Twelve Tips for a Happier 2020
1. “For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe.” (Anon.) Understand and accept what you can control, and what you can’t. Don’t waste your time and your emotional, mental and physical energy worrying about things you can’t control. Life is too short.
2. Don’t try to do it all. The idea that we can do it all is a myth and a trap--don’t fall into it. And don’t aspire to perfection; it doesn’t exist. Try not to be upset when you can’t be the perfect partner, perfect parent, perfect employee, perfect student, perfect friend…. Just do the best you can.
3. Set boundaries and learn to say no. Expect kindness and respect from others. You teach people how to treat you; be careful what you teach them. Never let anyone treat you in a way you wouldn’t want your own child to be treated.
4. Take time for yourself. Pursue a hobby, go to the gym, take a leisurely bath…. And don’t feel guilty about it. Self-care--taking the time to do healthy activities you enjoy and that calm and replenish you--is not selfish, but a gift to those who care about you.
5. Practice gratitude. Every day, make a conscious decision to focus on the good things in your life and be grateful for them. Focusing on the negative and forgetting or discounting the positive is a habit that can blind you to life’s blessings and small joys.
6. Be your own life manager. Look at the daily activities that consume your time and energy. Be sure they reflect your personal, relationship and career priorities. Assess the effectiveness of your efforts. Keep what’s working; seek creative alternatives for what isn’t. Run your life like a company you would want to invest in.
7. Set definite goals. You won’t get there if you don’t know where you’re going. Set goals and structure your time to help you follow through on them. Life rewards action.
8. Take care of your health. Be mindful of the care and feeding you give your body. It’s a cliché but true: don’t take your health for granted. Treasure it and find active ways to nurture it.
9. Respond positively to life. Your brain believes you. What you tell it impacts every minute of your day, and what you tell it is a choice; choose wisely. There are so many things in life that are completely out of your control, but your image of yourself, your thoughts, actions and reactions are all completely within your control.
10. Reach out and help others. Take care of yourself first, then give back and give to others with an open heart. The more caring and compassionate you can be, the richer your life will be.
11. Be your own cheerleader. Throughout the year, applaud your efforts and celebrate your successes. Learn from your failures, but don’t dwell on them. Be as kind and generous in what you say to yourself as you would be to the person you love most in the world.
12. Smile. Studies have shown that your facial expressions can affect how you feel. Try frowning, then smiling, and notice the difference. It’s simple but it works; the mere act of smiling can help you feel happier. Smiling is also a gift to others because the people you smile at will feel happier too.