When it comes to happiness, why don't we do what we do best as data geeks, collect data on it, analyze it and monitor it! My argument is that this will make you more happy in 2013. We all want to be happy, right? But what makes us truly happy? Is it love or money, more time to enjoy the things we like. Or is it our careers, health or generosity to others? I guess it is a balance between a few or all of these things. And I also think that the balance might be different for each of us and might shift throughout our lives.

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Anyway, how many of us would say we are truly happy (even if we are in demand with all the hoo haa around big data analytics)? A simple glance at the list of New Year's resolutions gives us some indication that maybe we are completely happy or we are not getting the balance right. About half of us will make a New Year's resolution at the end of this year and it is likely to be along the lines of: Lose weight, spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest, stay fit and healthy, learn something new, fall in love, or spend more time with the family, etc.

We get a similar list when you ask people what they would do if they won the lottery. People usually say things like travel more, get in shape (via personal trainer), eat healthy (via personal chef), read more books, learn something new like an instrument or a new language, or give more to others.

In my job, I help companies set goals and create measurement and alalytics systems to manage performance towards those goals. The point I always make it that unless they measure, analyse and monitor whether they are achieving their goals, these goals just stay fluffy dreams (see here for more). They are, in essence, a bit like most of our New Year's resolutions, which last a few weeks and then we forget about them. So, the idea is that by measuring it we are more likely to achieve it. As the old adage goes “You get what you measure!"

Just think of Weight Watchers – people who join tend to lose more weight and tend to keep it off for longer, compared to the rest of us who try to go it alone. The reason: Progress towards goals is measured and monitored.

So my idea for the new year is that you measure, analyse and monitor your happiness. When I say measure and analyse, I don’t mean you create an actual set of indicators for it (that might be a little too geeky) — but it would be good to start appreciating and being more aware of the different elements that make you happy. It might be a good idea to simply check, maybe once a week, how you are doing.

This might make you realise that we often take our health for granted until we lose it. Then we realise that without health all the money in the world or the best career mean nothing. Maybe it will make you realise that a career without love and friendship will also not make you truly happy. Maybe it will make you do some of the things that actually make us happy such as spending more time with your friends, your partner or your kids. Maybe it will make you learn something new, be more generous to others, travel more, or anything else that will make you happy.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? What is it that makes you happy? Where do you think you could get a better balance by measuring, analysing and monitoring your happiness?

Help us spread the word and share this post so more of us will measure and improve their happiness in 2013! It could be a very happy 2013…

And as always, please feel free to connect

Via the Advanced Performance Institute: http://www.ap-institute.com

Via LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr

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