Well, here we are on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2015. What a year it has been too! There have been many wonderful things in each of our lives and in the world at large. There have been many difficult, horrible things that have occurred in the world too. Why is it that we let the horrible things overtake the good and wonderful things that have happened in our lives? I guess it’s just natural for that to happen. Heartache and grief can take over our lives so pervasively because it hurts! It has been proven scientifically that a broken heart can actually kill a person. It has also been proven that a joyful heart can overcome cancer, heart issues, and all manner of other physical diseases and disorders. Some of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever heard, read or witnessed are of people who have overcome disease, disorders, and horrible life situations because they refused to get down, let go of their faith, or give up. How many of us love reading a story about a person who was given a half year to live due to cancer or disease, but didn’t succumb? I personally know several people who have passed that six month mark and are still alive, many years later! Life is a mystery sometimes. I guess my point is that often we can change our fate by our attitudes. So, do we want to die of a broken heart or do we want to live life to the full all the way to our 90’s and then go to heaven, singing and dancing, our bodies completely used up and worn out? Frankly, I want to go the second way, even if I don’t make it to my 90’s! Ha!
So, what do you want your 2016 to look like? Full of wonderful, happy memories or full of worry, stress, toil and trouble? We can’t control world events, terrorism, the economy or other bad news. What we can control is how we respond and react to those things. How do we do that? How can we make sure to stay on track–happy, productive and overcoming bad with good? Here are a few things that I suggest to start your year off in the right direction! Everything here won’t appeal to you or apply to you. Take what you think will help you and leave the rest behind. These are simply some things that have helped me in years past and I hope something here will be useful to you too! Oh, and don’t be afraid! I’m not about to write a list so long that you fall asleep on #30! I don’t want to write that many and I know you don’t want to read that many!
- Take time every day to read something funny or inspirational…or both! I’ve found that the days where I’ve taken time to start my day by reading a devotional book, bible scriptures, and praying, are days that I feel better, work better, and have a lighter heart. Maybe you’re not of the religious persuasion or have a faith different than mine. That’s fine. Read something inspirational or, even better, humorous! Laughter does a body good! My only suggestion to add to this is that you don’t get online first thing in the morning. Leave technology alone and spend your first awake moments quietly and simply.
- Get some physical exercise every day, even if it’s just going up and down the stairs at work or home. Even better, if you have children, turn on some good jumping music and dance, dance, dance! Go outside and play with them after school or work. In other words, don’t let your family get glued to television or other screens all the time. Playing with your kids will accomplish several things. First, it will keep you and your children in better physical shape. Second, you’ll know and understand your kids better, building good memories for the future. Third, you’ll be interacting physically. It has been proven that everyone needs to be touched. Human touch is becoming very endangered and it shows. Even if you’re just ruffling your kids’ hair or giving them a quick hug, the benefits to both of you will be amazing. I promise!
- Eat better. I’m not saying everyone needs to go on a strict diet or make promises to lose 50 pounds. Nearly everyone I know has said or promised that at the beginning of the year, but how many people have stayed with those big plans? It is far more practical to just say, “I’m going to try to eat better overall. I’m going to eat more fresh foods, fewer sweets, and less of everything.” Don’t be so hard or strict with yourself. Just use some common sense and remember that eating at home is healthier and less expensive. Also, if you do eat out, split one of those huge meals with your spouse or kids. No one needs to eat a complete platter of food.
- If you’re going through a difficult life circumstance, don’t lock yourself away from others. Get out, talk to friends, relatives, or a counselor, clergy member, or life coach. Talk to someone, anyone. A burden shared is a burden lightened. One thing I suggest is that you try journaling a little bit every day. Even if you just write half a page a day, noting your general state of mind and emotions, you will feel better. I guarantee it!
- Lastly, do something to help others and make a positive difference in someone else’s life. There is nothing better for getting out of your own head and pain than helping someone else. There is always someone you can help, even if it’s just opening the door for someone, helping a little short lady (like me) get something off of a top shelf at the grocery store, or donating clothes and things to Goodwill. Perhaps you like to knit, crochet or sew? Make something for someone else. Use colorful yarn or fabrics. An older man I used to know had a motto that I try to keep in mind everyday, “Find a need and fill it!” There is always a need you can help with if you look for it. Even smiling at others fills a true need in our society!
Ok, that’s it. I won’t go on and on. Make your own list of things you want to accomplish in 2016. I do this every year and it is amazing how often I’ve met my goals. There have been years, of course, where I carry some of those goals on to the next year. There is something about writing down goals and leaving them in a place where you see them fairly frequently that helps you accomplish those goals. One year my primary goal was to get out of debt. I wasn’t very optimistic that I could do it in one year, but I worked out a way to do it, a little bit every month and by the end of the year…I was out of debt! I was so excited and became convinced then and there that writing goals down and working toward them a little at a time works!
Happy new year and God bless you all!
Peace and love,