A Happier You in 2014


Who wants to be happier? 

I would guess that everyone wants more happiness in their life, but how do we aquire more happiness?  The following plan was developed based on Dr. Roger Walsh’s 8 Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes found in Lifestyle and Mental Health.

Most people are familiar with the concept of setting SMART goals and that well crafted goals are Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; and Time-sensitive.  I have found through years of facilitating organizational goal-setting and execution, in addition to being ‘SMART’, the best goals also encourage us to stretch to new heights and are designed to be fun to achieve.  Without planned fun and support the success of our goal achievement is 100% on willpower.  Willpower alone has universally proven to be insufficient.  If the goal doesn’t stretch us we miss out on the opportunity for transformation. Great goal-setting is designing a meaningful journey with all these considerations taken into account.

The 2014 Happiness Plan is incremental by design.  Too many times we sabotaged our own journey with an all-or-nothing approach!  Results oriented people like progress, but moving too fast towards a goal without the foundation being laid in place leads to diminished results. This is as true for organizations as it is for individuals.  I hold the assumption it takes at least a month of earnest effort to hardwire a new habit.  For this reason, this plan only be tackles one Therapeutic Lifestyle Change a month until transformed into a foundational habit before moving on.

My 2014 Happiness Plan- Year in Overview

January- Goal is to move daily for at least 20 minutes.  Our bodies are created to be active, something I haven’t always honored.  In Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s PBS Special the benefits of exercise are explored including pushing onset of dementia out by 10-15+ years and being as effective as anti-depressants in one study!  This is doesn’t even begin to touch on the many cardiovascular, respiratory, the reduced risk of developing diabetes, and benefits of movement to our muscles and joints.  So this plan is kicked off be a month of discovery of movement that we can incorporate into our lives as a daily habit.

February- Goal is to eat at least five servings colors of fruits and veggies a day, and to set a personal (as individuals) goal to promote a healthier relationship with food such as-

    • limit refined carbs
    • eat locally sourced organic foods
    • limit meat consumption
    • daily discovering a new plant-based treat to incorporate into you snack options
    • daily trying a non-food enhancement to dinning (i.e. not eating alone, eating on china…)

March- Goal is to set one day a week to un-plug from mobile devices and other technologies and rediscover nature however is meaningful to us.

April- Goal is to start a gratitude journal and express a daily sentiment of thanks to a loved one.

May- Goal is to find out what we love to do through weekly exploration and trying out something new, just for the fun of it!  Finding activities we can do with others…even better!

June- Goal is to find out what centers us through weekly exploration and trying out a new stress relieving activity.  Also 15 minutes each day should be spent sitting in a quiet room meditating- just focusing on your breathing.

July- Goal is to recommit to spirituality.  If one is already practicing a religion this month you will set your own goal in collaboration with your religious mentor.  After all by this point of the year someone following this plan will be a goal-setting and achieving expert.  If one doesn’t have an organized place/community to practice your spirituality the goal this month is to discover what is out there.

August & beyond- Goal is reflect on our unique contribution to a Happiness/Healthiness Revolution through daily written reflection how we contribute to our community.  By the end of this month you should have set two personal goals for yourself addressing:

    • How are we going to ensure your new habits stay with us beyond 2014?
    • How we will share what we have learned with others?

That’s the plan!  Due to the response of my post 8 Habits of Happiness, I have started a weekly newsletter to share tools, resources, and build a community for other people who have decided to join my family on this journey.  If you would like to be part of this emerging community, please reach out and I will add you!

Shawna Beese-Bjurstrom, RN, MBA lives in Spokane, WA with her family where she is an Executive/Business Coach.  She writes on issues such as healthcare strategy, operational excellence, communication, and leadership.  I invite you to  check out my blog!

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