5 New Year’s Resolutions That Create a Happier You…

What’s a new year without a resolution? It’s exciting to set goals and plan for improvement in your home and work life with a fresh perspective. You commit to advancing your career, improving your health, (boy, are the gyms packed in January) and maybe stopping a bad habit or starting a new one. Some of the changes can make are small, enjoyable, impactful. Essentially, resolutions are about you. Here are 5 tips for 2015 to create a well-rounded and happier life with focus on taking time out for you instead of adding more duties to an already busy schedule:

  1. Wake up to less stress. We rarely look forward to the sound of the morning alarm. Change your alarm sound for something more soothing to reduce the release of stress-causing cortisol. Besides changing the alarm get out of bed earlier. Take your time getting started. If you cringe at the thought of the morning rush of traffic, getting the kids to school, preparing lunches or gathering our necessities for the work day, take those extra minutes to start the day with less stress. Shake off the grogginess, enjoy coffee or breakfast, and relax your body before work to alleviate the stress that may begin at the bell.
  1. Keep moving after work. If you don’t already hit the gym after work, change your clothes and keep active for a little bit longer. Physical exercise is paramount to our health and a top stress reliever. Take a walk in nature or a park with your significant other, those energy-filled dogs or kids. Dust off the bike, roller blades, or run. Enjoying daily time out of the house to focus on winding down, gathering thoughts or giving attention to each other allows for renewed when returning home for our nighttime rituals.
  1. Turn up the music. Cell phones, portable speakers and play lists incorporate music into our lives like never before. Music is healthy for the mind. You know you sing along! Listen in any room of the house. Incorporate music into your morning ritual, while you cook or clean, or at the end of the day. Research about the benefits of listening to music published in the journal Science reveals:Music triggers activity in the nucleus accumbens, a part of your brain that releases the feel-good chemical dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. At the same time, the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making, are also activated.” So, turn it up!
  1. Close the door. Make quiet time for yourself. Create a sanctuary for yourself in your bedroom or whatever room has a door! Read, write, study, or meditate. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress, improve our cognitive abilities and reduce aging. Even 20 minutes of time alone allows for a refreshing start and benefits everyone when we open that door and return to the laptop, family, or nightly rituals in getting ready for work the next day.
  1. Change your attitude. We spend 40, 50, or even 60 hours working 5 days a week! We are dedicated employees, leaders, entrepreneurs. Our attitudes at work, in traffic, and at home can dramatically change by simply changing our minds. Simply by changing our perspective to a positive one, changing our attitudes to the daily grind we do train our brains to think and react more positively in general.

Creating habits takes time. Discovering or reminding yourself to do things you enjoy requires self-awareness and dedication to happiness. As you head into the new year, consider what gives you happiness. Turn down the noise and turn up the joy. There is plenty of time for serious business. When we create relaxing and enjoyable rituals for ourselves we have a higher success rate in keeping other resolutions and promises to ourselves for a happier life.