Who isn’t looking for ways to be more motivated? Who isn’t a little annoyed at yourself for not following through on all those things you really want to do?
Here’s an idea that will help. I call it “Dear Me,”. Based on a study done at Columbia Business School, this activity not only encouraged futuristic thinking, but it also proved to be a real motivational tool.
Here are the three simple steps:
That’s it. Sounds pretty simple, right? The results at Columbia were very impressive. The professors found that people really started to care more when they became more connected to their future selves. The participants exercised more often, thought about more fulfilling ways to spend their free time, and actually began to take better care of their relationships.
The interesting part here is that not only are you thinking about your future, you are actually planning based what you really want. And you are writing it all down.
Need a little help? Here's a sample:
I’m so glad to see myself healthy and happy as I fill my time enjoying the community-wide activities I always loved. The neighborhood book club I started is a huge success (even if Emily keeps insisting on bringing wine!), and becoming a docent at the gallery was genius. Now not only do I have to learn about each new exhibit that arrives but I also get to interact with the public!
I also love my blogs! They bring me both joy and insight each time I post. My Facebook group, “Make Happy a Habit,” is encouraging and positive. It causes people to stop and think how they, too, can bring happiness into their lives. Yay for me!
I’m proud of myself and send hugs.
Now when you actually have a picture of yourself focusing on what you think you want to do – and feel how it makes you feel – it becomes more real.
These results are not really surprising. After all, once you realize that you are the one making today’s decisions to reach tomorrow’s dreams, it can make all the difference.
So, go ahead… Whether you send yourself an email or actually use pen and paper, write that “Dear Me…” letter today. And let me know how it makes you feel.
ARE YOU READY TO MAKE HAPPY A HABIT?
Get ready…, Get set…, Go! It’s almost March 20th, the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Happiness. This is the day we make sure to not only do what makes us happy but also to spread happiness by encouraging all around us to do the same. But what if you just don’t feel happy? What if you call yourself more of a ‘glass half-empty’ kind of person?
Assuming that you really don’t enjoy being that way, I challenge you to take the next 30 days to MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! I’ll give you the steps so you become empowered to look at the world differently and feel the joy and contentment you deserve. The #makehappyahabitcampaign begins March 20th. You’ll see daily support on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and anywhere else you can help me ‘share’ it.
There is real science behind the emotions of happiness and love. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, Psychologist and Neuroscience Professor at UNC, Chapel Hill said, “The ways that we feel happiness and well-being are actually showing up in the cells of our immune system and supporting our health.” What a great testimonial! Why wouldn’t we want to Make Happy a Habit?
My challenge to you is based on the work of psychologist and happiness researcher, Shawn Achor. Surprising as it sounds, he says that it is possible to re-wire your brain to be happier.
You don’t have to wear a smiley-face hat or tell funny jokes. Simply doing the following five activities daily can rewire your brain towards happiness. (I include my order to just give you some idea of fitting it into your day. You organize it however it is convenient for you.)
1 – THINK OF THREE THINGS YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR.
I like to do this – out loud – in the morning when I get up. I encourage those around me to join in. It’s a good family tradition.
2 – WRITE ABOUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FROM THE PAST 24 HOURS.
I do this in the evening. I keep a notebook on my nightstand. This simple activity has the amazing power of changing your entire mindset. You will comb through the day, tossing aside the negative and focusing on the positive. Guaranteed to make you smile.
3 – EXERCISE (AT LEAST 20 MIN)
I am a morning person, so I make time before breakfast to get in my exercise. Whether it is a brisk walk, time at the gym, or climbing stairs, give yourself 20 minutes and increase your activity. I’m including four short videos of easy five-minute exercises on my website. Do all four in a day and you’ll have your 20 minutes!
4 – MEDITATE (5-7 MIN)
I find that meditating mid-afternoon works for me. No need to think mantras or posing cross-legged on the carpet. The simplest meditation can be sitting quietly listening to soothing music (no words) – and focusing on either the music, your breathing, or a body scan from head toe. If you want some guidance, I like the free app HEADSPACE, which you can use with your earphones while sitting at your desk. Meditation calms and centers, helping you focus and better handle whatever comes your way.
5 – PERFORM ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS.
All day every day is a good time for a random act of kindness. Performing a selfless act that helps, compliments, or encourages someone has an amazing effect on all involved. You’ll enjoy every minute. To help get you started, I’ll post of list of suggestions on my website,
YOU CAN DO THIS! In fact, YOU CAN GET YOUR KIDS TO DO THIS!!! Encourage everyone around you to get involved.
Check out my Instagram for 30 days of inspiration for your 30-day MAKE HAPPY A HABIT! Challenge on social media. You keep count of your 30 days.
Please leave a note on one of the platforms below or comment on this blog post to let me know how you are doing. Post some pictures of what you are grateful for and what makes you happy. I want to know how your random acts of kindness and writing about your positive experiences made you feel. Tell me about your time in meditation. And be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.
Good luck! And get your camera ready – you’ll be finding yourself smiling a lot more.
SHARE YOUR PROGRESS BY:
Don’t forget to include #makehappyahabit in your posts
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC