We are approaching 2015, meaning it’s time for our annual New Year resolutions. I’m not a big fan of the typically masochistic ones, like hitting the gym 4 times a week (however good your intentions are, how long will you last!?), but I think setting positive aspirations, like finding love or travelling with friends more, are a good way to start a year.
With this in mind, I have created a short and rather uncomplicated list of easy and pleasant things.
In a recent book that I’ve read titled “Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending”, the authors argue that gifting and other similar occasions, when we spend money on others and share experiences, have a much more positive effect on our happiness and well-being than, say, buying a new handbag for ourselves.
So, here is my take on 2015 resolutions:
- Listen to my loved ones
Gifting inspiration often comes from conversations – you have to be curious about the people around you to come up with great surprises. Your partner loves cooking, but is afraid to use creativity and relies on recipes too much? Send him or her to a fusion cooking class, when they will be given tools to become true food artists! It could as simple as a small comment about a favourite actor (cinema tickets?), a jacket they saw online that caught their eye, or a song they shared on Spotify.
- Be generous
No, it does not mean just money. Of course, I recommend spending at least some of your monthly income on gifts and surprises, but it’s also about how much time you devote to shared activities. The choice is simple: you can either spend your evening watching something on Netflix, or go out and explore your city with a friend. A coffee at Starbucks worth $3 ($5 if you go for all possible toppings!) will “buy” you 2 hours of conversation that could lead to new friendships, opportunities and hobbies.
- Give spontaneous gifts
We all know that we are supposed to give gifts on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Mother’s Day. But how about a gift along the lines of “I saw this <insert something here> and thought you would like it”? Something small, inexpensive or even useless (in the usual meaning of this word) will instantly brighten their day and yours, too. I was once given a flower by a total stranger on my way to work (“Just because the sun is shining” was his answer) – I could not stop smiling that day until I fell asleep, blissfully happy and in love with the whole Universe. The power of surprise and good will is unbeatable.
- Share passions of my friends and family
Start enjoying activities your friends and family love – listening to jazz, cooking, snowboarding… They will greatly appreciate you sharing those activities with them. Your presence will make those moments fuller, enhancing your relationships and providing lasting connections. So, next time your friends on Facebook post a picture of them rock climbing – don’t just click ‘Like’, ask to join them next time instead!
Have a wonderful New Year!