Monday, December 13, 2010

Resolving to Find Wellbeing

As the New Year’s approaches it is natural to start thinking about resolutions.  I tend to do this a little earlier in November when I continue to turn 21 every year finding that birthdays tend to make me reflect more than a ball dropping in New York.

As a part of thinking about what I would like to change in my life I read the book Well Being by Tom Rath and Jim Harter.  They define wellbeing as not “just about being happy”, but rather five interconnected elements: Career Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, and Community Wellbeing.  Supported by Gallup research in more than 150 countries they found these five different aspects to be universal.  They also emphasize that they are holistic.  It is not good to just do well in one such as dedicating an excessive time and energy to your job (Career Wellbeing) at the expense of your personal relationships (Social Wellbeing), but rather to find a balance in all five.  As you continue to follow my writing you will find that I like to look at all things systematically so the fact that this book’s approach to finding happiness looks at life as a whole system appeals to me will come later as no surprise.

While it is very common that resolutions about losing weight (Physical Wellbeing) or saving money (Financial Wellbeing) often are the top 2 made each year, 88 percent of people fail to keep their resolutions according to a 2007 study conducted by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist and author of The Luck Factor.  It is my theory based on the research in Well Being that this is because these resolutions often emphasize just one or two areas of the five Wellbeing elements over the whole set.

So to test that theory I am going to try and make five resolutions that I will discuss in this blog going forward.  The first is “Write” which starts with this blog and one I see as Social Wellbeing using this to extend conversation virtually.  The second is “Get in the Best Shape of My Life” in an attempt to improve my Physical Wellbeing.  The third is “To Give Back” by finding a way to be more involved with community through a fundraising program I have joined.  The fourth is “Live Aloha.”  I actually see that as Financial since the book Well Being gave financial advice of buying experiences rather than things.  Soon everyone will be treated to the adventure of my family’s upcoming Hawaii vacation as a very strong example of this resolution.  Finally the last one is “Chase Dreams” which is what I get to do at work every day.  More will come on that this week as we are at a big moment for the space program I currently manage.  Finally another key lesson I learned from Well Being is to try to interconnect these different aspects so you will learn how I have founds threads to tie these five resolutions together.

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