New Habit Mindset

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Here’s one thing that you can do easily to increase your happiness in 2019.

So many of our New Year’s resolutions are centered around doing less or stopping an activity, such as

  • Drink less
  • Lose weight
  • Cut down on extraneous spending
  • Reduce screen time

Often we don’t think about what truly brings us joy. For a country that prides itself on freedom, independence, and the pursuit of happiness, a recent study confirms that the US has clearly has lost its way.

In the World Happiness Report, the top ten happiest countries are Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia; the US ranks 18th and yet we are the 11th richest country in the world.

What is wrong with this picture? Why aren’t we happier?

Well-being and happiness often require factors such as family support and friendships, living with meaning and purpose in your life, a healthy lifestyle and a spirit of generosity.

Have we gotten too greedy, self-consumed, and me-oriented?

Research has already shown that after a certain threshold, more money and more toys don’t make us happier. While we may still be experiencing a holiday high, our back-to-reality everyday drudgery will hit home soon. True to our fallible nature, we think that more money will make us happier. While it is true that the wealthy are happier than the poor, once we have reached a certain threshold, around $80,000 a year depending on where you live, more money does not correlate to greater happiness.

When our income increases, our spending expands and we overestimate the joy that a new car or larger house will bring. Sure it may make us happier for the short-term, but in the long run, the initial emotional euphoria will dissipate.

If more money doesn’t make you happier, what will according to the research?

Generosity is one of the top key variables that contribute to happiness in the World Happiness Report. A recent white paper on generosity concludes that human beings are wired to help one another whether it’s through time, donations, volunteering or some other act of kindness and empathy.

Generosity can make a huge difference in your happiness and well-being. Click to retweet

Generosity expands your capacity to think beyond yourself and build empathy and compassion toward others, important emotions to increase your happiness. According to Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology and the creator of PERMA principles, happiness can be cultivated with discipline and better habits.

The research on generosity is complex and nuanced. Several different studies note that there are social and geographic differences in giving to charitable organizations. People in the top income quintile in England and Wales were the most likely to give to charitable causes (86 percent), while those in the bottom quintile were least likely to give (65). This contrasted with studies from the US where the very poorest give the highest proportion of their income and then the line flattens with those from middle and higher income brackets.

Regardless of your income, geographic location, cultural or familial upbringing, the research clearly indicates that forming an ongoing habit of generosity not only helps others, but it is also good for you.

Make generosity your top habit to cultivate for 2019.

  1. Donate to your favorite cause every month. Remember that every little bit can help a small organization.
  2. Make it a practice to help someone at work or at home without being asked or without expecting anything in return.
  3. Volunteer your time with an organization or to make a difference in someone’s life.
  4. Be generous with your attention. Take your headphones off your head, pull out your earbuds, lift your head up and away from your phone or computer, really look people in the eyes and listen to what they have to say. In fact, say, “hello” when you pass someone.
  5. Be generous with your kind words. More compliments, more nice comments, and more positive reinforcement.

Here’s a challenge for the next 365 days. Practice one act of generosity a day. Be the change. Make a difference. And you will feel the change in your life.

There are affiliate links below for which I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

Suggested Reading

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

The Generosity Factor by Ken Blanchard and S. Truett Cathy

The Paradox of Generosity by Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson

For featured image, visit pixabay.com


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5 Key areas of your well-being. Where are you thriving and where are you not?

Our consumer-driven culture seduces us daily with all sorts of reasons to buy the latest fashion, gadget, toy, game, and car.  Advertising has us chasing product deals falsely tying our self-worth to some “thing.”

While consumerism may be good for the economy, is it really good for you? Do more toys or more clothes or more gadgets really make you happier?

What really improves your well-being?

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Three simple habits to get unstuck in any area of your life.

The self-help movement is a $9.9 billion industry but the US population is generally unhappy, overweight, disengaged at work, and not saving any money. Here are the statistics: 

There is no shortage of gurus, programs, or blogs (like this one)  to help you with personal mastery, health and fitness, weight loss, relationships, career or financial planning, mindfulness, or anything else you want to tweak or change in your life.

Why are are we unable to change?  Why do we get so stuck in our status quo?

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26 ways you can achieve a marathon mindset and reach your goals.

Today is the Boston Marathon.  It’s the oldest continuing running marathon that attracts international elite athletes to compete in running 26.2 miles.  Due to its competitive entry requirements, the field is limited to 30,000 entrants of which 80% must beat a qualifying time at another marathon in their age category.  It’s not for the faint-hearted but for goal-driven, competitive personalities.   

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How to use positive psychology to kickstart your goals for 2018.

When I ask you, “how was your day?”, what is your response?

Do you immediately recount the negative experiences that have recently happened or are you able to identify some of the positive outcomes you may have experienced?

Most people dwell on the areas of their life that are not going well or where they have experienced negative emotions.  This tendency is driven by the default wiring in your brain.  Positive psychology and strength-based questions can help override your negative thinking and improve your capacity to create success in your life by focusing on what is going well for you now and building on your key strengths.

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Perfectionism


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How to make perfectionism actually work for you.

Are you a perfectionist? Do people call out your perfectionism as a negative trait?

Often when I am striving to excel, persisting with the nitty-gritty to get something “just right,” and suddenly a roadblock or catastrophe occurs sending me off course, the advice I typically get is to:

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Five pearls of wisdom from noteworthy commencement speeches.

‘Tis the season of graduations where notable entertainers, politicians, business owners, leaders, artists and authors impart words of wisdom and advice to the graduating class.

  • Do you remember your commencement address?
  • Do you recall the wise words passed along to you to help you navigate your way forward into the world?

My mind draws a blank when reflecting back to my own commencement ceremony from college.  I cannot recall any profound words of wisdom that have stuck with me through the decades.

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How to move from a money scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset.

Family debt is at an all time high since the 2008 mortgage crisis.  It appears that the rise in student college debt is contributing to this increase.   While our economy is based on sustainable borrowing to fuel jobs and growth, has US family debt gone too far?

How much debt are you carrying? Do you feel like you never have enough money?

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3 Powerful Lessons from Hidden Figures

Based on the historically accurate book written by Margaret Lee Shelterly, Hidden Figures, directed by Ted Medfli is a film that stirs your soul with admiration and inspiration for the three trailblazing African-American heroines who worked as mathematicians at NASA during the early years of the space program back in the early 1960s.

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A sure-fire strategy to boost your productivity.

If you are feeling stuck, stymied, or dissatisfied with the lack of progress in achieving one of your goals, try infusing your routine with a sprint commitment.

What is a sprint commitment?

Drawing on my experience with athletics, it is a focused, short-term burst of activity which challenges you to accelerate your momentum and surpass your status quo.

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