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How to Be Happier at Work in 2016


Are you making New Year’s resolutions this year? If you’re still undecided, maybe this is the year to park those unrealistic fitness and nutrition goals, and concentrate on your career instead. After all, most of us spend the bulk of our waking hours at work, so we might as well be happy doing it. Plus, when it comes to your career, sometimes little things make a big difference. Here are five small changes that are easy to make and can make you happier and more successful in the coming year.


(Photo: Morgan Sessions/Unsplash)

1. Get up earlier – even if it’s only 15 minutes earlier.

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“People who wake up early in the morning are generally happier and have higher satisfaction overall with their lives,” writes Vivian Giang at Business Insider, citing research from the University of Toronto that found that early risers feel healthier and happier than their night-owl counterparts.

Even if you can’t move your internal clock back by an hour or two, setting your actual alarm clock a bit earlier might have surprising results for your career. If you’re like most of us, your wake-up times creep later and later, until you’re basically always racing against time to make it to work and your other commitments. Giving yourself a couple extra minutes combats this and gives you a better chance at starting out your day without feeling behind.

2. Say no.

Better boundaries equal more productive work days in which you concentrate more on your own goals, and less on colleagues’. You don’t need to say no all the time – for one thing, if you never help out your co-workers, there will be no one to help you when you need it. But, don’t be afraid to make sure that your priorities stay at the top of your to-do list.

3. Say yes.

The last time you had the opportunity to try something new – whether it was learning a language or going on a trip or vying for a promotion that was a bit of a stretch – did you take it? If not, why not? Trying new things forces you to grow, both personally and professionally. Don’t cut yourself off from new experiences before you’ve had a chance to try them out.

4. Pack healthy snacks.

OK, we sort of promised you an alternative to health/fitness resolutions, and yet here we are, talking about healthy snacks. Sorry. But, there’s a good reason for packing your own treats that goes far beyond getting a jump on next year’s swimsuit season or even trying to impress your doc at your next physical. Sure, healthy eats will encourage you to skip vending machine fare, which is expensive and generally light on nutrition, but having your own stash will also help you to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. That stabilizes blood sugar, which will help you avoid the mid-afternoon crash that kills your mood and your productivity.

5. Pick a quitting time.

Most office workers could put in a nine- or 10-hour day at work and then go home and do another two or three hours on the computer after work. Sometimes, this kind of dedication is necessary, but other times, it’s just a bad habit that we picked up in busier times and never broke. The irony is that working all the time isn’t productive. It’ll also propel you down the road toward burnout, which won’t make you a happy or healthy worker.

Whenever possible, pick a time to log off and then stick to it. You don’t need to check your email once an hour in order to be a good worker … and if your boss says you do, your other goal for 2016 should be finding a new job.

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What do you want for your career in the coming year? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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