Tips for Increasing Your Well-being
In their book, Wellbeing, Gallup researchers Tom Rath and Jim Harter explain why we often make decisions that work against our own best interest when it comes to our well-being. The problem is that we tend to make choices that satisfy our short-term desires, rather than doing what is good for us in the long run. You know, like eating that red velvet cupcake, skipping the gym because you are too tired or buying that adorable coat with the fake fur collar. While these choices may be extremely satisfying in the moment, they aren’t good for your health or your finances in the long run.
The best way to increase your overall well-being is to make smarter choices in the moment. Small changes in your daily routine can have a huge impact in your quality of life. But doing so is easier said than done!
Setting positive defaults can help you resist the temptation to make short-term decisions that hurt your long-term well-being. This means setting things up in advance that will kind of force you to do the right thing in the moment. For example, to increase your financial well-being you can have a portion of your paycheck automatically deposited in a savings account each month. To increase your physical well-being buy healthy food at the grocery store so the only options you have when that craving hits are foods that are good for you. This is why my poor children never find any cookies in our pantry. I know if I buy them I will end up eating them!
It also helps to find an immediate payoff for good behaviors. My motivation for going to the gym isn’t how I will look in my skinny jeans a few months later (just kidding, I hate skinny jeans, but you know what I mean). I go because of how it makes me feel the rest of the day. I have more energy and am in a better mood on the days that I exercise. It’s also easier for me to say no to the burger and fries at Five Guys when I think of how gross I usually feel right after I eat them.
Increasing your well-being takes a lot of will power to make smart choices in the moment. But there are ways to make these choices easier. Think of positive defaults you can set to make good behaviors automatic and try to find more immediate incentives for doing the right thing.