Updated February 23, 2022
As we move forward, hopefully to a time with no masks and less fear around Covid, that in and of itself may help make 2022 the best year we have had in awhile. Regardless of where you are with Covid and challenges in life there are a few things you can do to create a happier state of mind.
One of the messages we have received over the past 2 years is that life is short and it is important to value the time we have and the people that we have. Let’s start there.
1. Be Grateful For What You Have
We often take for granted the simple things that we have in our life. Just the fact that you are reading this means that you have access to the internet, a computer or a phone, and that you can read, or hear if someone is reading it to you. If you have water to drink, food in your fridge, a bed to sleep in, you have things to be grateful for.
When you are feeling down or stressed or even frustrated or angry, nothing can change your mood like a few minutes of thinking of all the things in your life to be grateful for. Try doing a gratitude rant, and for 3 to 5 minutes just start naming the things you have to be grateful for.
Let the kid in you out to play. Ride a bike, go to the park and swing, invite over some friends and play board games. I get that video games are a way of playing too, but I am talking about actually going out and experiencing life in the real world. It might be taking a hike, or kicking a ball in the park, playing is a way of letting go of some of the seriousness of life. We all take our self to seriously, and that adds stress and worry. Often things will resolve themselves if we just let them.
I think the reason adult coloring books became so popular is that it feels comforting to do something we did as a child. If there was something that made your heart sing as a kid try it out again as an adult, it might feel a bit silly but then that’s sort of the point of not taking yourself to seriously.
3. Identify What Really Matters
Spend some time thinking about what is really important to you. If you were living your ideal life what would it look like. Would you be doing work that is saving our planet, would you be traveling and having adventures, would you be financially secure, or in a loving healthy relationship.
Janet Atwood created a process called The Passion Test, she states that successful people are living their top 5 passions. The idea is to really sit with the things that matter and come up with your top 5. Once you have determined the top 5 you have a road map to your ideal life. It becomes easier to make decisions, if something moves you in the direction of your passions it is a Yes, and if not then it’s a No.
4. Stop Worrying About What Other People Think
I don’t remember who said it but the phrase goes something like, “you’d worry less about what other people thought of you if you knew how little they actually did.” The truth is people really aren’t thinking about you as much as you think they are. Most of us are pretty focused on our own life. Even if someone is sitting around thinking about you and judging you, it is only their opinion, it isn’t fact, it isn’t truth, it is just their thought.
Too often we let other people’s opinions stop us from doing things that we want to do. Don’t let other people’s opinions keep you from being you. Allow yourself to be the one that makes the decisions in your life, not other people.
5. Turn Off the Television
I read that the average American adult watches 35.5 hours of television a week. That works out to about 77 days a year. Just think of what you could accomplish with all that extra time. If you want 2019 to be the best year yet then experience your life. Go out and be with friends and family. Sit down and play with the kids or read them a book. Attend meet ups, or take a class if you don’t have people in your life and start to build your community. Use the time to get organized, read books, catch up on projects, go to the gym.
I am not anti-television, I love a good movie and I have some of my favorite can’t miss shows. With that said cutting back to half of what you are watching may free up time for all those things you don’t have time for.
As a bonus, if you give up cable you can also save a few dollars to go out and do something in the real world.
6. Treat Your Body Like It’s The Only One You Will Ever Have
I was listening to a you tube video and again don’t know who to attribute this to, but it went something like this. “If you were given a car at 18 and told it was the only car you would have for your entire life you would probably take good care of it” If you were to treat your body like it is the only one you will ever have and it is, what would you be doing differently? Would you fuel it with healthier foods, would you get more exercise, would you get the sleep you need.
We live in an immediate gratification world and don’t always think of the consequences of our choices. What you put in your body today, and whether or not you move your body and give it the rest it needs, will impact it in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
7. Set Some Goals For Yourself
What is something you always wanted to do and never made the time for? Is there a class you want to take, do you want to lose weight, exercise more, get certified in something. Set a goal for yourself and tell someone you trust who won’t rain on your parade. Write it down and commit. If you do both those things, write it down and commit and tell someone, your chances of following though rise considerably.
Use the SMART Method when creating your goals, here’s an example:
I will be able to run 3 miles non-stop by January 31st, 2019
Is it Specific – Yes 3 miles non-stop.
Measurable – Yes I can tell when I have run 3 miles and whether or not it was non-stop
Achievable – It has been done by other so it is achievable and I have 2 legs and can walk.
Realistic – You would have to ask questions like – are you physically capable of this, do you have the time to train and accomplish this in 30 days?
Time measured – there is a completion date, so yes.
Setting and accomplishing goals helps build confidence and create more of a sense of satisfaction in life. When you follow through you also have personal integrity.
8. Do Random Acts Of Kindness
When you do little things for others it just helps you feel better and more connected with others. Something simple like holding the door open for someone, or letting a car in front of you in traffic, it feels nice. At the end of the day we are all doing the best we can and sometimes we get really off center. Doing a Random Act of Kindness brings you back to the here and now. It may also do something really amazing for someone else. We never really know what someone else is going through. Spread a little kindness in 2019 and beyond. If someone has done something nice for you, pay it forward.
9. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Take a risk and try something new. Each time you step out of your comfort zone it becomes a little larger. If you stay at home and isolate, you do the same things over and over, each day feels like Groundhog Day, it may feel safe, but you certainly won’t be living your best life.
Start small, try a new store or better yet go to an ethnic store where there are tons of products that are unfamiliar. Go to a movie alone if you never have. Fear is usually what holds us back. Ask yourself if I weren’t afraid what would I be doing? See what starts to come up with that question after asking it over and over again. Start to take small steps towards making those things a reality.
Taking a risk might create a little anxiety or it might be excitement which can also feels like anxiety in your body, it is just a feeling and it will pass. It’s important to not let thoughts and feelings control you. Getting out of our comfort zone is where we grow.
10. Let The Past Go
It’s a new year, a new beginning. Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there something you did that you just can’t seem to let go of? Holding onto the pain from the past just means more pain. If forgiving someone seems like too much of a stretch, try to get comfortable with the possibility of forgiving them or if it’s you, of self forgiveness.
Tara Brach has some amazing work on mindfulness that deals with forgiveness and letting go. You can also go to my post on EFT which is a great tool for tapping the past away.
In order to live fully in the present and have an amazing future, the past needs to stay in the past.
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions. Hopefully you can incorporate a few in your life moving forward. If some resonate start with those.