Happy New Year! How have the first few days of the year been for you so far? Many of us use this time to make New Year’s resolutions with losing weight, self improvement and better money management topping the list.
As I have been reflecting on the past few years, I tried to identify what changes have truly made a difference in my life. Some habits I have written about before, like a daily mindfulness practice. What I found were 5 mindsets that have been critical to increasing my happiness and peace of mind.
I invite you to see if any of them resonate with you for this coming year.
1. Stop seeking money or power to make you happy
“Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth or power. Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter.”
We all know that money doesn’t make you happy. Yet many of us are pursuing this path, without fully realizing it. We think that if we only got that promotion, that dream house or won the lottery, then we would be happy!
But studies have shown that within a year, lottery winners return most of the way to their baseline of happiness, because they get used to or adapt to their new situation. It’s called the adaptation principle.
Rather than seeking wealth and power, which only provide temporary joy, living a life of meaning provides much more lasting happiness. If you don’t know your purpose yet, make 2017 the year you uncover your life’s mission!
Are you ready to embrace and live your purpose this coming year?
2. Accept life’s ups and downs
“Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”
Maybe it’s movies and fairy tales that give us the illusion that life is “supposed to” be smooth and free of obstacles once we overcome one big challenge, but as many of us have experienced, life is actually a journey with ups and downs and spirals.
And each of the “detours” is a natural part of life and a necessary experience on the way to success. Without any challenges, we don’t learn and grow. Imagine the shift that would happen if you actually saw getting laid off, falling sick or arguing with a friend as part of a full, fulfilling and happy life.
Are you willing to accept life’s ups and downs in 2017?
3. Don’t focus on wanting to change others.
“First one must change. I first watch myself, check myself, then expect changes from others.”
~The Dalai Lama
How many times do you find yourself complaining about other people? No matter how much we may want to, we simply cannot change others. We can only change ourselves.
What to do? When you find yourself complaining about others, immediately turn the focus on yourself. Why are you upset? What can you take responsibility for in this situation? What can you learn from this? And what can you change?
Are you willing to give up wanting to change other people this coming year?
4. Live in this moment
“Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Life moves far too fast these days. We fill our days with so many tasks and activities that it is hard to really live each moment. Being truly present requires mindfulness – awareness of the present moment. One of the best gifts you can give yourself and others is to practice mindfulness each day to experience life fully and to truly be there for the ones you love.
How will you be mindful in 2017?
5. Stop being afraid to fail.
“You Learn More From Failure Than From Success. Don’t Let It Stop You. Failure Builds Character.”
We have ready about Thomas Edison’s many failures before his inventions succeeded, so we know that failure is important. Yet our society celebrates success and often punishes failure, making it very hard to actually go out and fail.
The good news is that we can change the way we view failure and actually pursue it. The only way to get better at something is to practice. And failing can be practiced as well. Improv classes are great at letting you try and “fail” and celebrate failure. Or you can set a goal of failing at something a set number of times.
What are you willing to fail at this coming year?
No matter what you choose for yourself for 2017, I wish you much love, courage and joy!