If you are like me, you probably find it almost impossible to believe Christmas is over and the start of another year is just hours away. And also like me, you are probably trying to decide if you want to make any resolutions for the coming year or just let it go. After all, resolutions are really a waste of time. We all make them, and most of us break them. Usually within a few days, but some of us actually make it until the end of January before running out of steam. And if you are thinking about resolutions, they are probably centered around losing weight, being healthier, quitting smoking, quitting drinking, or making more money. Well, those are the most popular resolutions for the New Year, so chances are one or more of yours will fall somewhere on that list. Mine usually do. But this year I’ve decided to approach the whole idea a little differently. I’m not going to waste my time making a long list of everything I want to change. I’m only making one resolution. And that resolution is to be happy. After that, everything else will fall into place.
Okay, that may sound a little naïve, but here’s the thing. I’ve spent a great deal of my life worrying about what could happen. And fretting about what did happen and how I could have changed it. The bottom line is that like most people, I seem to spend most of my time in the future or the past. And that’s not a good thing. We take the present moment for granted because we have it, and what we have is never as important as waken hat we don’t have. That is why the future and the past can suck up so much of our mental energy, leaving us too preoccupied to actually enjoy the very moment we are experiencing at that point in time. Ultimately, we end up frustrated, anxious, tired, and worried.
I’ll admit I’ve been working on this goal for some time. In fact, it is one of the driving reasons I started my coaching practice. I wanted to help people stop looking for happiness and satisfaction outside themselves, or thinking they would finally be happy if only x or y would happen. This may not be an original thought, but guess what–happiness just doesn’t work that way. You can lose weight, but it won’t make you any happier if you aren’t already happy with who you are. Or you can make more money, but it won’t change your outlook. You are the only one who can do that, and nothing will make you happy until you allow yourself to be happy in the moment. Is it an easy thing to do? No. Is it worth the journey? Absolutely.
And that is why my only resolution is to be happy in 2016. To savour the days as they pass because they will never come again. Are there things I want to change about my life? Of course. But changing anything won’t bring happiness. More security, or better health, perhaps, but not happiness. And there can be no lasting change without a sense of happiness and contentment.
How do you do it? By being mindful. By being aware of your surroundings at any given moment, and how you are reacting to those surroundings. Remember, stress is not caused by your environment, but by how you react to that environment. It’s true at work, and it’s true at home. Living mindfully is one of the best ways to deal with stress because it allows you to recognize what you are feeling. And while you may not be able to control circumstances around you, you do have the ability to control how you react to them. Once you understand that, you will be well on your way to being happy, no matter what the world may throw at you.
So that is my resolution for 2016. It is also my wish for my friends and clients. I wish everyone a year filled with contentment, satisfaction, and happiness. A year where you stop looking ahead or behind and focus on what is surrounding you at the moment. We can’t control the future (plan for–yes. Control–no), nor can we rewrite the past. Trying to do either is waste of time and energy. But we do have the power to chose how we interact with the present. And that, my friends, is where we can find both happiness and the power to make positive, lasting changes to our lives.
I wish everyone–literally–a very Happy New Year.
Want to live more mindfully? Contact me for a free introductory session about how to bring lasting and meaningful changes to your life–simply, mindfully, and one day at a time.