3 Simple Steps to a Meaningful Life

It seems that with the welcoming of each new year milestone comes the inspiration to start new. Yet many new year resolution trends don’t always stick. That’s why we believe in a more simple approach to lifelong lifestyle changes.  Below is a simple 3 step activity to help you have more fulfilling days in 2019.

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Lifestyle is the Goal

Each moment, the lifestyle choices we make change the way our brains and bodies function. This route toward happiness and well-being is grounded in the recognition of our daily habits and daily lifestyle behaviors. Research has shown that lifestyle choices in large part can impact our outcomes in happiness, well-being and ability to flourish, regardless of our genetics and our circumstances.  

This simple exercise will provide you insight into what is really important to you and the “why” behind your desire to make a lifestyle change; the thing(s) that give you meaning and purpose. 

STEP 1: Reflect on your ideal day

If you are determined to make some sort of change in 2019, take time to do a little reflection before choosing what the focus of that change should really be.  Reflecting on what your ideal day would look like can often highlight what is most important to you.  

·  What activities clearly contribute to a good day for you?  

·  Do you find that it helps to be well-rested, to eat healthfully, engage in physical activity, make time with friends or family, do something creative, to engage in play, volunteer?  

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STEP 2: Create a plan of your ideal day

Your next step is to plan an ideal 24-hour day that you will implement in the coming month.  Choose a normal day, which is not a holiday. Plan the day in detail imagining what you would do from getting up in the morning to going to sleep at night. Describe each activity in as much depth as possible. Write down your plan in the present tense and in detail.  Describe what you are doing, where you are and who you are spending time with, and how you feel emotionally and physically.  Be mindful that an ideal day doesn’t have to include jumping out of a plane or traveling to some far off exotic country. So, as you are planning your perfect day, consider the little things that make you happy and try to find ways to build those into your day.  

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STEP 3: Live your ideal day

It’s time to execute your plan—live that ideal day! Schedule your planned activities and commit to doing what makes you happy. It’s okay if unexpected things happen. Learn from what works and what doesn’t. Overtime you will create lifestyle habits that will have you living more of your ideal days.

Ultimately, we can’t always live each day as an “ideal day”, but we can choose to integrate brain healthy lifestyle behaviors into our daily routines to provide more good days than bad ones. 

Whether you only take the time to reflect on an ideal day, or move onto planning and actually executing it, likely you will find some patterns emerge. Are you most happy when you are with family and friends, being in nature, helping other people? What’s your why? How can you adopt a few meaningful lifestyle changes to make your 2019 a truly Happy New Year?! 

Leslie Williamson