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Tips to be happier in 2020
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Tips to be happier in 2020

A fresh page, a fresh start.
We have officially entered a new decade.
To help us all get out of the funk of 2019 and make a good start to the new year, here are some tips from a psychologist to help you have a happier year in 2020, one full of positivity, fun and motivation.
According to Turkish clinical psychologist Damla Ekmekçibaşı, we have to start this journey by asking ourselves the following questions: How was 2019 for us? Which dreams did we manage to realize and which ones did we postpone to the next year?

Give yourself enough credit
First, we must review the experiences we had in 2019 – those we enjoyed, those we hated and those we did purely as an investment in ourselves. "Starting the year by giving ourselves a pat on the back for these can motivate us to do more. Then we can look at what dreams we realized or failed to achieve, and think about the underlying reasons. Looking at them objectively from the outside can help us come to the conclusion that these goals were perhaps not very realistic or that they came at a time when we did not feel ready. Whereas sometimes we notice that we weren't determined enough or gave up too quickly."
Ekmekçibaşı said that whatever the reasons were, discovering them is the first step toward moving on to a better year. "Saying goodbye to the past year, conscious of all the decisions we took and evaluating them all, will enable us to set healthier targets for the next year," she added.

Dream big, but not too big
Ekmekçibaşı listed all the points we must pay attention to when setting up new goals or targets for ourselves.
The bigger and the more abstract our goals are, the less attainable they will be, she said. "'I will reach my ideal weight,' 'I will make lots of money and get promoted in my job,' 'I will find the love of my life' are all goals that are hard to reach ... which could lead to great disappointment," Ekmekçibaşı said, underscoring that taking small "baby" steps and setting more realistic and attainable goals are important.
"If you decide to start hitting the gym seven days a week, just think about how you will do in the long run, whether it will be sustainable or not. Start with just twice a week and amp it up if you need it," she said.
The psychologist also warned that having an "all or nothing" mentality is harmful and that putting constant pressure on ourselves to be successful at everything we do is unfair.
"Sometimes we need to take breaks, and make amends with our failures; we need to give ourselves the chance to start over," Ekmekçibaşı said, reiterating that we are always our own worst critics.
She said that another error people tend to fall into is "overgeneralizing."
"You must not get carried away thinking that you will never be able to do the things you have failed at in the past. Every year, you either need to start with a blank page or look back on those negative experiences and try to determine the reasons behind them. Don't be afraid to give yourself time to try these again and again; just give yourself a chance."

Hope, expectations and the lottery
While it's fun to daydream about winning the lottery, living as if you are going to hit the jackpot or anticipating it so much that it's all you think about creates the perfect setup for more disappointment.
Having lighthearted discussions with family or friends about what you'd do if you ever won the lottery can be a great escape from all the negativities and hardships of life but getting too invested in it can cause some to collapse psychologically. Not losing sight of reality is important here, the psychologist said.
Living with the expectation and constant excitement about this very remote possibility can cause serious frustration for some, making them feel depressed.
The situation doesn't seem very promising or encouraging for actual winners either. Ekmekçibaşı said that most lottery winners start experiencing problems in their home and work lives and have troubles in familial relationships. "Most of them don't know what to do with the money, and thus their psychologies and lives are negatively impacted."

Make time for 'you'
Stop seeing the things you do for yourself as luxuries and start seeing them as necessities. You can start by bringing small things into your life that make you feel good," Ekmekçibaşı said, adding that these can be as simple as meeting up with friends, doing sports, picking up a new hobby, feeding pets or discovering a new TV series.
"You can think back on the things you enjoyed in the past or you could start something completely new that you always wanted to do," she said.
"If you are experiencing some problems, you might start opening up to the idea of receiving professional help," she said, adding that people must not forget that they are not alone in this world and are not meant to face every challenge on their own.
Underscoring that everybody needs a support system, she said that building strong, sincere relationships and incorporating things that make you feel good into your daily life can provide a great boost to morale and "help you better deal with stress, making you more psychologically resilient."
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