Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? Are you tired of hearing that question? Here’s a suggestion… stop making them. What’s the point anyway? You only make it a few days, a week, maybe a month if you are really disciplined about it, and then you break it, and you’re done. No sense in trying to continue, right?
It’s never made any sense to me. You kind of set yourself up to fail, and who wants to do that? You should be nicer to yourself.
Tell you what – instead of making a resolution this year, make a list of all the things you would like to change about your life. Is there something that keeps popping up in your day that’s really annoying? Find a way to minimize it or eliminate it. But deal with it! Problems don’t go away when you ignore them, they stick around. In fact, until you stand up to it, confront it and stare it down, it’s never going away.
Well, I never said this was going to be fun or easy… but it’s about making your life better. Making your life enjoyable. Taking control of your own happiness, because you are in charge of it, whether you realize it yet or not.
If you disagree with me, you’ve probably been blaming someone else for your unhappiness for a long time now. And what seems really great about that is you don’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to accept responsibility for it when it’s not your fault. You can just go on with your days, blaming that person for everything that’s wrong. It’s so easy. Why isn’t everyone doing it?
Really? What you are really doing is giving that person power over you. You are willingly giving your own power away. Is that how you want to live your life, held captive day after day? Why would anyone want to live that way? You have the power to be happy.
You have the power to change your life and what isn’t working. But first, you must realize this and accept responsibility that the reason you aren’t happy is due to the fact that you have given away your power and made poor choices. Once you understand this and recognize the situation for what it is, you can begin to change it.
The good news is that you don’t have to change it all at once. You can start on the little things. The simple things. Or you can start with the things that bug you the most, or the most often. It’s completely up to you. Some things are much more complicated than others, so you might want to start small, and get your confidence up, and then tackle the bigger things as you go. And if you have a really big problem, then you might need the elephant analogy. How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time. And so it is with fixing big things. One step at a time. Each step brings you a little closer to what you want.
So make this list, and then rate the things you want to change any way you like in order of how you plan to address them. Heck, you could even put them all in a jar and pull one out every so often, if you are feeling brave and adventurous.
And don’t wait for a silly holiday to do it. If you want to make your life better, start right now, for goodness’ sake. Just do it! And if it doesn’t work the way you planned, try again, or another way. Just keep at it. Even small drops of water eventually wear away the hardest of stone, so keep the faith, knowing that you are gaining control over your own life, and your own destiny.
In fact, this is the one thing that makes people truly happy. It is not where you live, who you have in your life, how much money you have or what job you do. It has nothing to do with any of that. The one thing that makes people truly happy is the sense that they have made their own choices, and have control over what happens in their lives. So if you have been unhappy for awhile, maybe you have been giving up too much control to others. Maybe you need to make some changes.
And although the New Year is a nice way to think of making a change, it’s certainly not necessary. You don’t have to announce to the world you are making a change. You just need to make up your mind and do it. It does take some courage, but sometimes when you do something on your own and have a small success that nobody knows about but you, it gives a certain sense of satisfaction. And it makes you happy. So go on.
Get a pen and paper right now, and make that list of stuff you want to change. Stop blaming, even if it really is someone else’s fault. Find a way to make it better. Just be better than you were yesterday. That’s not too much pressure, is it? You can do that, surely.
Just be a little better every day. Make a little bit of difference every day, in your life, or someone else’s. Say something different the next time, do something different. Change the script. See what happens. You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose, and all that happiness to gain. Let me know how it comes out. You never know, after 365 days, you just might find that your life’s in a whole different place, just because you made a decision – today.
Originally published January 11, 2013.