“Have you figured out your New Year’s resolution yet,” has been a frequent question the past few days, yet I’m caught off guard each time. It’s not that I don’t have one. It’s that it’s the same every year so I don’t give it much thought. It’s both expansive and tiny. It can happen in an instant, yet needs commitment to sustain. This resolution is an umbrella for all of the others, which is why it’s the only one I think anyone ever needs. What is the New Year’s resolution to end all resolutions?
RESOLVE TO BE HAPPY!
Sounds sort of Oprah-y doesn’t it? Nevertheless, the fairytale “ever-after” quality that embodies happiness, its vagueness and lack of specificity is what makes it the perfect resolution. Why? Because you get to define what it means to you every single day. You decide if it’ll be the same thing or a different thing. A big thing or a small thing. A short term thing or a long term thing. A single thing or multiple things. A simple thing or a complicated thing. The choice is yours, and the key ingredient for success is being intentional about it.
Happiness is Not Haphazard
Many people aren’t intentional about their happiness. They wait for it “happen” to them. That’s sort of backwards. The effort we put into saving money, making money, losing weight, getting healthy, travelling more, giving more, etc. is the same effort we should make to be happy.
In a perfect world, happiness would just be. In reality, happiness can be edged out by stress, responsibilities, circumstance, and various “noises.” Let’s resolve to take control of and own our happiness in 2017 and beyond. Here’s how:
Start Small: Every day ask yourself what would make you feel happy? I’m not talking a huge thing that clearly will take time to achieve. What small thing can you do TODAY that would make you feel good? Do it! If you can’t identify a small thing I encourage you to figure out why because long-term happiness is a series of small moments over time. Lately I’ve been reading a book for pleasure for 15-30 minutes each evening. I’ve been amazed at how this little thing makes me happy.
Go Big: What grand thing(s) would you like to accomplish that would make you happy? Do it! Do the research. Start the prep. Make that change. Or, rip that band aid off and act on instinct. Just don’t stand still. If you’re stuck, confused, or afraid to move, then your path to happiness is working through the obstacles. Sure it’s difficult, but YOLO and all of that stuff.
Be Guilt Free: Have you ever felt guilty about feeling happy? I have. It didn’t matter if the pleasure was small or large, I would feel anything from “I shouldn’t be reading when clothes need washing,” to, “I don’t deserve (insert happiness causing agent) when so much bad stuff is happening.” If this is you, stop it! There’s never going to be a perfect time to be happy, so in a really strange way it’s always the perfect time. Give yourself permission to feel joy and know that you deserve it.
Let’s make 2017 the year of happiness, whatever that means to you. For me it includes spending a lot of time with this blog (and you) because it brings me joy. Would you do me a favor? Even if you’re comment averse, would you share one thing that makes you happy in the comments section?
Happy New Year!
P.S. I suspect we may need a spending detox after the holidays so the first topic of the new year will focus on that.