2017 is a year to think differently. Instead of focusing on what you’d like to do, how about approaching your goals from the perspective of how you want to be? Do you want to be more personally fulfilled or happier? Do you want to grow more as a person? If greater life satisfaction is important to you, here are seven ways to bring more of it into 2017.

1)  Rethink resolutionsresearch shows only 8% of those who make resolutions actually achieve them. That’s because most resolutions are unrealistic, or don’t come with a change in mindset. Set monthly or weekly goals instead, and break big goals into smaller steps. For example, if you want to lose weight (ranked as the #1 New Year’s resolution), try making small changes each week. Week 1, replace dessert or sweets with fruit. Week 2, take the stairs instead of the elevator. And so on.

2)  Do something exciting: remember the adrenaline rush you feel when you try something new, and actually live through it? Think riding a roller coaster, or riding a bike through the streets of New York City. Well, those feelings add to excitement about life. What have you wanted to try but haven’t yet? Make this the year to do it. Safely.

3)  Change the scenery: nothing broadens our horizons like going somewhere we haven’t been, yet wanted to visit. If it’s exotic, great, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be hiking or walking through a nearby state park, visiting a part of town you’ve never seen, or taking in a new museum or show. The idea here is to have a new experience that feeds your spirit. Regularly.

4)  Silence is golden: plan a day to unplug. No checking your phone or emails, social media, or surfing the web. Studies show being in silence releases stress, and promotes brain growth. Think you can’t unplug at home? Try a silent retreat where you go to a retreat house and silence is observed during your stay. Meals included.

5)  Express yourself: suppressing how we feel can be detrimental to our health and longevity, leading to increased risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer, according to a Harvard School of Public Health and University of Rochester study. Don’t wait until you’re at boiling point. Share your feelings and thoughts calmly, and neutrally.

Conversely, expressing positive emotions like optimism and appreciation, can make us healthier, another Harvard study found.  

6)  Self appreciate: are you as kind to yourself as you are to family and friends? Or do you engage in negative self-talk? Research finds accepting ourselves (by being kind to ourselves), is the key to being satisfied with our lives. End the day by acknowledging three specific things you appreciate about yourself. For example, you smiled at a stranger, exhibited patience during a trying moment, or laughed at yourself.

7)  Serve others: lastly, a great way to get out of our heads is to help others. Is there a cause that’s close to your heart? Want to walk a dog, visit with seniors or volunteer to teach kids English, math or reading? You’ll be giving back and getting a lot in return. The London School of Economics found the more people volunteered, the happier, and healthier they were.

2017 can be your most personally fulfilling year yet. Focus on what you want to change or increase in your life, while being compassionate towards yourself and others.

Want to put a 2017 plan into action? Let’s talk. Contact me here.