The happiness in your life greatly depends on the quality of your daily actions.
As you move through the first quarter of the year, remind yourself that it takes roughly 66 days to form a habit on average. So for the next nine and a half weeks, consciously leverage the actionable reminders below to look at the bright side of your life, and you will gradually rewire your brain…
1. Start steadying yourself with simple rituals.
When life feels like an emotional roller coaster, steady yourself with simple rituals. Make the bed. Water the plants. Rinse off your own bowl and spoon. Simplicity attracts calmness and wisdom.
2. Start filtering out the noise in your life.
Be careful about who you give the microphone and stage to in your life. Don’t just listen to the loudest voice every day. Listen to the truest one.
3. Start choosing differently for your own well-being.
A big part of your life is a result of the little choices you make every day. If you don’t like some part of your life, it’s time to start tweaking things and making better choices in the days and weeks ahead.
4. Start being a little more productive than you are busy.
There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. If you’re going to put in the work this year, don’t confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but never makes any forward progress. In other words…
5. Start dedicating time every day to meaningful progress.
If you only have fifteen minutes to spare, no problem — make those fifteen minutes meaningful. Focus on small daily steps as you get deeper into the year. And even when the struggle is real, remind yourself that it always feels better to be exhausted from taking a small step forward, than it does to be tired of doing absolutely nothing.
6. Start moving toward things, not away from them.
The best way to move away from something negative is to move toward something positive.
7. Start doing what’s right, even if it’s not the easiest option.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s worth your while. Do what’s right, not what’s easiest right now. It’s a less stressful way to live in the long run.
8. Start comparing yourself to yourself (and no one else).
Forget what others have and where they are. You’re not walking in their shoes, and you’ll never comfortably walk in your own if you keep comparing yourself to them. So focus on what’s best for YOU and your unique circumstances. What do you need to do next for your own priorities and objectives? Do it! You won’t be distracted by comparison if you’re captivated with purpose.
9. Start being more tolerant of those who see things differently.
Engage with people, including those who think differently. Ask questions, listen closely, and remember that the way we treat people we disagree with is the best evidence of what we have truly learned about love, respect, and kindness.
10. Start letting grace have the last word.
We only really lose the little arguments our pride insists on winning. When it’s more important to win little arguments than love people, we need to start all over again with our faith, grace, and priorities. (Note: Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the Relationships chapter of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently”.)
11. Start giving without expectations.
You will end up very disappointed if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart, values, or priorities as you. Keep yourself centered. The fact that you can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and give them hope, is proof that generosity works wonders behind the scenes. So…
12. Start being the difference you want to see in the world.
Be the change. What you give to another person is really what you give to yourself. When you treat others with love, you learn that you are lovable too. So keep doing your thing today with as much kindness, humility, and honesty as possible. Do what you do, not for repayment or an applause, but because it’s what’s right. Forget about popularity, and just focus on goodness and sincerity for the rest of the year.
13. Start being more present.
Gadgets are great, but they can get in the way if you aren’t careful. Control them so they don’t control you. Put down the phone when you’re socializing. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind a screen. Be present. Ask about people’s stories. Listen. Engage.
14. Start letting your actions speak to those you love.
Put first things first this year. Our closest relationships are vital to our overall health and happiness. And as we tell those we love that we love them, we must never forget that the highest compliment is not to utter words, but to live by them.
15. Start finding more gratitude.
The secret to being grateful is no secret. You choose to be grateful. When you forget, begin again. (Note: Our newest publication via Penguin, “The Good Morning Journal: Powerful Prompts & Reflections to Start Every Day”, is a great tool for this kind of perspective shift and gratitude practice.)
16. Start complaining less.
Practice replacing the phrase “I have to” with “I get to” whenever you catch yourself starting to complain. So many activities we complain about are things others wish they had the chance to do.
17. Start opening up to new experiences and opportunities.
Don’t let not knowing how it’ll end keep you from beginning again right now. If we allow it to, uncertainty chases us out into the open where life’s true magic is waiting. Go somewhere new, and countless opportunities suddenly appear. Do something differently, and all sorts of great new possibilities spring up. Keep an open mind and have fun with life over the next few months.
18. Start letting life’s little frustrations go.
Don’t let the silly little dramas of each day get you down. Joy starts on the inside. Practice focusing on what truly matters, and letting go of what does not. Use your frustrations to motivate you rather than annoy you. You are in control of your focus and how you choose to allocate your energy.
19. Start embracing the lessons life is teaching you.
You are a work in progress, which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once. Truly, everything that happens helps you grow. Oftentimes difficult experiences teach us priceless life lessons we didn’t think we needed to know. If you’re having some problems, that’s not a bad thing. It means you’re attempting things, taking steps, and making progress. The only people with no problems are the ones doing absolutely nothing.
20. Start focusing (only) on what you can control.
Don’t force things this year. Give things your best shot and then let them be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control. Remember, no book is just one chapter. No chapter tells the whole story. No mistake defines who we are. Keep turning the pages that need to be turned.
Now, it’s your turn…
Yes, it’s your turn starting today! I hope you will have a delightful year, that you will dream boldly and dangerously, that you will leverage the reminders above to create something that didn’t exist before you took action, that you will love and be loved in return, and that you will find the strength to accept and grow from the outcomes you can’t change. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and wisdom in this crazy world), that you will, when you must, be wise with your decisions, and that you will always be extra kind to yourself and others.
And before you go, please leave Angel and me a comment below and let us know what you think of this essay. Your feedback is important to us. 🙂
Which one of the points above resonated the most today?
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