So every year people make them. They promise to drop 30 lbs or save more money. This will be the year that: ( insert life changing challenge here). It sounds incredibly daunting and inspiring, all at once. I also see the naysayers. They say its silly. Ask, “what’s the point?” I know. I have been just as guilty as anyone else, setting goals only to forget about them before the end of the quarter. Regardless, I don’t find the exercise pointless because I have also accomplished things that did change my experience. And it all began with a simple resolution for myself that happened to be set on the first day of the year. Half Marathon, weight loss, new businesses… All the result of goals I set out on at the start of a new year. Even the decision to live a happier more fulfilled experience. I had just turned 25, I did not have a job or a place to live really but a yearning to truly enjoy each day I was blessed with breath. I had outlined what I wanted and I set out to be different so I could have something different. So back to you dear reader: This is a new year… Open to a million and one possibilities and if you make only one promise to yourself it should be to live a happier more enjoyable experience. Not sure where to start? how to get there? what you are missing? Here is what I know about it…
1. Follow you passions. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but here goes anyway. Life is short. SO why would you waste one iota of said life doing anything that doesn’t make your heart sing? I understand that sometimes you have to do things you would rather not, like dishes or laundry, but going to a job you hate everyday because you are afraid of stepping out into your own happiness just does not commute in my mind. I have heard every excuse and because I have done it I can tell you that if you follow your passions everything else like, money and bills, will work themselves out. Yes you need a plan and to work for what you want, but I would rather stay up all night behind my own dreams, than lose sleep or miss out on life trying to complete “work” that makes me miserable. If you don’t decide to follow what is going to make you happy trust me that there will not be enough financial security and medical benefits to deal with the problems and unhappiness you will continue to fuel in your own life.
2. Be responsible with your energy. Everyday things are happening, good and bad. And for the most part you can’t control any of it. Your spouse may be inconsiderate or a co-worker may be rude. You might encounter obstacles to your goals or be late for something important. You have to remember that your experience is 10% what is happening and 90% how you respond to it. I am not encouraging anyone to skip through life denying hurt feelings or frustrations. That isn’t living, it is oblivion. I am reminding you that each second is a chance for you to choose happiness. I don’t always have the day I would have liked but everyday is filled with at least smiles, because I am responsible for my response. No one or nothing can “steal” your joy, but you can give it away. Make a decision that when things seem to be going in an unexpected or uncomfortable way to acknowledge the feelings you are having a look for ways to learn from and appreciate your experience. Then move on to memories, thoughts or things that bring you back to your happy place. It’s your energy, use it wisely.
3. Reward yourself. Oh and do it often. How often do you tell yourself how well you are doing? Do you celebrate small victories for yourself? You should. I am not talking about a cupcake because you worked out all week, even though the sugar addict in me thinks that is not entirely a bad idea… I am talking about taking an evening to get caught up on a good book or getting some extra rest during the week. How about enjoying a fantastic cup of tea or taking a walk on a nice afternoon? I already told you that life is short so when you have a moment take time to truly show yourself some attention. If your child did well in school you would surely reward them in words or action, so would it not make sense to give yourself the same treatment for making it through a tough day at work? Maybe it is in your budget to buy yourself something nice, but even with limited means there are simple ways to convey love to yourself.
4. Get moving. I think this is really self-explanatory but maybe not… You need to exercise. Walk or run. Yoga, Zumba, or dance class. If you are sedentary it will affect your ability to participate in life especially as you age and I don’t know about you, but I plan to be here for a while. For me exercise is not always fun but the benefits cannot be denied. I sleep better and I feel strong and capable. I think of my grandfather who worked his land and lived well past 90, all the while walking on his own two feet in a strong body. I never played sports as a child but as an adult I see the benefits of regular activity and encourage anyone to make it a part of their life for improved mood and body.
5. Remember love is a verb. Everybody wants it, but not everyone is sharing it. You are so busy, but you have to make time to show people around you that you love them. Really the same goes for yourself and people you may not know so well. Each person you encounter deserves to be treated kindly and lovingly, even the people who may not be treating you kindly. They are usually the ones who need it most. Take time to give genuine compliments to people you work with it, to your kids, to yourself. Being loving and sharing love with as many people as you can doesn’t deplete the love available but instead multiplies it. So like my bestie Pineapple says, “SPREAD LOVE!”
So there it is. Get to the business of being happy. I can tell you that you are worthy of it. You deserve it. There will be some that dismiss everything I just said, but there will be one person who really needed this, just like I did.