Here we are on the cusp of 2009. Many people make plans on this celebratory evening, hoping to change the course of the coming year for the better. This is nothing new. As far back as 153 B.C.E. humans have been making new year's resolutions.
Some people vow to change their lifestyle by cutting out those extra calories or exercising more. Others hope to change their spending habits, perhaps to tame their credit card debt or save more. Britney Spears, on the other hand, has declared that her new year's resolution is to stop biting her nails.
But the question is, can Britney and other determined resolution-makers achieve their goals in 2009 or will they give up by mid-January? According to Wikipedia, recent research shows that while 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are used (lose a pound a week, instead of saying "lose weight"), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.
As a person whose life has been transformed by the power of laughter, I urge you to consider making a laughter resolution. Do you want 2009 to be a more joyful year? Do you hope to have less stress and more enjoyment? Do you want to be able to boast of greater health and happiness? Do you want to become engaged in more meaningful work? Then declare 2009 to be a "laughing year!"
How can you make it a laughing year and really stick to it? Use the research wisdom to your advantage by setting measurable goals, make them public and get support. Let's look at each one of these.
Don't stop with simply saying it is going to be a laughing year—specify how much you intend to laugh each week. Here are some examples:
• I am going to laugh every day for at least 15 minutes.
• I am going to laugh for at least a portion of my commute time.
• I am going to laugh every week while I am dusting the house.
• I am going to attend laughter club regularly.
• I am going to read Laughing Laura's blog and heed her suggestions, no matter how ridiculous they may seem!
Write your goals down. This totally helps. After each week, assess how you are doing. Perhaps you can even keep a laughter log and give yourself stickers when you get your laughing accomplished. Cheer yourself on. Shout: "Very Good! Very Good! Yay!" Smile. Give yourself a laughing pat on the back.
I have always found that making my intentions known helps me stick to it. I guess it is the natural desire to save face that keeps you working toward your goal. So share your laughing resolutions with your friends. If you have a blog or other Web site, post your plans there. You wouldn't want to let down your fans, now would you?
As with any goal, you will do better with your friends gathered around you, cheering you on. And I am willing to bet your friends could use more laughter in the coming year as well. How about making a mutual resolution to laugh more—a positive laughter pact?
Decide together how you can accomplish your plans to be more joyful. Maybe you could attend a laughter retreat together like, for example, the one I'm leading January 9-11 in Wisconsin (click here for details). Perhaps you should make a common committment to attend your local laughter club together or start your own club if there isn't one yet. Whatever you decide, having a friend or friends to share the laughter plan with will help it get accomplished.
Laughter networks are popping up all over now that Laughter Yoga is flagrantly flinging joy throughout the earth. Find extra laughter friends at www.laughteryoga.org. You can also locate people who love to laugh through networking sites like Facebook and Myspace. Even if your laughter friends live far away, you can always pick up the phone and laugh together. More friends means more laughs. So gather them up and get to giggling.
Whatever your resolutions are for this brand new year, you can add laughter to them! Laughter makes the sun shine no matter what's going on in your world. It can radically redefine your life in a most delightfully astonishing way. And because it is FUN, it is an easy resolution to keep. When the dieters have returned to their Twinkies and Britney is back to biting her nails, you'll still be laughing.
I wish you the very best. May all your dreams come true in 2009, the year of the laugh! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!