Happy New Year!
One of the most popular posts that I wrote in 2013 was “14 Ways to Be Happier in 2013.” And, I figured, what better way to kick off 2014 than to write 14 MORE ways to be Happier in 2014? You know, considering the first 14 totally still apply.
1. BUDGET. Sure, this one might seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t create a monthly budget (and stick to it). Money is one of the BIGGEST (if not THE biggest) cause for stress, anxiety, and depression… so, let’s combat it this year. Create a monthly budget. Stick to it. Need help? Use my budget template.
2. SAVE. Now that we’ve got the budget thing figured out, let’s start saving some pennies. Shall we? Saving for the future is SO important, if not one of THE MOST important things you can do with your money. Need a place to start? Try the 52-week Money Challenge.
3. GIVE. Once you’ve got the budgeting down and the saving down – it’s time to be generous. And yes. I mean with your money. It doesn’t have to be a lot. $5 here, $10 there. Find a worthy cause. Donate to it monthly. Trust me, the more money you give away, the more return you’ll see. TRUST me. Plus, it feels good. Really good.
4. Quit the comparison trap. Comparison, probably second to money, is another MAJOR killjoy. I am totally guilty of this. I’m constantly comparing myself to other people. It’s awful. And it stinks. And it sucks the life out of me. I know I’ve GOT to work on this. I’ve got to stop comparing myself to other people and I’ve got to start comparing myself to ME. Am I growing? Am I becoming a better person? It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay not okay.
5. Volunteer More. I mentioned this last year – SERVING. And frankly, the point can’t be reiterated enough. Give of your time. Find something you’re passionate about and volunteer. The more you help someone else (because you WANT TO, not because you HAVE to), the better you’ll feel. There’s NOTHING more rewarding than selflessly giving of your time, talents, and skills.
6. Take a trip. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Got a place you’ve always wanted to visit? DO IT. Stop saying, “Oh, one day, I’ll go there.” Just do it. My husband and I haven’t been on a vacation since our HONEYMOON. This year, that’s changing.
7. Face a fear. Sometimes fear is so crippling it can hold us back from moving forward. It can hold us back from maturing. It can hold us back from ______________. This year, face that fear right in the face and SMACK it. Been wanting to run a marathon? DO IT. Been wanting to start a business? DO IT. Afraid of heights? GO SKYDIVING!! Just do it. Stop letting fear control you.
8. Clean out your closet. Stop holding on to those old, ratty clothes. Stop holding on to that piece of clothing that fit you 10 years ago and the fact that it doesn’t fit anymore depresses you. Just get rid of it. Start fresh. It’s okay. Buy clothes that FIT you and make you feel awesome.
9. Write a bucket list (and vow to do AT LEAST ONE thing on it). This one is pretty self-explanatory. Write that bucket list you’ve been wanting to write. Find SOMETHING, anything on that list and CHECK IT OFF. This year. Heck, if it’s visiting a place, you can kill two birds with one stone. 🙂
10. If you’re having a bad day, just start it over. Sometimes we have bad days. And instead of letting the bad day ruin you and spending it sulking in a crappy mood and making everyone else feel bad in the process, start your day over. Pretend like it’s a new day. Whatever happened, happened. Move on. You can’t control the past, but you CAN control the future. So, start your day over when you need to. You are the one who can control whether or not you’re in a good mood. You know it’s true.
11. Speak positively of yourself. This is me really saying this to myself. I’m extremely self-deprecating. And I HAVE to stop that. This isn’t saying that you need to be a cocky jerk or have a huge ego. What I’m saying is that you’ve got to stop saying bad things about yourself – because eventually, you’ll start to believe them. Set an example – especially if you have kids.
12. Learn to accept a compliment. This is, again, another one I’m really saying to myself. I don’t know how to accept a compliment. I always try to deflect and say, “Ohhh nooo. No way. That’s not true.” yada yada yada. Stop it! If someone compliments you, say THANK YOU. Move on. It’s not that hard. Listen to people when they say something nice to you or about you.
13. Perform a random act of kindness – regularly. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Buy the meal for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Make cookies for the mailman and leave them in the mailbox with a note. Take a hot meal to a homeless person. Do something nice for someone else – a stranger, even… JUST because. You never know, you may start a chain of events. Don’t expect anything in return. Remember the whole thing I said earlier about giving? It applies here, too.
14. Stop trying to be “okay” at a lot of things, instead, be “awesome” at a few things. We live in a society of DO DO DO DO DO! We try to do it all. We try to be it all. We don’t say no. We take on anything and everything. And, in the process, we become mediocre at a lot of things. And, our work suffers. Our families suffer. Our friendships suffer. Everything suffers. So, it’s about time we start saying NO to things. Instead, focus on a few things you really LOVE or really WANT to do or really feel PASSIONATE about. And be AWESOME at them. Start being AWESOME at just a few things instead of being mediocre at everything.
What would you add to the list? What things make YOU a happier person?