First, HAPPY NEW YEAR, y’all! I hope all of you had a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve.
2012 was one of the happiest years of my life. Yes, I’ve been through hardships. Yes, things weren’t always easy. Yes, I went through trials. I’m not going to pretend like I didn’t cry, get angry, frustrated, or felt any sense of hurt – because I did. But, when I think back on the year 2012, I only smile. I feel so blessed.
Now, this is not me bragging or anything like that, I think I just finally learned how to cope with all the struggles life throws your way and how to get past all the hurt that has been weighing me down over the years. I don’t have it all figured out and I still have a long way to go, but I feel like if I continue on the path that I’m on, 2013 is going to be even better and I can’t wait.
So, here are 14 ways to be happier in 2013 (in no particular order, this is just the order I happened to write them down in).
1. Do not, and I mean do not, take yourself too seriously. The moment you start taking yourself too seriously and over-analyzing every move and decision you make, the quicker you’ll find yourself in a state of misery. Laugh at yourself. It’s okay.
2. If you make a mistake (and you will), acknowledge it, apologize for it (if applicable), learn from it, and then move on. Stat. What’s done is done. The longer you agonize over said mistake, the longer you will live in misery.
3. Pick your battles. I am not quick to anger, I am not quick to argue, and I am not quick to start a fight. When something happens that frustrates me or would normally cause me to want to quarrel, instead I take 5-10 minutes, I process what happened, and then I make a decision.
My decision is based upon this thought process, “Am I going to care about what happened tomorrow? A week from now? Three months from now? Five years from now?” If the answer is no, I move on. If the answer is yes, then I address it. And I address it in a mature way by having a direct conversation with the other party (or parties) involved.
It’s this process that has prevented a lot of unnecessary fights in my friendships and most importantly, my marriage. I’m being totally honest when I say a “fight” between John and I has never happened. And our “discussions” are rare. Why? Because we pick our battles and we communicate often.
4. Serve others. Do something for *FREE* for someone else because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. Honestly, between what I do for my church, serving at the prison(s), leading a small group with my husband, taking care of a family in need, whatever – I probably spend an average of 10-20 hours a week doing stuff for other people – sometimes more, sometimes less. And I LOVE it. It gives me the absolute greatest joy. And I don’t ask for anything in return.
When I start to feel the desire to throw myself a pity party, I go serve or I think about those people I serve – suddenly my entire perspective changes and my day is turned around. Try it, I dare you.
5. Do something spontaneous. Whether it’s something as simple as going to Waffle House at 1am with a friend or significant other, or taking a weekend trip to visit and old friend, or doing something totally outside of your comfort zone – just do it. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Live a little. You’ll thank yourself later.
6. Eat burritos. Burritos give you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t get sad. Proven fact.
7. Find something to believe in that’s bigger than yourself. If you read my blog, you know my faith. You know what I believe. I’m not one to push my beliefs on others – it wasn’t pushed on me and that’s how I became a believer – all on my own. But, I will say that it’s hard to argue against believing in a higher cause – believing in a cause bigger than you. We were all put here to do something – and working towards that goal or working towards finding a purpose will only drive you to want to be a better person. Know what I mean?
8. Wake up tomorrow a better person than you were the day before. I know this one seems cliche or whatever, but it’s true. When you go to bed at night, put that day behind you. Wake up the next day with a new sense of purpose or a goal for that day. Maybe it’s, “I’m going to go to the gym today.” or maybe it’s, “I’m going to perform a random act of kindness today.” or maybe it’s, “I’m not going to get mad at the other driver’s on the road today.” or whatever. You decide. Just do better. Each and every day. And you will feel better.
9. Look at yourself in the mirror and encourage yourself. This is a hard one. I have had self-image issues my entire life. I still struggle with them. Every single day. But, every single day, I work towards loving myself. Loving the body God gave me (imperfections and all), loving my personality, loving my intelligence, just loving me for me. I know this sounds all “therapy” or whatever, but it’s true.
Look at yourself in the mirror and, out loud, tell yourself something you love about yourself. Or, if that’s even difficult for you, tell yourself, out loud, something you WANT to love about yourself.
Do this again. And again. And again. And eventually, you’ll start to believe it. It’s not lying. It’s beginning to see yourself how God sees you – beautiful, wonderful, and amazing.
10. Call your friends. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones you never see or talk to anymore but you miss. A lot. Call them. Text them. Let them know you miss and love them. Even if they haven’t called or texted you – do it anyway.
You should always, always be reminding the people in your life that you care about HOW MUCH you actually care about them. We all know life is short and you don’t want to ever have the regret hanging over you of, “I should have called them more.”
11. Call your family. Same as above. Call them. Love them. Let them know. Often.
12. Forgive someone. You know the someone I’m talking about. There’s someone in your life you need to forgive. Heck, maybe the person you need to forgive is you. But forgive them. Holding a grudge and holding onto the past is only weighing you down and keeping you from moving forward and truly being happy.
Forgive them. You’ll feel better, trust me.
13. Laugh. Often. This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
14. Live on less than you make. Yeah, I’m talking money now. How many of you charged up that credit card over the holidays? Make it a resolution to stop it. If you earn $1,000 a month. You should be spending no more than $1,000 a month, preferably less. If you say, “But, my expenses are more than I make.” Well, that sounds like an income problem. And it sounds like you need to earn more income.
So, pick up a second job. Sell some stuff on eBay. Babysit. Cut your neighbor’s lawn. You can do it. I once had four jobs at the same time. Trust me, it can be done.
The moment you start living on less than you make, the minute your finances will start to take care of themselves. Get in control of your money and your money will no longer control you.
And you’ll be a WHOLE lot happier for it. Trust me.
I’m sure there are more that I’ll add to the list at a later time. For now, these are the 14 things I’ll leave you with.
You can do it. Trust me. You can.
What makes YOU a happier person? What would YOU add to the list?