2013 is here and it's time to make New Year's resolutions. The Journal of Clinical Psychology recently did a study on New Year's resolutions, and their research shows the top ten resolutions as follows:
- Lose Weight
- Getting Organized
- Spend Less, Save More
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
- Staying Fit and Healthy
- Learn Something Exciting
- Quit Smoking
- Help Others in Their Dreams
- Fall in Love
- Spend More Time with Family
The journal's study, conducted by the University of Scranton, indicated that forty-five percent of Americans made resolutions in 2012. This suggested people who made resolutions were ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who didn't set any goals.
Among the top five, number four on the list: “Enjoy Life to the Fullest.” This seems like a fairly broad goal because it also implies that there are many ways to achieve that fulfillment. Essentially, living life to the fullest is defined as being happy. Therefore, there are many ways to achieve happiness. But what makes one happy? Is it the perfect living room set? A trip to an exotic location? A trip to see grandparents? Maybe a meal in a nice restaurant every weekend?
Regardless of what makes us happy, we know that we strive to get to fulfillment, to feel happiness. One avenue to true happiness is gratitude. The science of gratitude has been researched by Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis. Emmons has found that gratitude is a “chosen attitude” that improves our overall health. More than a mere positive emotion, gratitude can elevate and energize us.
If cultivated on a constant basis, gratitude can have dramatic effects on our perspective on fulfillment itself. With true gratitude and thankfulness, we seem to think less of material goods as being the source of our happiness; we also overcome our human sense of entitlement and deservedness. According to Emmons' study, he found those who are grateful placed less importance on materials, are less envious of the rich, and are more likely to share their possessions with others who are less grateful than themselves.
Since gratitude is an attitude of choice, it seems we all have a choice to be happy or not. So, what's your choice for 2013?