A Roadmap to Happiness & Well-being in 2024

Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

I wish I could take credit for that line as it is a thought-provoking piece of advice. It was actually part of a commencement address delivered by Apple’s Steve Jobs in a Stanford Commencement speech.

I especially like it because of its simplicity. In today’s world of often overwhelming change, information, and events, making the complex simple is something we all could use more of.

So, in the spirit of simplicity, here’s the best advice I’ve got for what you can do to be happy and well in 2024 They’re also the five priorities I’m going to try to embed within my own life.

Find community among your family members, friends, colleagues, and neighbours. These connections enhance and enrich our lives and are foundational to happiness. They don’t always just happen on their own, so you may need to work at it. However, investing time in developing relationships at home, work, school or in your local community will pay excellent dividends as research shows that happy people have strong social relationships.

Live in the moment. Remind yourself to pay attention to what is happening around you. Be mindful, be curious. Pay attention to sunsets, changing seasons, the wisdom and joy of young children, the sound of music, the tranquility of a bubble bath. Savour the moments with family and friends. Listen and look carefully. Studies show that being aware of what is taking place enhances well-being, and savouring an experience can help you understand and reinstate your priorities.

Keep learning. One of the most meaningful birthday cards I ever received, included a sentence which read, “I love the spirit of you…the childlike wonder and curiosity that still colours your days”. Evidence shows that continuing to learn throughout your life will colour your days by enhancing confidence and self-esteem, encouraging social interaction, and increasing your life satisfaction and optimism. Sign up for a course (I’m seriously considering taking a stand-up comic course), ask for new responsibilities at work, learn to play a musical instrument, try out some new recipes, read some challenging books, research a topic you want to know more about, join a community group, dust off your workbench or sewing machine and make something. Set yourself some new goals and go for it.

Give. Do something nice for a family member, friend, or even a stranger. Volunteer for a social-purpose organization you value, write a thank-you note to someone who made a difference in your life, smile, pay more compliments. This week I complimented a young staff person cleaning a public washroom on the excellent, thorough job she was doing at the time. It was lovely to see a smile light up her face. Not only that, research says that those who help others are more likely to rate themselves as being happy and that well-being is enhanced when an individual is able to achieve a sense of purpose and contribute to the well-being of individuals and/or the broader community.

Be active. Exercising makes you feel good but sometimes it’s easier if you view it as a series of snacks rather than a full course meal. Read more about this new trend and how exercise snacks can be incorporated throughout the day. It’s also important to make sure you find a physical activity that you like and ideally, someone to do it with. It will also need to be one that suits your level of fitness. Walk, run, dance, move. It will be worth it. All that research showing regular physical activity is associated with better physical health as well as a greater sense of well-being and lower rates of depression and anxiety, can’t be wrong.

While it may not always be easy to make the changes that will ensure happiness and well-being, the most important thing is to have the courage to try. Why?...because happiness is much more about the journey that it is about the destination. 


Posted on 01-02-24

Add your Comment here:






Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Submit the word you see below:

Next entry: Seriously, Loud in the Library?

Previous entry: Finding Holiday Joy