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Got the blues? Set goals to switch on your happiness

2017 planner thumb
2017 planner

If you’re feeling less than joyful because you didn’t have the festive season you’d hoped for, we’re here to help you shift your focus and look ahead to better things.

There is a range of different activities you can do to help get your life and expectations back on track. Here are a few ideas you can use to set goals that will help you shift the next 12 months into a whole new gear:

1. Appreciate your blessings

A lot of teenagers focus on the gifts they received and didn’t receive at this time of year. That tends to have an impact on the emotions they feel.

But irrespective how much money was spent on you there are things you can do to take control of your own emotions and feel good. It starts with shifting your focus away from the things you can’t control – including the size of your presents!

As Kevin said in his latest podcast, having an attitude of gratitude is proven to have a positive effect on your level of happiness. Think about what you did get, rather than what you didn’t get. Then give thanks and go out of your way express your appreciation those who thought about you during this holiday season.

Don’t forget that it’s not so long ago that previous generations only received a fistful of nuts, a tangerine, maybe some chocolate and a simple wooden toy in their stockings at Christmastime. Oh how times have changed!

2. Be generous to others in need

In the past, Boxing Day used to be the traditional time when people gave generously to the poorest people in their community through gifts of money and food. After Christmas Day it was a way to give something back and help those less fortunate.

Nowadays people don’t tend to give Boxing Day gifts to strangers, but it’s still the right time to focus on to those less able to care for themselves. What could you do to help people in your community and give to the causes you believe in?

If you want to put something back, your local community will be full of organisations that would love to hear from you. You might want to get in touch with Vinspired, the UK’s leading volunteering charity for 14-25 year olds.

3. Explore the great outdoors

There are few things more inspiring than taking a walk or a bike ride in an area of natural beauty. This is a simple (and free!) way to detach from all the materialism and reconnect with the incredible world we live in.

Pick a beauty spot near where you live – a lake, a river, a valley, some woodland or the seaside – and simply enjoy being in that place. Take a deep breath, soak up the view and enjoy!

4. Get your blood pumping

Are you firing on all cylinders or has the winter got the best of your exercise routine? If you’re feeling a bit lethargic, get yourself moving again by fitting in some cardio exercise.

It could be something as simple as running up the biggest hill in your neighbourhood or completing some floor exercises at home (such as press-ups and sit-ups). Just pick something that will get your endorphins flowing (those are the chemicals in your body that make you feel good)!

This is also an ideal time to sign up to a whole new activity or exercise class. As well as exploring your sport options, check out the Be Real campaign that wants everyone to be body confident. It recognizes how important physical and mental health is. Wherever you live it has plenty of great information.

5. Set goals that make you smile

You can’t have happiness in the present by looking in your rear-view mirror and thinking about negative things from your past. You can achieve happiness by setting goals for next year that will put a smile on your face as you pursue them.

Writing down your goals can be hugely beneficial. So start thinking about the things you’d really like to have, do and experience in the months ahead. Stay tuned for more tips on this over the coming weeks.

6. Finally…Never forget the Law of Contrast

The Law of Contrast is an old trick you can use to reset and rebalance yourself when we’re feeling less than satisfied with your life.

In this case, if you’re sad that you haven’t received enough gifts or had enough fun this Christmastime, remembering that there are lots of people who are less well off than you really does help you gain a sense of perspective.

As such, take some time to reflect on how lucky you are compared to millions of people around the world who live in war zones, and don’t have access to good food or water. Teenagers in those places would love to have your problems right now instead of the life and death issues they face every day. It’s tough to hear but that doesn’t make it less true.

2017 is the year to take control of your life. Build the ideas we share into your plans and together we can make it your best year yet!

What tips and advice do you have for goal setting? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.