The new year is here! It’s a time for thoughtful reflection, careful planning, and positive changes. Growing in life, wisdom is needed if we will make each year better than the last. In preparation for the new year, you may be asking yourself:
- What changes will I make?
- How will I build into the lives of others?
- What is the one goal that I absolutely must accomplish?
If you–like me–wrestle with these types of questions, then I applaud your passion for growth. This week, I asked some of the smartest bloggers I know what life wisdom tips they had to offer. Here is what they had to say:
Life Wisdom Tips About You
Life Wisdom Tips on Happiness
For me, the marker of “an incredible year” would be nothing more (or less) than having been consistently happy. Truly happy.
I was interviewed in the fall about how I came to be “an exceptionally happy person.” Here’s a condensed version of what I wrote about it in October:
It wasn’t my past. It wasn’t dependent on other people. It wasn’t circumstantial. It wasn’t seasonal.
It all comes down to choice.
And you always have a choice.
In each circumstance, I remind myself of this simple fact. I am not a victim. Life isn’t happening to me. I may not choose everything that happens in life, but I always choose what I will do next.
I believe that.
I practice it. (And practice and practice …)
In fact, it’s why I wrote the book, The Best Advice So Far. I’m careful to say at the very beginning of the book, in the Preface, that I didn’t invent any of the advice in the book and that if something is true, then it’s always been true. “Truth just is. The best any of us can do is to discover it, to better understand it, and to explain it in such a way that others can make some sense of it with us.”
I didn’t try to invent any slick new jargon or catch-phrases to use in the book to up the marketability. I didn’t include any charts or graphs, or scientific studies. My intention was that The Best Advice So Far is simple; that it be about the basics of happiness, things like:
“You always have a choice.”
“Misery is a choice.”
“You have to start where you are, not where you wish you were.”
“Treat people as people, not as problems.”
“Kindness still works.”
Nothing fancy. Nothing complicated. See, I don’t think we need more information to “find happiness.”
We just need to be intentional and consistent in practicing the basics.
In fact, we don’t need to find it at all.
Happiness isn’t hiding from us.
We just need to choose it.
You always have a choice.
Life Wisdom Tips on Moving Forward
In my counseling practice, I have almost universally discouraged people from making New Year’s resolutions. They are really a horrible idea. The assumption that something magical takes place between the poor decisions of last year and the first day of a new year is faulty. The process of lasting change requires an entirely different mindset altogether.
If you want to make 2016 an incredible year, make a decision to make it the first in a series of years that you are on a forward-moving journey. If this year is incredible and you do nothing to build on that in the years to come, all you have is a brief “golden moment” to look back on. As my pastor recently put it, “We don’t need more ‘one-hit wonders.’”
Being on a change-journey involves a mindset shift, one I share in my book, Momentum: How to Build on Positive Choices, and Avoid Downward Spirals. You begin by learning to think long-term about change, rather than only thinking about what seems good in this one moment. Another principle is to avoid the mental debate (“Do I feel like going to the gym right now?” or “Should I… shouldn’t I…??”). It is important to focus on routines, overcome one obstacle at a time, and keep treading to avoid moving backward when you need a rest moment from change. In my book, I also describe how to turn a lose-lose situation into a win-win, how to keep your focus on the reality in front of you, how to grow deeper in your strength areas instead of trying to broaden into too many areas, and how to develop into a leader.
May your 2016 be a year that you come to reflect back on as a turning point in your thinking — the year you decided that change was a lifetime journey.
Focus on routines, overcome one obstacle at a time, and keep treading.
What life wisdom tips would you add to this conversation? Which of these tools has worked well for you? I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below!
Finally, if you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out part 2, where you’ll find more life wisdom for an incredible year!