.
Below are 10 things that happy, healthy and successful people should focus on for the rest of the year.
Appreciate life’s simple pleasures
At the beginning of the year I set myself a goal to appreciate life’s little pleasures, to engage with the present moment and appreciate the simple things that make our lives more fulfilling. I’m going to look at the world around me on the way to work, be mindful of the people I interact with, spend my lunch breaks reading the newspaper or an inspirational book. This year I’m going to visit new places at the weekend, or cook a different meal in the evening. I’m learning to find happiness in the seemingly mundane moments – treating myself to a coffee on the way to work, painting my nails, having a bath or listening to music on the way home from work. By appreciating the simple pleasures life has to offer as well as the more momentous ones we’re able to live more fulfilling and enriched lives.
Learn to meditate
Last month I downloaded an app called Buddhify, which helps with meditation and mindfulness. Taking time out to breathe, be calm, and engage with your thoughts in a positive way is extremely good for your wellbeing and mental health. Buddhify has really helped me focus and is teaching me how to shut out the noise and listen to my thoughts. After just a few meditations I’m beginning to feel more productive, creative and contented. I would highly recommend.
Give something back
This year I’m going to give something back. I’ve been thinking about ways to do this for a while and always get bogged down with having to do the grand gesture – volunteering to build a school, or working at an orphanage in a third world country. While I’d love to do these things I’ve realized that you can give back in many different ways from buying a homeless person a coffee to giving blood. A quick Google search for volunteering opportunities in my area threw up loads of options too. Your time could make all the difference to someone in need.
Set a savings goal
So maybe this is a sign that at the ripe old age of 26 I’m getting a little wiser. Money makes this world go round whether we like it or not, and the older you get the more important it is to have savings. Without a safety net money can become a huge cause of stress and anxiety. This year I’m going to do everything in my power to save the pennies, from getting one of those money tins that you have to actually smash to get into to transferring the odd £50 – £100 into my savings account when I’m feeling a little more flash.
Explore a new city before daybreak
There is nothing more liberating than exploring a new city by the first light of day whilst clutching a take out coffee. This may sound like a massive cliché, but you can experience a totally different side of a city before the daily bustle drowns out the stillness of the morning. This year Tom and I have a couple of mini breaks booked and I’m going to insist that one day of each trip we swap a lie in for an early morning recce of the area.
Learn to love yourself
We live in a highly connected, highly competitive world where we’re constantly confronted with the lives of others. We’re so obsessed with what our peers and celebrities are doing that we forget to focus on ourselves. Everyday we should take the time to appreciate who we are, our good points. A few years ago I wrote a list of 50 things that I liked about myself – it’s such a refreshing and positive exercise and taught me the importance of being kind to yourself as well as those around you. So congratulate yourself on a good hair day, don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you’ve worked hard to look good, be proud of your achievements and remember that you’re deserving, worthy and better than you realize.
Indulge in more me time
Spending time in your own company is one of life’s great pleasures. Having time to relax, think and do exactly what you want is just heaven. Some of my favourite days are the ones where I can wander into town and grab a coffee, buy some flowers, have a bath with a candle, read a really girly magazine and paint my nails. Spending time on your own, understanding when you need some space and indulging in what makes you happy is good for the soul, do it more often.
Live in the present moment
So this year I’ve set myself a goal to engage with the present moment; rather than endlessly trawling through Instagram feeds, yearning for the lives of others I’m going to focus on the here and now. I’m going to unplug from my phone, my laptop, television and other digital devices and focus on the real world around me. It could be cooking a nice meal, going for a long walk, having a coffee or going for a glass of wine with a friend, having a face-to-face chat, going for a run or reading a book. Living in the present moment is about totally absorbing yourself in the now and appreciating its significance.
Nurture valued relationships
Relationships are an important part of everyday life. Our friends and family experience life with us and contribute to how we feel, act and behave. Valued relationships enrich our lives, bring joy, happiness and laughter, they offer support and perspective and help us make the right decisions. Nurture those relationships; be kind, honest and supportive. The relationships you forge over your lifetime inform who you are, they will help you grow as a person, they will help you find happiness and in times of need they will help you heal.
Be grateful for what you already have
Edith Wharton famously said, “If only we’d stop trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time,” and I couldn’t agree with her more. We’re all guilty of believing that our lives would be better if only we could lose a bit of weight, get a promotion, earn more money or have a new wardrobe, when actually we could live happier, more content lives if we could learn to appreciate and be grateful what we already have. This year I’m making a vow to love my life. Appreciate it, and be thankful for the people in it and the opportunities I’ve had. My goal is to live in the moment and stop pining for the future. There is so much happiness and love and beauty around us everyday, our families, friends, health, careers – we need to appreciate what we have and live in the present moment, rather than wasting our time reminiscing about the past or obsessing about the future.