Every so often it’s good to take stock and see if we need to make some adjustments in our life. I like to think of changes that will bring about evolution. A while ago I shared a practice to help put some perspective on your year in review. Click here if you missed that post. It is one of my favorite ways to do a yearly mental house-cleaning.
But you don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve to make resolutions. Here are 14 steps to a happier you, at any time of year:
1. Give up something that causes harm.
You don’t have to be dramatic about it. Just do it. If you slip on your discipline a week later, just try again, quietly.
2. Eat more vegetables.
It’s healthier, better for the planet, gives you incredible energy, and makes you want to skip, and by the way…
3. Practice silliness.
Dance, sing, paint, write stories, make faces at small children. Laugh often and from your gut.
4. Take up (or re-commit to) yoga and meditation practice.
I know, I’m biased. But yoga and meditation change your perspective. If you want to make a shift in your life, settle down and watch your breath. Just try it. If you already have a practice, look at it again and see if it’s working. If you need help, consider joining me on a retreat in British Columbia this year.
5. Stop gossiping.
Negativity breeds negativity. So guess what? Positivity breeds positivity. You choose.
6. Get some physical exercise every day.
It’s our only body–we only get one this time around. Take good care of it.
7. Smile more.
If necessary, on those days when it is not forthcoming on its own, turn up the corners of your lips and soften your eyes. You will be amazed at how effective this is.
8. Learn the power of silence.
Turn off all (I mean ALL) of your gadgets and notice what is happening around you. And while you are at it…
9. Spend more time in nature.
Mother earth supports us. Appreciate her and she will reward you with gifts: a sunset, a summer rain, a frog chorus, a symphony of rustling leaves. But she won’t come to you; you have to go to her. She’s just that way.
10. Practice generosity.
Donate to charities, give to beggars, support good causes, just because it is the kind thing to do. If you truly (be honest with yourself) don’t have the means to make financial offerings, donate your time or attention. It helps you to appreciate the fact that you are rich enough to give. Or, if you prefer, stew in your poverty mentality. But if you choose that, then please…
11. Stop whining.
We know. It’s hard. Practice gratitude instead. You can do it.
12. Find a purpose.
Your intention guides you through life. Are your goals in line with your values? Ask what you truly want out of life, and contemplate whether your current activities support that. If not, consider scheduling a counseling session with me.
13. Love more.
Appreciate your family, friends, and colleagues even when– especially when– they bug you. Offer praise –tell them what inspires you about them. One authentic compliment can boost a person’s day, but it boosts your own day even more. And don’t forget to LOVE YOURSELF, lavishly–not in the gooey sense, but really, do you have to be so hard on yourself? Give it a break! 365 days of this and you’ve got a stellar year ahead of you. So…
14. Relax and Enjoy!
Go ahead, you can.