photo by Cassandra Eldridge
New Years Resolutions. We all make them…and then we break them two weeks into February. Maybe a good resolution this year- one you’ll actually keep- is to set more realistic goals for the coming year. I recently picked up The Happiness Project, a great book about the little things you can do to be a happier “you”. It got me thinking, maybe we shouldn’t be thinking about changing ourselves at all, but really, becoming better versions of ourselves. The following are 10 simple things you can do to become a better, happier version of yourself–based on both personal experience and things I’ve learned along the way!
1. Start wearing bold lipstick
According to a L’Oreal survey, 75% of women believe that lipstick makes them feel more confident. That rings true for me as well. You can bet that I’m wearing a shade of red lipstick when I walk into a big presentation or client meeting. When I’m in a bad mood or feeling under the weather, MAC lipstick in Lady Danger is the first thing out of my bag. A girl can’t conquer the world without her lipstick.
2. Start acting the way you want to feel.
Pay attention to this one. It will make a world of difference in your life. In her book The Happiness Project, writer Gretchen Rubin encourages her readers to act the way they want to feel. Kind of a different version of “fake it ‘til you make it,” but guess what? It works. When you walk into the office on Tuesday morning and have that “Oh my God, its only Tuesday” feeling, put a smile on your face. Maybe you start humming your favorite song. Act excited about that new project someone handed to you. Pretend like it’s Friday. Before you know it, you won’t be miserable anymore.
3. Call up a friend you’ve lost touch with
We all lose track of time in our lives. Old friendships fall by the wayside. That’s okay, it happens to all of us. Chances are, you’ve forgotten how much fun you used to have with your old college roommate, or neighbor from childhood. So stop making excuses, call them up and meet them for drinks, coffee, or skype!
4.Give at least 3 people a compliment this morning
Know what always makes me feel good? Making other people feel good. It’s part of being human. It’s why we spend so much time picking out the perfect Christmas present or birthday card. We want to make others feel good. Stop waiting for an occasion to do so. Make a point to over compliment people every day.
5. Make every hug last at least 20 seconds
Scientific evidence tells us that hugs lasting 20 seconds are more are proven to increase levels of oxytocin (a happy hormone.) Additionally, women in particular experience greater reductions in blood pressure than men after their hugs, says one article published on BBC.
6. Pick one argument per day to “let go”
Arguing sucks. Often times, both people are usually left feeling worse than they did before the confrontation if not handled correctly. I think we all argue a lot more than we need to. Be more mindful–let’s be better at picking our battles. Let your Mom’s nagging go. Forget that your roommate forgot to lock the door on her way out. Cut people some slack and address only the things that really matter.
7. Spend just 5 minutes per day tidying up your space
This is coming from someone who turns her room into a tornado every time she gets dressed to go out. Lack of organization causes stress. Think of how serene you feel walking in the door after you’ve done your spring cleaning, or after your cleaning lady comes? Commit to spending just 5 minutes per day tidying things up, and you’ll feel a lot better when you wake up to a clean house each morning.
8. Pick one new or different thing to try every month
This doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering. Pick up a book you would never normally read. Go to Chinatown. Sign up for Photoshop 101. Trying 12 “new” things per year is not a hard thing to do, but it will make you feel much more accomplished.
9. Have more conversations with strangers
This one might seem a little strange at first. After all, our mothers always told us to never talk to strangers. I don’t know about you, but I’m always the most touched when I get a compliment from someone I don’t know, or experience a random act of kindness from a complete stranger. I get a lot out of hearing someone else’s story for the first time, and chances are, you will too.
10. Stock up on cute greeting cards
Everyone wants to be more like that friend who always has a sweet card in her back pocket when you need encouragement. Who never forgets to send a note for a birthday. Maybe she’s the family member who always gets her Thank You notes out on time. I am so far from that right now it’s not even funny. This year, I’m going to stock up on greeting cards, so I never have an excuse.