Living Joyfully in the New Year!
December 26, 2016|Posted in: Choosing Happiness
Six Tips to Help You Live More Joyfully in 2017
Life is a series of events, good and bad. My journey has had its share of both. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot about being happy.
If you think about it, bad only exists because of good. It’s the absence of good that makes something bad. But, rarely, if ever, is there a total absence of good. We need to train ourselves to find and focus on what is good, even when it is elusive and difficult to find.
Here are six of my best tips to help you live joyfully:
- Develop Confidence & Independence
Rather than focusing on your shortcomings, focus on your strengths. Determine that you will rise to any occasion that presents itself. While it’s important to have valued relationships in your life, don’t let your happiness depend upon others. If you are an adult, then ultimately it is your responsibility, and only yours, to be able to take care of yourself.
If you aren’t used to doing things on your own, begin by taking small steps. Solve a problem by yourself, do something you enjoy all by yourself, etc. Keep at it until it becomes second nature. Strong, healthy relationships with others are very important and great to have, but those relationships will never be a good substitute for confidence and independence!
- Look for Another Way
If something doesn’t work out the way you expect it to, look for another way. You don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done. There are usually several different ways to accomplish a goal. Think outside of the box, get creative and be determined to find a solution, if there is one to be found.
Consider the job applicant who was presented with this situation, to assess her problem solving skills, “You stop your car next to a bus stop where there are three people waiting for the bus, an elderly woman who needs to get to the hospital as soon as possible, an old friend who saved your life in the past, and the love of your life for whom you have been waiting. Only two people will fit in your car. Which one will you choose?”
That seems to be a problem to which there is just no good solution, right? The interviewer waited while the applicant thoughtfully considered the question for quite some time. Then finally, the applicant smiled confidently and presented her answer, “I would lend my old friend my car to use to drive the elderly lady to the hospital. Then I would stay with the love of my life and wait for the bus.”
- Do Hard Things
Hard work and accomplishment are very satisfying. Be diligent to do the things you should and to take care of your responsibilities.
It’s often hard to do the things we should, particularly when we’re feeling unhappy. But surprisingly they are the very things that bring happiness. So, clean the house, make a healthy meal, and take a walk to get some exercise. I dare you to give it a try and not feel happier!
Consistently doing the things we should and taking care of all of our responsibilities on a daily basis will help us maintain a more consistent level of contentment with life.
- Don’t Make Everything About You
It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that your friend didn’t call because they don’t value your friendship. What about the hundreds of other reasons that may have caused your friend not to call, a lost phone, illness, a miscommunication (maybe she is waiting for a call from you)?
Instead of spending a lot of time thinking about how people treat you, train yourself to focus instead on how you treat others. It’s a pretty sure bet that if you become an expert at being considerate and thoughtful toward others you will have an abundance of people who treat you well in return. Just make sure you don’t keep score, ’cause that’s cheating!
- Assume the Best
This applies to people as well as situations. Always assume people have the best intentions. They probably do. Always assume the situation can be worked out. It probably can.
There is no use worrying and fretting that the stain won’t wash out of your favorite blouse. Assume it will. Treat it with a stain spray and throw it in the washer. If it comes out clean then you didn’t waste a minute worrying or feeling bad. This applies just as aptly to more serious situations.
And what if the stain doesn’t wash out, what then? Well . . . that’s where the final tip comes in.
- Roll With the Punches
Life is hard and full of challenges. Things don’t always work out like we planned. If the situation or circumstances are not ideal and you can’t change them, you can simply choose to be happy with things the way they are.
Here is a good example. I adore my grandchildren and I love to have them come over and spend time with me. There have been times where I’ve been planning on them coming and then the plans change so that they are no longer coming. I could let myself become very disappointed and discouraged. But if I take a minute to think it through, I remember that I also value quiet, down time (a very rare commodity in my life right now).
Now, fun, crazy grandkid time and quiet, down time are very, very different things and it’s hard to adjust my expectations of how I was planning to spend my time. (It works in reverse too, when you’re planning on quiet time and get called on to be a babysitter at the last minute.). Nevertheless, with a little bit of effort and refocusing, we can roll with the punches life brings our way. We can focus on what is good about the current situation, whatever that may be.
. . . (Maybe you can buy a new favorite blouse or your favorite jacket will hide the stain perfectly).
So, let me know what you think. Do any of these tips sound like they might help you? Try them and find out!
Remember, Live Joyfully in 2017!