Guest Post by Mark Kirkpatrick
No time sparks the desire for people to make the most of their lives like the holiday season around the end of the calendar year. Between the feeling of wanting to help others around the holidays and the need for self-improvement for the New Year, the holidays provide the impetus for people to make major lifestyle changes and implement productive, healthy habits.
But it takes more than a calendar page turning to inspire someone to truly make important lifestyle changes. Even though the approaching New Year can generate ideas about how you can change your life for the better, it takes an attitude change at the same time to create lifestyle improvements that actually stick. As shown in the infographic, developing a positive attitude first can greatly help you successfully make the desired changes.
One way you can improve the way you feel about your life is to practice being grateful. You’ll want to take the time to find areas of your life about which you can feel good. Remaining positive as you go through your day can make you a happier person.
A study performed at UC Davis shows that people who keep a weekly journal that lists at least five things for which they’re grateful leads to better feelings about life in general. Putting a grateful attitude into practice leads to people who have fewer health problems, who sleep better, and who carry an optimistic attitude.
You’ll also feel better about the direction of your life when you’re involved in volunteer activities. Volunteers sometimes report a feeling of euphoria after doing charity work, which also can be described as a “helper’s high.”
As with creating a more grateful attitude in your life, volunteering can have benefits beyond making you feel better emotionally. Many volunteers also report receiving physical health benefits after periods of helping others.
As the New Year appears on the calendar, people begin feeling the need to make resolutions. By setting goals for the upcoming year through these resolutions, you’ll have a better chance to make the changes to your life that you want.
For many people, the resolutions involve making a physical change. Some want to lose weight, while others want to get in good physical shape. Think about moving out of the gym to start your exercise program and working out outdoors. The infographic shows the improvements that exercising in nature can bring to your life, including a decrease in tension and anger.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
A final, important step toward personal improvement that you can make is to simply be happier. When the holiday season brings stress and worry, finding ways to make yourself feel grateful and happy about other things can go a long way toward giving you the lifestyle improvements you’re seeking.
Finding people who share a similar positive attitude can help you reach this goal. A study of more than 4,000 people showed that those who have happy people around them on a daily basis will be much happier too. The infographic shows that your level of happiness is an average of the level of happiness of the five people with whom you spend the majority of your time.
Finally, carrying a happy and grateful attitude can benefit you year-round. While making the changes to your lifestyle discussed above are important around the holidays, they’re more likely to stick throughout the year and become the kinds of habits you want to keep if you have a positive attitude.
Mark Kirkpatrick is a blogger and tech enthusiast in Los Angeles, California. He has found that productivity starts with healthy habits, and hopes to help others achieve their goals through positive reinforcement. Follow him on Twitter at @KirkpatricM.
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A Guide to Productive, Healthy Habits