Happiness and purpose in the new year

January seems to be the preferred month for resolutions and new beginnings. I couldn’t have come across a better article for starting the new year than this one, entitled How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen. It gives you pointers around how to be happy in your career, how to ensure that you maintain a happy family-life, and how to live with integrity. It’s an interesting twist because it applies management principles to strategies for enhancing our personal lives. I pulled out 17 ways to approach the new year. Reminding yourself of these things – and doing them – will make you and me into better people, and that I think is what making resolutions is all about.

  1. Don’t tell other people what you think they should think. Teach people how to think something through so they can derive their own answers.
  2. Learn how to think for yourself.
  3. Know that money isn’t the driver for happiness.
  4. Having intimate, loving relationships is the most powerful and enduring source of happiness. Invest in relationships that matter most to you.
  5. We can have a profound impact on everyone. Act accordingly. Touch people’s lives in positive ways
  6. Finding ways to learn, grow and contribute to others in ways that are meaningful to you is a powerful motivator for personal satisfaction and growth. Do what you love in life.
  7. Get clear about what the purpose of your life is and keep that front and centre in everything you do.
  8. Recognize that your decisions about how you allocate your time, energy and talent shape your life path. Approach the journey mindfully.
  9. Make explicit decisions about how invest your time, talents and energy and where you deploy it so your life turns out the way you intended.
  10. Make your meaning. Build and create consciously and with intention as opposed to evolving inadvertently.
  11. Do things that are hard. Create capacity and capability for the future.
  12. Define what you stand for. Draw a line. Hold to your principles. Resist temptation. Know that ‘just this once’ is never just once.
  13. Hold others in high esteem.
  14. Be humble and eager to learn something from everyone not just the smart, learned, famous, and extroverted. Everyone.
  15. Worry about whether you’ve helped others become better people, not about your prominence.
  16. Nurture your own self-esteem. Be with people who feel good about themselves and who make you feel good about you.
  17. Resolve to live everyday so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.