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5 Achievable Resolutions for a Longer, Happier Life

Posted: December 31, 2012 |   Comments

Resolutions are notorious for falling by the wayside a few months or even days into the New Year. A 2012University of Scranton study revealed that only 8 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions are successful in achieving them. This low success rate may relate to the fact that many of us are more inclined to center our resolutions on self-criticism than on real aspirations or desires. Rarely do we set a goal to spend more time joking around with friends or listening to music we enjoy. Rather, our resolutions tend to focus on "fixing" our flaws or "correcting" our failures. This negative viewpoint comes from a "critical inner voice" we all possess that alerts us of what we need to fix, while reminding us that we won't succeed. Filtering our personal goals through this critical lens only sets us up for failure. With that in mind, this year, I want to propose a new list of deeply rewarding and reachable resolutions. These activities have been proven to benefit us on every level, increasing both the quality and length of our lives.

Be More Mindful: Mindfulness meditation is an amazing method for learning to live in the moment. We do not exist in the future or in the past, yet many of us spend most of our time worrying about one or the other. By paying attention to the present with purpose and without judgment, we make the most of every minute we have. A 2009 article in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences posed, "Meditation practices have various health benefits including the possibility of preserving cognition and preventing dementia." In addition to potentially sustaining brain functionality, new studies have suggested that mindfulness meditation may slow the rate of cellular aging. The evidence that meditation practices may actually increase our lifespan should give us that extra incentive to take this time for ourselves. The benefits may mean not only more years to enjoy, but more joy in our years. You can learn more about meditation practices and benefits from mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn here.

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