Surely you are thinking about what your New Year’s resolutions will be. But although some entrepreneurs think that success will bring them happiness, happiness expert Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, says it is actually the other way around.
Having a positive perception can help you make better purposes and make compliance more likely. “When the brain is positive, it releases neurochemicals called successful accelerators such as dopamine and turns on a part of the brain that allows you to perceive more possibilities and process more information,” says Achor. In contrast, a negative mentality causes the brain to feel threatened, closing itself to new opportunities.
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“Your brain is three times more creative when it is in a positive state,” says Achor. And although it is crucial to have a positive mindset throughout the year, it is especially critical at the end, when we begin to reflect on the past and set our goals.
Positive mindset in 2020
So before setting your goals, follow these four tips to have a positive state of mind:
1. Don’t start from scratch
When you do your purposes, start by listing the achievements of the previous year. “The brain is accelerating towards the goals it perceives is closer to completing,” says Achor. For the same reason that marathoners increase the speed at kilometer 40, our brains release chemicals that give us more energy as we perceive approaching the final line. Starting your list of purposes with a blank sheet means that you will lose the advantage of those accelerators.
This strategy can be used daily throughout the year. Instead of making a list of all the things you have to accomplish in one day, start with the things you already got and put a popcorn aside. When your brain sees these marks, release the accelerators of success, putting you in a positive mindset and allowing you to increase speed for the rest of the goals.
2. Start your day with a positive email
Do you start your day by scanning your inbox to find the most urgent emails? How often are these messages positive? To start your day with a positive mindset, Achor suggests writing a positive email to a friend, colleague, client or even a stranger. Once, Achor wrote an email to a high school teacher telling him how his class changed his life. By sending these positive messages, your brain starts the day not with a threat, but with a social connection that, according to Achor, is the greatest predictor of happiness.
3. Use positive language when setting goals
While most people make resolutions to stop negative habits such as smoking or eating junk food, Achor says we should focus on the positive habits that will replace the negative ones we want to eliminate. Instead of making a resolution to avoid the vending machine of the office, propose to bring healthy snacks to work. By changing the language of the purpose from negative to positive, your brain does not spend resources dealing with the negative habit but uses its energy to achieve the positive.
4. Focus on positive habits
Incorporate positive habits into your daily routine and experience the benefits of having an optimistic mindset. Some positive habits that Achor says have proven effective include: writing three things to thank for each day, meditating and paying attention to the movement of your breathing and writing a positive experience on your agenda. Achor says that when he applied this exercise to a group of KPMG employees, at 21 days they had a higher level of job satisfaction, effectiveness, and reduced stress.