Despite what some people may tell you, happiness, healing, and hope are not just things that happen with time, it does take some resolve.
Your life is made up of the small decisions you make every day. Where you go, what you say, how you react, who you choose to be around, and what information you expose yourself to are some of the choices that determine how you’re living your life, every day.
So when you’re faced with those small decisions it’s best to be prepared.
Mapping your Resolve
Take some time at the beginning of this New Year and really think about what you want for yourself in realistic, practical goals. Here’s how…
- Write your list of goals in the positive. Rather than saying, “Don’t be sad,” say, “Do things that make me happy.” “Don’t be sad” is abstract and difficult to accomplish, but coming up with things you can do which bring you joy can be practiced and implemented.
- Focus on gratitude. Gratitude shouldn’t just be relegated to one Thursday in November. Regularly spend some time considering the things in your life you’re thankful for and even better, write them down.
- Try something new. One thing. Give yourself 365 days to try one new thing. This certainly doesn’t need to be skydiving, but getting out of your comfort zone or learning something new is good for the physical and psychological mind.
- Volunteer. Studies have found that helping other people may be an abundant source of vitality and well-being. Find a cause that means something to you, and possibly the person you lost, then lend a helping hand. If you’re not ready for a recurring commitment, you can offer to help for a single event.
- Connect. Consider positive people in your life that you wish you had more interaction with and commit to contacting them in this year. A text, an email, or a hand-written letter may reopen a neglected line of communication.
- Write it down. Thoughts come and go, but lists are tangible. Setting your goals or thoughts to paper gives you a guide to follow and acts as a reminder that your intentions are real and attainable. As a bonus, as you tick things off your list, you can revel in your accomplishments.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. This is a big one, and pretty much everybody struggles with it. All of the things on this list require varying degrees of vulnerability on your part. It’s very possible that one or some of them won’t work out the way you hoped. Do not let that deter you. There are countless moguls, musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs that will tell you of the mountain of failures they encountered before finding their way to great success; this is the same thing on a smaller scale. If you reach out to someone and they don’t respond, connect with someone else. If a volunteering experience didn’t fit for you, go somewhere else. The key is to persistently pursue your goal of finding happiness.
Happiness isn’t a spontaneous state of being, it’s a practice. And though it may have come easily in the past, if you’re now experiencing grief, you may find that for the first time you really have to work at getting to joy and happiness.
Though you may not have the energy, will, or ability to work toward hope and healing all the time (which is definitely okay), consider using this list to take small steps toward rebuilding your practice of happiness in 2017.
We wish you all the best in the New Year!