“This means I go through my calendar from the previous year week by week and I make two lists. This is a straightforward 80-20 analysis, but it applies to emotional states.
“So on one list I note the 20 percent of activities, people, relationships, etc. that produced 80 percent or more of my peak, positive emotional states — moments of joy, moments of elation, etc.
“Then in the second list, I compile the 20 percent of relationships, activities, etc. that created 80 percent or more of my peak negative states.
“And it doesn’t have to be exactly 80-20, but it’s a useful heuristic for putting together an analysis of the factors in your calendar — not hypothetical — but actually from the last year that created a disproportionate amount of peak positive states or peak negative states.
“I’m looking not only at big events but weekly routines.
“And I noticed, for instance, in a yearly review perhaps two years ago that morning group exercise — whether that’s a private exercise session or some type of class — had a high correlation to elevated well-being (self-reported well-being) for that week. So that’s something that I then doubled down on in the years following.
“But I don’t take New Year’s Eve and the few days leading up to New Year’s to set New Year’s resolutions. I take that time to do a previous year’s review, where I very literally go through my iCal week by week. And I look at everything.
“And this seems like it would take a long time, but it really only takes perhaps a half hour, which is time very, very well spent.”