At the beginning of every year, I like a lot of other people, mentally prepare for the upcoming year by determining what my goals are going to be. In 2018, I’ve committed myself to simply just finding happiness in all things that I do. I tend to get very caught up in my day to day, so making a conscious effort to be mindful of my overall happiness has taken some work, but it’s been worth it. Below are some tips of what’s working for me to achieve my ideal happy and how you can too.
#1 – Don’t Stress About The Things You Cannot Change
Your computer crashes. You missed your train and are now late to a meeting. Your friend cancels weekend plans with you. Your flight’s delayed. Life happens. In that moment, determine what you can control → your reaction and your attitude. Trust me, I’m still working on this myself. Letting ourselves drown in misery or negativity is not going to make the situation any better. Let’s keep our chins up, take a deep breath, and know everything is going to be okay.
#2 – Spend Quality Time with Family & Friends
Really make an effort to spend time with your loved ones. In this technological world we live in, it’s easy to get caught up in our social apps and feel like we already know what’s going on in our friends’ lives. Insta is great and all, but I’d rather ask my bff to catch up over coffee than spend my Sunday morning scrolling mindlessly through her most recent posts. At the very least, a phone call can go a long way and instantly give you that ‘feel good’ feeling after a quality conversation.
#3 – Be Present
Know when to put the phone down. Look, I get it – us millennials in particular are master multi-taskers. We think we can have a face-to-face conversation with someone while texting and checking Snapchat simultaneously. Have you ever been on the other end of this situation with anyone? It’s frustrating, annoying, and hurtful to be talking to someone who is just staring at their phone. Be present in the moment and enjoy that quality time. I make it a point to leave my phone in my purse or at least turn my phone upside down when having conversations.
On that note, know when to be present and take in your surroundings. When I’m traveling to a new city, I want to capture everything around me to post on my Insta story. And rightfully so, we all want to share our travels with the world (who doesn’t love following along our friends’ adventures?!). But again, I’ve learned when to put the phone away. Sometimes it’s soothing just to soak in everything around me – the fresh air, the sights, the people, the culture.
#4 – Unfollow Social Accounts That Do Nothing For You
At the start of the year, I realized I was following a lot of social accounts that were making me feel pretty crummy. I asked myself, “will I miss updates from this person or brand if I unfollow it?” If the answer was no, I actively unfollowed it. I’ve made it a point to continue following this mantra and I have felt more inspired and happy lately scrolling through social media.
#5 – Focus On What You Have
It’s hard not to compare yourself to others. You see someone who dresses better than you, who is more successful than you, or who is more creative than you and BOOM – you instantly feel overwhelmed. Let’s face it, we’re human beings and we’re never going to stop comparing. But the thing is, we all have our own strengths and we tend to forget all the good things we’ve got going for ourselves. So, in 2018, I urge you to focus on what you do have. We are all blessed in our own ways and it can take some committed mental work to remember this in those moments of defeat.
#6 – Find a Passion Project
Realize the amount of potential you have and find a passion project to dive into. Through the years, I’ve seen friends of mine start their own businesses and/or find new hobbies that ultimately made them even more admirable human beings. If you love to paint, paint. If you love animals, volunteer at a shelter. The possibilities are endless. My passion has always been writing, which is why I started Lipstick & Ink. Once you figure out what that passion of yours really is, I guarantee you’ll wake up every morning feeling like you have more purpose in your life. I sure have.
#7 – Exercise
“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”
Ah, the wise words spoken by Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Get that cute butt of yours moving and feel your endorphins magically come to life! If you don’t like the idea of exercising at a gym, I have good news for you – you have other options. I never could get behind going to a gym and just spending 45 minutes on the elliptical. Instead, I found other ways to exercise that I could get excited about. Nowadays, I look forward to going to my barre and pilates classes and just going for a walk on a perfect weather day. Exercise doesn’t always have to be strenuous – find what works for you.
#8 – Start A Journal
You can make your journal whatever you want it to be. You can write what’s on on your mind, things you’re grateful for, tough experiences, or just about the awesome things you’ve accomplished. There are so many benefits to journaling, one of them being that you’ll feel more gratified in your life. You’re ultimately going to get to know yourself better and understand not only what makes you happy, but also situations and experiences that are toxic to your well-being. I personally like journal writing so I can go back and read special memories I’ve written down from over the years.
#9 – Treat Yo’self
Sometimes, you just need a little pampering. Save some extra money each month to do the thing that makes you most happy. Relax and go get a massage. Read a magazine while getting a pedicure. Go to that hot new restaurant you’ve been dying to go to. Shop for new pieces to put in your closet. Take a bubble bath. Whatever it is, enjoy it and know you deserve it.
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.