The New Year is the proverbial time to make resolutions about our lives. This year may I suggest that you resolve to make an empowering choice for yourself? Choose to have a Happy New Year. As human beings, the ability to consciously choose is our most powerful attribute. Choice is ours and ours alone. Choose to commit to living this one precious life of yours as a happy person.
We have all heard the stories of the wisdom that is revealed at the end of someone’s life. One hears, “I wish I had not taken things so damn seriously,” “I wish I had laughed with my kids more,” “I wish I had traveled more,” “I wish I had appreciated the people in my life more.” It is never about the things that they obsessed and worried about but about the things that bring a smile to their faces: time with friends and family, a day at the beach, a surprise birthday party, cuddling in bed with our little kids, helping out, laughter, good meals, wonderful cultural events, loving pets, deep and meaningful conversations … get the idea?
I doubt that on your own deathbed you will say, “I wish I stayed stuck in my pain and resentment.” With free will you can choose how you want to live the rest of your life. First we choose happiness and then we begin to adopt those behaviors that will make us happy and fulfilled. The choice is simple; the commitment to stay true to your intention is a bit harder.
Here are some tips on how to live a happier life:
Stop resisting what is and give up what you think life should look like. To stand in a fast moving river and attempt to swim against the current is both exhausting and painful. One might even die trying to fight against the natural flow of that river. Swimming against the current keeps you stuck in that one spot. Imagine what it would be like to simply stop resisting the river’s flow and go with it? Not only is it painless, it takes you to new places that you never would have seen had you continued your futile attempts to resist reality.
Stop resisting the flow of your life’s direction and go with it. All sorts of new opportunities and possibilities will open up for you, I promise.
Stay conscious. Be aware of your attitude and perspective on life as you go
through your day. Notice how you see things: are you looking for what’s
wrong or for what’s right? Are you always seeking more or are you content and grateful with what you do have? Are you being far too serious? Do you view life as hard and let that permeate everything you do?
Commit to a perspective on life that serves you. What you commit to takes all your attention. Where we put our attention will grow. It is possible to change.
Don’t rely on life’s circumstances to make you happy. Life changes all the time. Stuff happens. Just look at your own life and you will see that to be true. If you depend on life’s circumstances, like your job, to make you happy you are setting yourself up. Happy is a state of being. It is about your inside and not the outside. If you can only be happy when everything is going your way you are in for trouble because that is not the true nature of life. You and not your circumstances determine your happiness.
That is not to say that you will not be affected by bad things happening to you … you will. But you can then choose how you want to handle the situation so that you can recover and be happy again.
Take the case of a powerful CEO. He has identified himself totally with his job circumstances but when his company is taken over and he is let go, he is devastated and lost. Who is he now? One CEO is lost but another rebounds quickly. What is the difference? Their inner state of being.
Practice gratitude. Notice all that you do have. Look at what is right about life versus everything that you think might be wrong. Keep a gratitude journal.
Let go of fear. Fear is all about the uncertainty of the future and no one can predict or know the future. We don’t have enough information about the future with which to fear or to be pessimistic. Try a perspective that says that everything will work out just fine.
Do things that make you happy. Don’t postpone joy. Make time for fun and pleasure. Not only does all work and no play make Johnny a boring guy, it also makes him a grump! Go outside and play. Make a list of the tings that you love to do. Reconnect with your passions. Do it! Exactly what are you waiting for?
Lighten up. The other night I was sitting with my daughter and she was showing me a video she had made for a friend. I mentioned that the song she was singing wasn’t in her key. She looked at me and said, “Jeez Mom, why do you have to take everything so seriously?” She was 100 percent right.
Our time is limited. That just happens to be the truth. We are born and then we die and what we do in between is called life. You get to choose to have control and power over your life. You get to choose how you live your life even if life has handed you some rough spots. Again, it’s how we handle what life throws our way that makes all the difference. Don’t wait until you are on your deathbed to come to this realization.
Each day brings another opportunity to turn things around and choose anew. Try experiencing each day to its fullest. Appreciate the little things like a walk on the beach or a beautiful sunset. That’s what the dying often want … another look at the ocean or the stars.
Stop making comparisons. We fall into this habit and it makes us feel rotten. Even the richest man on earth envies someone for something he thinks he lacks. Perhaps it is his looks or his health. Whatever. Comparisons create unhappiness and a feeling of ‘lack of’. If you have to compare yourself to someone, try a person who lives in a shack with AIDS. You have everything you need to be happy.
Give up waiting for something to happen. When I get that job, when I
remarry, when I buy that house. Now is where you live. More often than not, when you do get what you think you need to be happy, you still aren’t. Again, its about your inside state of being.
Accept life as it is. The real nature of life is ups and downs, good and bad, joy and sorrow. If you are expecting a ride that is nothing but the good stuff, you’re in the wrong amusement park! Expecting only good from life sets you up for disappointment, resentment and unhappiness.
You are a totally unique person who will never be replicated in the history of mankind. To the best of my knowledge, you get this one time around. The truth is that it is all up to you how you choose to live this life. It’s your choice and yours alone. Make a Happy New Year and beyond!