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Ditch the New Year’s resolutions habit for a happier 2020.

It’s hard to believe, but 2020’s here, and if you’re like most of the population in the US, you’re probably already thinking of your New Year’s resolutions. But before you follow this less-than-successful New Year’s tradition, you might want to instead approach 2020 in a different manner.

Every year 50% of adults make at least one New Year’s resolution, yet 80% of New Year’s resolutions will fail by the time February rolls around. Chances are high you’ve probably given up on a New Year’s resolution within the first couple of months of a new year too. So why exactly does this happen? Well, it comes down to two issues—not having a plan of attack and focusing on the wrong things.

The main reason New Year’s resolutions fail is that it’s all too easy to focus on achieving your end result rather than figuring out what steps you need to take to reach your goal. The secondary reason is a mix between selecting goals that you aren’t truly passionate about and focusing so much on what you want to change that you forget to feel gratitude while living in the moment.

To help you get the best out of 2020, we’re going to give you some tips on setting goals the right way while also making this year a positive one by shifting focus towards your happiness and health.

Brainstorm ideas for goals and create a plan of attack for success.

The problem with New Year’s resolutions isn’t having a goal to strive for, but rather the lack of planning and not creating clearly outlined steps to reach your goal. To really achieve your goals in 2020, you need to grab a piece of paper, sit down, and make a plan of attack.

Firstly, think about what goals seem appealing to you in 2020. What areas of your life would you like to improve? Do you have different things you’d like to achieve for work, personal life, school, or a special relationship? Write it all down and come up with one to three ideas. Now you’re going to set up your idea using S.M.A.R.T criteria.

S.M.A.R.T is a goal management technique that helps you create milestones by designing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Setting S.M.A.R.T goals is easy once you know what to do and the internet is loaded with resources on how to do so.

We recommend you check out the MindTools website that has an article on the S.M.A.R.T goal-setting process completely laid out.

Practice daily happiness by giving yourself a reason to smile every day.

Studies on human behavior and health consistently prove the power of happiness. In fact, making 2020 a year where you focus on feeling happier could very well be one thing you could do for yourself.

The interesting thing about happiness is that it’s not just something you feel, but something that you can actually practice like any other habit or activity. Research done by psychologists shows that roughly 40% of the happiness we feel is completely within our control, and the more you promote happiness in your life, the happier you’ll feel every day.

To make 2020 your most positive year yet, with or without New Year’s resolutions, is to make it a habit to practice happiness daily by finding different ways to make yourself smile. You might meet up with friends for lunch, set aside an evening to dive into your favorite hobby, plan a weekly movie night with your loved ones, or listen to a podcast during your commute to and from work. You could even jam out to your favorite music and dance while you tidy up around your home.

Practicing daily happiness is all about finding little ways to make yourself smile every day. Think about what makes you happy and schedule it into your day just as you would an appointment.

Prioritize self-care on a regular basis to keep stress at bay.

Another thing you should be planning for, just as you would an appointment, are self-care sessions. Too many people view self-care as a luxury or even selfish without realizing how important it really is for our health, overall happiness, and even our close relationships.

The average adult has a busy, stressful life. Juggling personal responsibilities with work, family, hobbies, and trying to also find time to relax can seem impossible some days. This is exactly why self-care is so important. It offers you a chance to shrug off some of the stress while also helping you to tackle future stress in a better way.

Self-care can mean different things for different people so you’ll need to think about what activities are most beneficial for you. Maybe setting aside an hour of quiet alone time to read a book is your idea of peace. For someone else a Sunday night Netflix binge might be the key to relaxing after a tough week. Others prefer a massage or a cozy at-home spa night.

Make a list of daily, weekly, and monthly activities that mean the most to you when it comes to self-care. Look at your calendar and add them to your schedule so you have no excuses to skip time for yourself.

Make sure your smile is one you’ll love to share with others.

The health and appearance of a person’s smile have a huge impact on their life, especially when it comes to their overall happiness. Over a third of adults are unhappy with the way their teeth look and more than a quarter find they don’t enjoy smiling or speaking around others for the same reason.

If you feel self-conscious about your smile, 2020 is the year to get the dental help you need to make you feel more confident than ever. Smiling has a huge impact on happiness as well as the way others perceive you. When you change the way you smile or speak to hide your teeth, you’re only limiting the enjoyment you feel when you’re happy or socializing with others.

Maybe you’re concerned about bad breath due to untreated tooth decay or you have missing teeth that you want a solution for.  Either way, Millennium Dental is ready to help. We offer complete general/preventative and restorative dental care as well as cosmetic dentistry services. From a complete smile makeover with porcelain veneers and implants to a simple professional tooth whitening treatment to brighten your smile—we’re eager to help you achieve your smile goals in 2020.

Take care of your health by taking care of yourself in 2020.

One of the best things you can do to make 2020 a great year, is to focus on taking care of your health—physically and mentally. This might involve setting S.M.A.R.T goals for weight loss, creating a new habit to hit the gym three times a week, or pledging with a group of friends to run a marathon together. But remember—staying healthy isn’t all about physical health.

Practicing positivity and cultivating happiness not only makes us feel great, but it’s also linked to improved physical health, a greater sense of well-being, and it even helps increase longevity. You might think you simply don’t have the time in your schedule for self-care, meeting up with friends, or participating in a hobby, but remember that these “happiness boosters” are a true necessity to health, just like exercise, nutrition, and seeing your doctor and dentist on a regular basis.