As we start to wind down 2018, it is natural to look past these last frenzied weeks and start making resolutions and promises for an even better 2019. With only around 8% of people actually keeping their New Year’s resolutions each year, we went on a search for a more productive way to affect positive change in our lives and wanted to share an idea with you[i]!
We have written about the Blue Zones Project before (you can click here to access their website) which is a progressive group working with local communities to stimulate healthy change for longer and happier lives. They have found that things like providing opportunity for civic engagement, built environment (human-made surroundings that support a vibrant lifestyle), walkability, and healthful food options all play a role in raising the happiness factor of an entire community.
As a way to predict our happiness, the folks at Blue Zones ask two simple questions. Answer them yourself before you read on!
- Do you think life is long or short?
- Do you think life is easy or hard?
Dan Buettner, the founder of Blue Zones concludes that “if you answered long and easy, you are at the top of the happiness scale. Research shows that people who think life is long and easy are happier than those that think life is short and hard, those that think life is long and hard, and those that think life is short and easy.”
People who continually ask themselves introspective questions, including “What gets me up in the mornings?” “Am I living my passion?” “What matters most in my life and what am I doing to prioritize them?” are on the road to creating a happier life of purpose and meaning.
Dan and researchers from Google, Gallup and the University of Pennsylvania found that people who own dogs and Google about dogs are happier than cat owners. Those who search for action and comedy films are happier than those searching for romance.
Using another huge pool of data, they took the World Values Study database that polled people from 155 countries and asked these questions.
- When you think of your life on a scale from 1-10, how satisfied are you?
- How much did you smile in the last 24 hours? How much joy did you experience? How much stress?
- How often do you get to use your talents?
While happiness itself is difficult if not impossible to measure, we can measure life satisfaction.[ii]
Our New Year’s challenge to you? Instead of making hard and fast resolutions, try to commit to asking yourself these questions regularly, and make choices each day that support your answers. We are willing to bet that just by paying attention to what matters most and increasing our self-awareness, a greater degree of life satisfaction will naturally result!
We would love to hear your thoughts on these ideas and always welcome your comments, phone calls and emails!