Thursday, December 30, 2010

Six Ways to Be Happier in the New Year

Every year I make a few New Year's resolutions - typical things like losing weight or getting organized. This year I have made just one: be happier in the new year. It's a big one, and a pretty tall order.

I have broken it down into some different ways I plan to have more happiness in my life this year. I made the following list for myself, and to share with anyone else whose New Year's resolution is the same as mine.

Here are my "Six Ways to be Happier in the New Year":

Pay more attention to what makes you happy - Spend more time with the people in your life who make you the happiest. Avoid the toxic folks as much as possible. Spend more time doing the things that make you happy - playing with the kids, going for walks, gardening. Pick up that enjoyable project you've been neglecting.

Minimize stress - Take the emphasis off of problems. Work on them, but don't let them consume you. Don't take on more than you can handle. Don't worry if you don't have time to get everything done in a day - it will still get done.

Appreciate what you have - Recognize all the good things in your life. Count your blessings. If there are things you need or want, keep a list, but don't worry if you don't have them yet.

Banish negative thinking - Don't let yourself feel bad about things that don't go as planned or get down on yourself because of mistakes you've made. Give yourself a break - remember you are a good person who deserves to be happy. Stop predicting that the outcome of every situation will leave you disappointed.

Treat yourself (and treat yourself better) - Pamper yourself as often as possible. Splurge on a latte, spa or salon visit, or just a night at home alone with a good movie and maybe some takeout. Indulge (within moderation and not in anything unhealthy, of course). In fact, cut back on or give up the stuff that's bad for you. (I personally need to cut back on sweets and reduce my salt intake.) Reward yourself for all your hard work and all the good things you do with little gifts for yourself, or just taking some time to relax.

Pursue your passion - Is there something you really want to do? Write a novel, make clothes, travel? Try to make this the year it happens. Focus on the things you love to do and how you may be able to get a new project, or even a new career, off the ground.
Just keep thinking - "It is going to be a great year."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Looking Down The Road

As the year draws to a close, it is time to do some reflecting. I like to think of this as a time for looking down the road - in both directions.

Looking back at the road behind you - The last days of the year are a good time for looking back over the previous twelve months and reviewing events and accomplishments, what went well, what didn't, and what we've learned from it all. Seeing how far you've come in making progress toward a goal, or just reminiscing about all the good things that have happened.

Looking forward at the road that stretches ahead - It is the time for making New Year's resolutions and setting goals for what we'd like to accomplish in the coming year. The road ahead holds the promise of new opportunities. A new year, a new chance to get it right. To make positive changes, begin new projects. As we look down the road toward a new year, there are limitless possibilities.
It's always good to evaluate things at the end of the year, take stock of where you are, and prepare to go forward. And hopefully, if the previous year was a not-so-good year, the next will be better.