“Blog of the Week: Goals, Resolutions and Bucket Lists: How they make us Happier!”

January offers us the perfect time to re-assess, re-boot and perhaps kick it up a notch in terms of our health and happiness.  Lisa got us thinking about the difference between resolutions and goals in her first Blog of 2017,  reminding us that we have more chance of success with our resolutions if we take more of a goal-oriented approach.  Now it sounds very boring to go through this process but this concept has been around for decades and it has stood the test of time.  So if goals are SMART ( specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time sensitive) you have a fighting chance with them.  January – March Break ( about 10 weeks) is a great time frame to set some goals and you have the opportunity to reward yourself at March Break ( time away, a 90 minute Thai Massage, new clothes…you get the picture).  This rewarding system ( deciding on it from the get go) has been proven to be very effective in terms of motivation.  Imagining yourself enjoying this reward ( keeping a photo on your phone, tablet and/or computer) keeps your goals at the forefront and sprinkles some excitement and anticipation throughout your day!

To me, how Bucket Lists differ from Goal Lists is that Bucket Lists, for the most part,  are lists of Experiences that we would like to experience. Goals can include experiences but they are very often related to changing something about ourselves or our daily habits.   Bucket Lists are not time-sensitive ( except before death hense its name) but as we write down our Experience “to dos”  they are not necessarily SMART…in fact, they may be quite the opposite depending on your appetite for adventure.  I make a March Break and Summer Bucket List each year and keep my ongoing (before death) Bucket List.  Now for an Experience on my bucket list to become a reality, it has to go through the goal process at some point.  So, if I have on my Summer Bucket List Niagara Falls, running a 10 K, a 4-day canoe trip, those Experiences won’t happen until they go through the goal setting/planning process and take in to consideration finances, other peoples schedules etc. etc.  If the planning does not happen ( right now for some things) it may not happen and it has to move to next summer.  The reality is that planning becomes a huge part of our Experiences and thus our Happiness! As Lisa mentioned, when we write our resolutions, goals and bucket lists down, they become solid. 

In terms of the recent Happiness research, having bucket lists and goals have a huge impact on our daily levels of happiness.  They give us something to look forward to ( as some research has suggested,  the anticipation of the event sometimes brings as much, if not more happiness ) and it keep us moving forward.  We always want to feel like we are progressing and moving forward and life experiences move us forward!

If you haven’t already, grab a bright coloured notebook/journal and have a go at your resolution and/or goals and bucket lists and keep us posted on how you are doing!

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Lorrie Mickelson, M.A., BPHE/B.A., Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Mat and Reformer Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, activeoptionsbylorrie@gmail.com, 705 647 2848