Critics of those that want a clean slate with the new year will say, “You can basically ‘start fresh’ on any day of the year,” and that’s true. But there’s something magical when we all count down every New Years Eve. It’s a reminder that life goes on, that we will never run out of chances to better ourselves as long as there is breath in our bodies. And that is beautiful.
Resolutions are tricky. They’re predictable, but tricky. Mikey wants to graduate, Anna wants to lose weight, Reagan wants to fall in love… We have heard it all before. Heck, we may have had (or still have) those same resolutions.
It’s safe to say, however, that everybody wants to be happy. That’s the ultimate foundation of all of our goals, right? If I had a higher income, I’d be happier. If I had a puppy, I’d be happier. If I moved, I’d be happier. But would you? I think we often forget that the true aspects of life that may give us happiness are, in fact, the easiest to achieve.
Here are “The ABCs to a Happy 2017”:
A. Be More Accepting.
Accept more invitations when your friends ask you to hang out or go on trips with them, accept the extra projects at work, accept that the traffic in town will always be horrible between 4-6pm, accept that sometimes you just have to wait things out… Just accept it.
B. Look for the Beauty in Everything.
Even on your crummiest day, there’s still something beautiful about it if you look hard enough. Take time to enjoy the many colors in the sunset, to admire the adoration that your elderly neighbors may have for each other, or even how adorable your dog’s ears are when you’re talking to him. Enjoy the beauty in life. There’s plenty of it!
C. Care for Others.
No, but really… Don’t just say that you care. Show it. Volunteer for the fundraiser project that won’t benefit you personally, take ten minutes out of your day to call an old friend, or even write a “just because” note to your co-worker. It’s not hard to be a blessing and care for others.
D. Dare to Dream.
How many things have you missed out on because you were too afraid to try? Do you have any regrets about things that you think you should have worked harder for? Dare to Dream!! You are your own worst enemy.
E. Learn to be Excited Again.
I think we are so caught up in the fact that we are adults that we sometimes forget that we are allowed to be visibly excited about things/events in life. I’ll never forget how I burst into joyful tears (a couple of times…) during my last Spring Break. I went to Disney World with two of my best friends, and I couldn’t help but to cry because I was so happy. While I tried to shake off how weird it was to cry at Disney, it dawned on me that I hadn’t felt that carefree and excited about life in a long time.
F. Remember to have Fun.
This is the only life you’ll have here on Earth. Enjoy it. Have fun. Don’t dedicate so much time to working and to making money that you forget to enjoy the fruit of your labor.
G. Just…. Go.
You don’t need a reason to go on adventures. If you wake up one morning and want to drive two and a half hours to the beach, then go! If you’re laying in bed and wishing that you could be with your best friend, then go see her – lay next to her and sleep if that’s all you need. Just do it. What is truly stopping you?
H. Actually Handle Your Financials.
Okay. So, this one isn’t as much fun, but it’s needed to be happy. Focus on which bills that need to be paid and make sure you pay them. Pay your rent. Don’t live above your means. Handle your financials wisely.
I. When in Doubt, Investigate.
It is so easy to believe the first thing that we are told, but it’s important to remember that there are always more sides to the story. Whether it’s a rumor about friends or politics, don’t believe the first thing you hear. Look into it if it’s important to you. Facebook is a social media network. It isn’t meant to be your primary news source.
J. Join Something New.
Grow as a person in 2017. Broaden your horizons. Join a sewing class or a new gym membership. Do things by yourself without needing a friend to be with you. Go outside of your comfort zone.
K. Be More Patient with Kids.
This will be a tough one for me, but try to be more patient with kids this year. Let them take their time to figure out their own solutions to problems, listen intently when they tell you what is bothering them, and sit down and do a project with them. You’re investing in the future when you invest your time with a child.
L. Laugh More.
Who cares if you think your laugh is obnoxious? Who cares if you’re possibly bothering the table next to you? You’re enjoying your life! Don’t be so uptight. None of us are making it out alive, anyway.
M. Invest in Memories.
I actually wrote a blog post about this a while back, but be sure to invest in memories. Material items come and go, but memories stay. Are you not sure about what to get your sister for her birthday? Buy her two tickets to see a musical in Raleigh. With that present alone, she will get an evening to dress up, to go to a fancy event, and to also experience a show. And, hey, she may even ask you to come along with that extra ticket! Doesn’t that sound better than giving her a gift card? Exactly.
N. Learn to Say “No“.
Yes, I did say to accept more invitations and to care more about others earlier in this post, but you also need to know when to finally put your foot down and say no. Don’t be a push over. It’s easy to want to please everybody (trust me, I get it), but there’s only so much that one person can handle at a time.
O. Spend More Time Outside.
Okay, okay, okay… this one will be a big one for me. The older I get, the less time I have found myself outside. Granted, weather is unpredictable. I don’t like sweating, and I also hate having to bundle up in order to avoid freezing to death. But that shouldn’t stop me from living! In 2017, I’m going to walk around new towns, go to the beach more often, and hopefully even go on a camping trip or two!
P. Photograph Everything.
I basically already do this, but it’s something that I want to continue doing. Pictures are a wonderful way to record your favorite memories, and they will be great things to show my grandkids one day.
Q. Avoid Quarreling.
Don’t be so quick to become upset, but also don’t let your problems build up. Rather, communicate. Don’t fight or bicker. Have a mature conversation and move on with your life.
R. Rely on Yourself.
Make 2017 the year that you decide that you’ll try to become more financially independent than you’ve ever been before. Even if it’s a goal that will need to take a few years to fully achieve, it’s important to never need to fully depend on others.
S. Smile More.
Yeah, I do have the RBF (Resting B**** Face) Syndrome, but I’m working on it! It’s important to remember to smile more to those around you. One simple, reassuring smile can go a long way for some people.
T. Manage Your Time Wisely.
Be courteous when you have other people waiting or depending on you. Growing up, I was told, “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable,” and I still try to live by that saying. If you find that you may ever be late to something, it’s rude not to call or message the other party and let them know that you’re at least on your way. Don’t be that person that is known for never being reliable with their time.
U. Unpack and Rid.
This may be a good Spring Cleaning Project, but it’s time to unpack those boxes that are in your closet, attic, and garage and actually decide the fate of those items. Are you holding on to them for a reason or are you simply hoarding? 2017 may be the year that you finally let go of some of those things…
V. Actually Visualize the Life that You want for Yourself.
Figure out what main goals you want to accomplish in life, and take the steps to reach them! Make a plan for yourself, or at least have an idea of how to get to where you want to go.
W. Worry Less.
If you’re worried enough, that’ll result in actions. For instance, if you’re worried about your grades, then study. If you’ve done all that you can do, then worrying will not help you. Give it all to God. He knows what He is doing.
X. “X” Out the Things/People that Don’t Make You Happy.
Okay, yeah, this was a hard one. There aren’t many words that start with “x”, but go with me on this one. Examine everything in your life and evaluate how much all of it truly makes you happy. Do you really need that extra car (and thus car payment)? This goes for friendships/relationships, too. If they aren’t healthy, positive relationships, get rid of them. Just because something/someone was a part of your past does not mean that it/they belong in your future.
Y. Pull Out Your Old Yearbooks.
Hahaha. No, really. Do it. Go through it and be nostalgic about old friends and teachers. There must be at least one person that you have lost touch with over the years and that you’re wondering what happened to them. Right? Right. Make 2017 the year that you finally track them down and communicate with them again.
Z. Get in the Zone.
Get motivated, and stay motivated! Make 2017 YOUR year.