Pravda Architecture

7 Secrets for Success in the New Year

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Happy New Year!  Do you want this year to be your best yet?  Let’s learn from the past and plan for the future!  Winston Churchill famously exclaimed, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
In other words, we are in control of our environment, and the environment we create then controls us.  -So if we want to be successful this year, we should create an environment that fosters our success!
How do we create this environment?  Here are 7 Secrets for Success in the New Year, informed by the WELL Building Standard, which was produced by the International WELL Building Institute after 7 years of scientific research and medical review.
7) Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Air quality affects your cognitive ability, productivity, and health.  If you want to be better at everything you do, start by breathing better air.
A good way to start the year is by flushing your home and business with natural air, changing your air filters, and checking your current air quality with an Air Quality Test Kit, which you can purchase online.
Joy and freedom
6) Drink High Quality Water
Proper hydration improves your performance, productivity, and health; and while the majority of Americans do not drink the recommended quantity of water, even more are not drinking the recommended quality of water.  Being that water is a solvent, it absorbs elements from everything it touches, including chemicals absorbed from plastic bottles and pipes in route to your faucet; and tests of American tap water yield numerous contaminants and carcinogens.
If you want to be successful in the new year, make a commitment to drink the recommended daily amount of properly filtered water out of glass containers.  The Institute of Medicine recommends that women consume 2.7 liters of water per day and men consume 3.7 liters per day.  Similar to air quality, if you want to know the quality of your current water, you can use a Water Quality Test Kit, which you can order online.
Close up pouring water into glass on a blue background
5) Give Yourself Proper Nourishment
If you want to feel good and perform at your peak, you need to give your body what it wants- proper nourishment.  This includes a balanced diet, rich in nutrients and low in trans fat.
To achieve success in the new year, follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends at least 4 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables per day.  Place fruits, vegetables, and nuts in clear or open containers, so you always see these first, and make a concerted effort to phase out foods that are high in trans fats and sugar, including fried foods and sugar sweetened beverages.
Fruits and Veggies_Nourishment
4) Provide Proper Lighting
Light is the most powerful of zeitgebers, external cues that align your body’s internal clock with the solar day.  If you want to have the most energy during the day and get the best quality sleep at night, proper light quality plays an extremely important role.  Additionally, improper lighting with glare can cause headaches and fatigue, decreasing your productivity and efficiency.
To pursue success, do your best to rely on and follow the solar day while using natural light or artificial, circadian lighting that mimics the solar day.  This means using cool light in the morning and warm light in the evening.  A good way to start the year is by adjusting the automatic brightness settings on your phone and personal electronic devices, as well as making a conscious effort to follow natural circadian rhythm and placing areas of productivity near windows or other sources of natural light.
3) Make Choices to Improve Your Fitness
Your ability to achieve success is tied to how you feel, and improved fitness causes one to not only physically perform better, but to feel better too- with the release of endorphins and serotonin when you exercise, which, as a result, increases your productivity, enhances your mood, and improves your emotional well-being to achieve success.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities five days per week and muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
While the most popular and most unfulfilled New Years Resolution is to “get into shape”, the rates of achievement in this realm are increased when you think about fitness as being tied to your success and you integrate fitness into your daily life.
If you want this year to be your most successful yet, integrate fitness into your daily routine and gradually increase your challenges.  This means choosing to take the stairs for a couple of levels, rather than an elevator, and walking around the block after eating lunch during the week.  Making fitness part of your daily routine increases your likelihood of sticking with it and gradually progressing; and it is number three on our 7 Secrets for Success.
2) Enhance Your Comfort
Is the temperature too hot, too cold, or just right?  This doesn’t just apply to porridge for Goldilocks.  This applies to the ambient temperature and your ability to achieve success.  You are most productive when you’re comfortable.  This means that the temperature in your space is how you like it, the clothes you’re wearing make you feel good, distracting noise levels are minimized, you may be listening to music that encourages your productivity, and the seat you’re sitting in is properly sized for your body.
Make sure your setting is ergonomically appropriate, acoustically attuned, and thermally adjusted to achieve success this year.  -And remember that not everyone is the same.  We have different metabolic rates that affect our preferred temperature, and we have different heights and statures, which affect where the height of our seats, arm wrests, and computer screens should be positioned.  While some individuals work best with music, others prefer a quiet environment.  Additionally, some people perform better while lounging, and others are most productive when sitting upright at a desk.  Test working on your passions in different settings, and adjust your personal environment for your comfort, to achieve your highest success.
Reading In Bed_Comfort
1) Allow Your Mind To Be Happy and at Peace
Endless resources speak to the interconnectivity of our mind, body, and spirit.  -And to achieve success, we should not only focus on enhancing our physical health, but also, our mental health and well-being.  Mental health does not only mean strategies to steer clear of depression and mitigate stress, but also to promote happiness and achieve clarity of thought.
Expanding your knowledge and awareness by reading non-fiction books on topics of interest and using a personal electronic device with health sensors to track your personal, physical progress have both shown to improve personal satisfaction and motivation for further achievement.  Furthermore, having items of beauty and that bring joy, such as artwork, pictures of loved ones, and plants, in your view also brings happiness and pleasure to your mind.
Finally, if you want to be happy, healthy, and achieve success this year, focus on bringing happiness to others.  While, with the mind, our goal is to increase the positive neurotransmitters of dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin, studies have shown that happiness is best achieved when we are socially engaged and display the traits of altruism and gratitude.  -So to achieve success this year, dedicate yourself to fostering the success of others!
We began this piece with a quote from Winston Churchill, and we will close with his wisdom too.  Churchill opines, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”  -So what are you changing this year?  Draw upon these 7 Secrets for Success, and make this year, your best year yet!
Written by Bryan Pravda, AIA/ NCARB/ WELL AP
Bryan Pravda is the Principal Architect of PRAVDA ARCHITECTURE/ DESIGN, a full service architecture and interior design studio, specializing in creating healthy, timeless designs.  He is the only Principal Architect in the State of Florida that carries the credential of being a WELL Accredited Professional.
For more on WELL and implementing healthy building strategies, you may contact him directly at