How are you doing with keeping your happiest year resolution? I’ll admit to struggling a little. I find January to be the most difficult month to gain and maintain my happy. It’s such a letdown following all the activity and fun of celebrating the year ending Holidays.
Now the bills and tax information starts arriving bringing us back to the reality of the need to get back to work. The weather gets colder and snowier, at least for us Iowans. It’s dark outside both on the way to and from work. Our next vacation probably won’t be until Spring Break or the Summer. The next three day weekend is Memorial Day, five long months away … ugh.
But for the good news and quick reminder – we can always choose our outlook and mindset. You can change your mood from dreading this time of year, to seeing it as the opportunity that it is. A new year, a new happiest you. Why not? What’s stopping you? You?
You might not need this reminder yet, but I sure do. I’m always all fired up about each new year. Ready to finally make the changes I know I need to make to be a better and happier me. Then something happens. I don’t know exactly what. Maybe the simple realization that change is hard? Or that I am weak willed?
This quote from Saint Paul sums up what I’m usually feeling by mid-January: “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15, NABRE). Now that I ‘m thinking about it, I’m actually pretty good at doing what I want to do. The problem is that I also keep doing what I don’t want to do; things that make me unhappy.
For instance, I know that reading or watching the news will not make me happier. Why? Because over 90 percent of the so-called news nowadays is negative. Feeding yourself with negatives is counterproductive to having a positive and happy outlook on life.
Or how about this, I watch sports but know I will be upset if my team loses. Why do I care so much about who wins? I have no control over the outcome and the results should have no impact on my life.
Last example, I choose to eat junk food that eradicates the weight loss that I should get from the significant effort I put into exercise. Minutes of eating eliminates hours in the gym. “Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump.
It’s crazy the choices we sometimes make as adults. I mean, imagine yourself running out onto the playground as a kid and choosing an activity that you knew you wouldn’t enjoy. The thought would have never entered your mind. And if you found you weren’t having fun doing something, you would stop it immediately and never come back. Do we get dumber as we age? Rhetorical question, please don’t answer.
So right about now I’m wondering if I truly want to be happy. All that stands between me and my happiest me is not doing things that make me unhappy. I have total control of this. Do I really want to be happy? Yes! Then stop the madness of making yourself unhappy with your own bad choices. Stop, drop, and roll away from your unhappiness. Simple!
Simple but not easy. We are creatures of habit and changing our habits is difficult. Habits are comfortable, change is not. Even when we know it is for the best. Apparently I’d rather be comfortable and unhappy, than uncomfortable for a little while followed by lifelong happiness. Yeah, that make a lot of sense, Scott.
But I’ve tricked my weak willed self so far this year. I figured out how to make the comfortable, uncomfortable. I’ve made the easy choice the happy choice. The choice that used to be hard for me to make is now the easiest choice.
Here’s what we have done. I’m talking “we” now because without Melanie’s help I would fail. We made it very inconvenient to eat the wrong things or watch news or sports. We don’t bring junk food home, we cut the cord on cable, and we deleted many apps from our phones.
Basically, we made very simple changes in our environment that made the happy choice the easiest choice to make. We have to work harder to annoy ourselves now, and it’s working!
And it’s freed up our time to pursue happier activities. We built a snowman today. Check it out:-)
So what about you? How are you doing so far in making this your happiest year? Do you continue to do things that you know make you unhappy? Why do you keep doing them? Can you stop? Yes you can! Will you? How can you make it easy to stop them? How can you make the happy choice be the easy choice?
Here’s your challenge for the week. Pick one thing that you do that tends to make you less happy and stop doing it for one week. Notice how much better you feel. Then keep it out of your life forever. Simple. You can do it!
To Your Ongoing Happiness, Scott