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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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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Career_Choices_Decision_Making


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Discover how to breakthrough your career blahs in 2017.

“Find your passion and the money will follow.”

“Do what you love even without a business plan.”

These Pollyanna statements cause a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach because they mislead you into thinking that life is easy, blissful, and that money just shows up.

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Winter Solstice: Rituals and Reflection

For many years our family has celebrated the winter solstice as a way to mark the longest night and the shortest day, while reflecting on our own light and dark moments of 2016 and setting an intention for the year ahead.

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New Year's Resolutions


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Are you on track with your New Year’s resolutions?

Remember those New Year’s resolutions you set back in January 2016?  

Remember how important they were to you and how determined you were to achieve them?

It is time to take an honest look at where you are now in completing those goals.  

According to John Norcross and Dominic Vangarelli close to 60% of people will drop their resolutions by 6 months reverting back to old behaviors and habits.  Peter Herman concluded that many people don’t achieve their goals because of “false hope syndrome.” This means that there is a fundamental difference between the goal and your personal belief that you are capable of reaching it.

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