The beginning of a new year is traditionally the time we make resolutions in the hope that we can make ourselves better, happier and wiser. Making resolutions is also a good way to ensure that the new year will be better than the last one. In the spirit of a brand new year, I want to offer these 20 ways for you to be more positive, more aware and more joyful this year.
Do as many of these as you can every day. You will soon find yourself feeling better, and you will attract new, wonderful people into your life. And you will find that every day is sweeter and filled with joy.
- Before you arise from your bed each morning, take a minute to think about at least three things for which you are thankful. Starting each day in a state of appreciation sets the tone for the rest of the day. End your appreciation with this thought: “Today is the best day of my life.”
- Start as many sentences as you can with, “Isn’t it wonderful….” For example, “Isn’t it wonderful that I have a nice place to live,” or “Isn’t it wonderful that the sun is out today.”
- Chose how you want to feel for the whole day or for specific segments of your day. Do you want to feel relaxed and peaceful? At work, do you want to feel capable and helpful? After work is done, what do you want the rest of your day to be like?
- Write out a list of things that make you feel good. (My list includes reading inspirational quotes, feeding the birds, and taking a break with a hot cup of tea.) Refer to your list whenever you need to change your mood for the better by doing something you like to do—or even thinking about doing something you like to do.
- Smile. Then smile some more. Studies have shown that the more you smile, the happier you will be. Really. Smile even when you don’t feel like smiling. There is magic in a smile.
- Listen to music that uplifts you. Music is the language of your soul.
- Every day, speak with someone who loves you. Take time to connect with them and appreciate them. We tend to get caught up in work and obligations, and some days we forget to talk with the people we care most about.
- Breathe. Breathing deeply and purposefully is another thing we forget to do. Take a deep, cleansing breath whenever you need to relax or clear the noise in your head.
- Treat your body like the temple that it is. Without a healthy body, it’s difficult to maintain a positive mental attitude. Cut down on sugar, flour, and alcohol. Eat healthy foods.
- Exercise. Your body loves it when you make it move around. Get up from your desk at least once an hour to keep your blood flowing. If you’re really ambitious, try some physical feat this year that you’ve never done before (such as a “fun run” or even a 10K run).
- Repeat “I love myself, and I attract wonderful people into my life” in your mind over and over again, whether you believe it or not.
- Wish everyone well. It’s not healthy for your mind or body to wish bad fortune on anyone else. Try using the Buddhist blessing, “May your good fortune continue and increase. May your happiness never end.” Wish this for yourself, too.
- Mediate. Quiet your mind at least once a day. A few minutes of quieting your mind will help put all other things into proper perspective.
- Ask for help whenever you need it. There is no shame in asking a fellow human being for help. That’s why there are so many of us here.
- Do something fun. Why should we wait until the weekend to have a little fun? Your fun thing can be silly, no matter how old you are. If you want to wear a silly hat or ridiculously colorful socks, go for it.
- Forgive someone. Forgive a grudge. Let it go. Carrying it around is taking more of your energy than you realize. While you’re at it, forgive yourself. Nobody has to be perfect. And that goes double for you.
- Pet the cat. Pet the dog. Tell your problems to your pet and then let the problems go.
- Go out in nature as often as you can. The natural world has a way of putting your city life into perspective. It’s been said that the best prayer is a simple, “Thank you!” Go outside, away from civilization, look up at the sky, and pray.
- Read or listen to a novel or an inspirational audio that uplifts you. Stop watching TV shows that depress you. If you can’t handle the news, turn it off. Choose as much positive input into your life (and mind) as you can.
- At the end of the day, make a list of what went well for you. Your list can include little things (“I had an easy drive into work”) and big things (“I got an excellent performance review” or “I met someone new today who I really like.”) End the day in the same way you started it—in appreciation for how good your life really is.
Thanks to my wonderful yoga instructor, Andi Sutherland, for providing the inspiration and much of the content for this column.
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