As I look back on this past year, I have realized that as soon as I think I have it all figured out, life throws me a million curveballs and I suddenly find myself in the middle of a crowded room screaming but not a soul hears me. Do you know what I mean?
This year was certainly a challenging year… in many ways. BUT, despite the fact that it was a tough year, in more ways I feel like it was my best year ever. How is that even possible? My toughest year and my best year in the same year?! My head hurts.
I am not sure that I can attribute it to one thing in particular, but I think that all things working together on all cylinders made this year tough, but manageable. And I was able to smile and laugh through it.
If that makes any sense at all. I’m not 100% sure it does, but you get my point.
I’m learning more and more that I have absolutely no idea what to expect with each passing day and the more and more I become rooted and established in Jesus, the more and more I’m okay with the fact that I’m basically a complete ignoramus. Or something. Life just seems more manageable and the little things don’t bother me as much. And then when the big things come along, they don’t knock me down to the point where I can’t get up.
No, but for real, am I making any sense? This is serious word vomit, people.
Anyway. I digress.
Back in 2013, I shared a list of “14 Ways to Be Happier in 2013” – it was probably my most read post the entire year. And then last year I did “14 (MORE) Ways to Be Happier in 2014” and that ended up being a huge hit, too.
I don’t know what I may be setting myself up for in the long term, but I’ve decided I’m going to take a chance and share another 14 ways to be happier… in 2015. In case you were wondering, the first 28 totally still apply. This is just the expansion pack. The addendum. The part trois.
This list is not me saying you’re not happy or you can’t take it or I know all and I’m better than you. That is ABSOLUTELY not what this list is. This list is just a chance for you to think about things and see if there are areas that maybe you might want to improve, grow, or change in 2015.
I love the fresh start of a new year… so, I hope these 14 things get you thinking and maybe, just maybe, 2015 will be YOUR best year ever.
People who take themselves way too seriously tend to have a tougher time rolling with the punches. Laugh at yourself. Allow yourself to feel the “weightiness” of life roll off your shoulder every now and then. Crack a joke. Laugh at your own quirks. You’re unique and totally different from everyone else around you. Embrace it this year!
No seriously, put it away. Establish a rule where you put your phone away when you’re home and you only check it for emergencies. Put it away at dinner. Put it away when you’re outside on a walk. Put it away at the mall. Put it away at a friend’s house. Put it away with your family. Just put it away. This is something I’ve been working on and have to work on constantly… but it’s so important. BE PRESENT.
Find something you’ve already wanted to learn and learn it this year. Another language? A craft or trade? Knitting? Basket weaving? Calligraphy? Sewing? A musical instrument? Learn something new this year!
We are so often STUCK indoors. Whether we’re at work or bumming it on the couch all day, we’re always inside. Find something to do OUTSIDE. Go for a daily walk. Find some hiking trails nearby. Go to a park and read a book. Do something outside. Get that Vitamin D you need!
Clean out those drawers, closets, cabinets, trunks, boxes, etc. Get organized. You will feel SO much better. Take it a little bit at a time… tackle one closet one month, then a drawer the next month, etc. Don’t try to do it all at once.
Find all the unnecessary fluff in your life and cut it out. Whether it’s eliminating some unnecessary expenses from your budget, or toxic friends who don’t encourage and uplift you (this can be a tough one!), or if you’re spread too thin at work or in life, cut back on the stuff that’s wearing you down. Focus on the positive, the good, and the fulfilling this year.
You keep telling that person in your life (you know who they are) that you’ll see them soon. That you have to make a trip up there sometime… that you want to come visit. Well, rather than being all talk and no action… BUY THE PLANE / TRAIN / AUTOMOBILE TICKET and go. Go see them. Life is too short not to spend time with people we love.
Prayer is something I struggle with. Big time. And I’m trying to get better at it. Even if you don’t consider yourself a religious or spiritual person… replace “prayer” with meditation. Or something.
Take time EACH DAY to pray for yourself. Pray for your heart, your mind, your body, your job, your well being, your soul. Pray for the things you need, the things you want, and the things you hope for.
Taking the time each day to be quiet and focus will do wonders for the rest of your life.
Similar to the important of praying for yourself is the importance of praying for those you love. Pray for those in your circle of influence – your family and friends. Your coworkers. Your boss. Your pastors. Your book club members. Whatever. Pray for those around you. Pray for peace, comfort, purpose, wellness, abundance… pray for the good things. It will revolutionize your relationships with people.
This is a really, really, insanely tough one. It can be so hard to pray for (or meditate on) the people that have hurt us. Our enemies. Those that have turned their back on us. But rather than stew, fume, and hold a grudge… pray for them. Pray for whatever is in their hearts that hurt you to be dissolved. Pray for peace. Pray for your heart to be softened towards them… you don’t have to reconcile, but the pain and heartache you may feel towards that person will drastically improve the moment you pray for them.
Is there someone in your past that you need to forgive? Forgiveness is one of the most difficult things we can do… ever. But it is also one of the most rewarding. Forgive that person… and TELL them you forgive them. Show them you forgive them. You don’t have to be BFFs with them again, but call them up, write them a letter, send them an email and tell them you forgive them. And mean it.
And you will be absolutely blown away at how much it will make a difference in your life, in your heart, and in your soul.
Go to the gym more. Eat more leafy greens. Cut back on soda. Cut back on processed foods. Try eliminating toxins from your home. If you’re a body builder, a marathon runner, a mom, or a couch potato – there is something that each of us can do to get healthier.
Find something you can do for FUN. Yes, I said it… fun. Reading? Running? Board games? Puzzles? Doesn’t matter. Find something this year that is FUN for you.
I know I included something about serving in both the 2013 AND 2014 list… but it can’t be overstated. So, my challenge to you is if you are already serving others in some capacity… amp it up a notch this year.
Serve more. Give more. Even more than you already are. It will transform you. Giving to others is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It’s something I feel called to do and I get so much joy out of the joy I bring to someone else.