Posts Tagged ‘new year resolutions’

What will 2018 bring? One of my favorite quotes is, “I’m on this wonderful journey in search of wisdom and it’s the best game in town. In our community, we love the game and our motto is that we’re all bozos on this bus traveling toward personal growth.”   – Author unknown

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I identify as a bozo and that I feel it’s important to make a difference.  I know that if I do not endow my life with meaning, no one else can do it for me.  I also know that I can’t take credit for my talents.  It’s how I use them that counts.

This personal philosophy led me to coaching and hopefully, helping others find their path to meaning and happiness.  Much like the accountant, who’s quite busy in April, January finds Life Coaches’ clients clamoring for help in making and keeping New Year’s resolutions.

I recently saw a Facebook post that read, “I don’t refer to them as resolutions, I prefer the term – casual promises to myself that I’m under no legal obligation to fulfill.”

All kidding aside, of course there’s no legal obligation to keep those resolutions.  However, what about the guilt?  For many of us, that weighs heavier than any other repercussion.  My advice – don’t make resolutions, especially those that depend on motivation.  It’s elusive and works against the brain’s natural tendencies to save energy.  We don’t have to make our lives difficult!  I’m always in favor of doing taking the easy route to success, mostly because we struggle less and enjoy the journey.

Generally, the most common New Year’s resolutions are health-based with people vowing to take better care of their bodies in the coming year.  We promise ourselves to lose weight and exercise more.

Which leads me to the point of this blog post.  What if we create or improve social connections that make us happier and lead to better health?  In this case, we’re going with the flow, not trying to swim against the current.

I’ve done enough research on happiness to know that meaningful social connections foster happiness.  And I know that the happier I am, the healthier I will most likely be.  It’s like that question, “What came first – the chicken or the egg?”

If I propagate happiness, then I’m more likely to eat right, exercise and live a meaningful life.  That makes me happier and the cycle continues.

Please don’t stop reading because you don’t feel at ease with human connection!  There are different kinds of social connection.  You have options.

  • Reading can be a deeply social act, putting you inside other people’s minds. And studies suggest that reading makes people more empathic and improves social skills by helping us better understand our fellow humans. So, light the fire and curl up with a good book.
  • Mindfulness with nature activates parts of the brain associated with balance and happiness. In a study, brain scans showed that when subjects saw images of mountains, forests, and other landscapes, they experienced a more positive outlook. So, take a walk!  If it’s too cold, fire up your laptop and look at Ansel Adams’ photos.
  • Make “alone dates” and guard them as if they are dates with your best friend. Leave electronics behind and experience quiet.  Scientists are beginning to recognize that solitude is a catalyst for expert performance. When you are alone, you can make headway on tasks that are most challenging to you personally. If you want to improve what you are doing, you have to be the one who generates the move.  “The quieter you are, the more you will hear.”  Ram Dass
  • Spend time with someone who has a different world view. He or she can offer fresh perspectives which may inspire you to reevaluate your own routine and goals. My greatest teachers are my grandchildren.  Their questions and reflections inspire me to open my mind to new ways of thinking.  They resurrect the bozo in me and keep me on the personal growth bus.

Happy 2018!








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George Lakoff

George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).

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