A Look At A New Year

Here at Happiness by the Handful we don’t make New Years Resolutions.  Because by implied definition resolutions are immediate drastic changes that many think since it’s a magical new day of a new year, somehow different than any other new day, that they can in fact stop doing things of habit just by wanting it and without having to put in any effort.  They also think they can start new habits and see results from them even if they do them for two and half days and quit, falling back into the same habits and daily routine they’ve been living for the last 364 days.

Now, since we’ve covered the gist of New Years Resolutions and why they make me shudder, how will we make next year happier, better, easier? We make a plan from our goals.  When you think of goals you also think of work, time, and progressing towards your goals; in comparison to the overnight transformation of resolutions.

So we need to talk.  Grab a drink, the temperature of said drink, caffeinated or uncaffeinated and the alcohol content of said drink is of unimportance, just grab a drink.  What do you really want in life?   Whoa, that’s a loaded question, we just met, I’m not sure if I’m comfortable telling you about that.
I often struggle with actually pin pointing what I want to be or what I want to do.  And for a long time that ate away at me.  Why couldn’t I just have my shit together like everyone else and know what I want?  But as things become clearer it looks like we’re all walking around putting on a brave face like we’ve got it all figured out , when we really have no idea what we’re doing.  So I’ve come to be more comfortable with setting goals to get me to places and obtain things that are close to me and within grasp with some good effort and time.  While I’m working to obtain those goals, my overall goals shift and I can adjust accordingly without feeling like I’m giving up something or quitting.  I can see this coming year, and feel comfortable setting goals that fit into this next years time frame.  Goals should be about our personal lives and professional lives, not just one or the other.  Both of these things create our entire lifestyle and overall happiness and an ultimate goal of mine would be to mesh these things together more, a lifestyle that allows for more flexibility between the two that is.

Alright, you’ve got to write your thoughts and goals down.  If you’re just sipping your, whatever it is you’re sipping, and thinking about what it is you want in life you’ll end up double tapping the home button and swiping up and then going about your day forgetting you ever even had any direction or  intention of doing some pretty incredible things.

Let’s be practical in setting our goals so we can work toward them and crush them!  A goal I like to set is based on something you kept telling yourself you wanted to do last year and didn’t.  Another is, if life’s circumstances were irrelevant what would you be doing?  Kids, work, and money they’re all irrelevant, what would you be doing?  I’m not being unrealistic here, the idea is to think about life in a way that there are no obstacles to get to where you want to be or obtain things in life you want to have, and use that as your starting point.  Once you have those ideas and goals, what small steps can you take right now to get you one step, just one step, closer to your dreams and being happier?

I’m going to talk through a couple examples.  Say you want to make more friends this coming year.  Social media is a great tool.  A lot of businesses and groups use Events and Pages on Facebook to publicly post things that are being held in your area.  Use the search box to type in events that would interest you, whether it be antique pop up shops, food festivals, tours, or performances and attend some of those.  Even better, volunteer to help run a local event or join a committee that oversees something you enjoy.  Meeting people is just the first step, later you end up meeting the people they know and you can really grow your group of friends.  Now, let’s say one of your goals is to work for yourself but you’re dragging your feet or don’t know where to start. Don’t make this goal a one and done step of literally working for yourself.  There are plenty of steps between now and then.  First, start by downloading some podcasts about entrepreneurship, side hustles and self development.  Listen to as much as you can, as often as you can.  You will find tips to become more confident, ideas on how to be smart with money, strategies to start a business, and technology terminology you didn’t even know existed.  Read some books!  Some really great business books I recommend are: (and the wisdom here could even make people better employees and just better people on general) EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches by Dave Ramsey, and Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman by Vickie Milazzo – if you just want to own it in every aspect of your life then take some wisdom from Vickie! A great way to find books relevant to your current interests is to search in Pinterest ‘book’ along with self-development, small business, work from home, or any other sub topic.  You see, these small steps are in fact helping you grow and to move toward your ultimate goals.  It’s likely these small steps will even bring a little more happiness into your life along the way.

Take the time to write down something you weren’t doing last year but wanted to do, what would you do if you knew you could not fail, and what would make you happier? From there re-write your answers into attainable goals.  Once you have your goals the best way to increase the likelihood of following through with them is to break them down into steps.  The smaller steps allow you to look at a smaller piece of a goal and work on that at the beginning of the year and once you’ve accomplished that, then take a look at the next step and make a plan to accomplish that one.  Don’t look at January like it’s the month you plan to change your whole life.  Looking back at history I can’t think of a success story where someone claims ‘it all started with a New Years resolution’ – said no one ever.  Get excited about the upcoming year, and know that with a broken down plan, good intentions, and hard work you can be the person you want to be, reach the goals that you set for yourself, and even become a little bit happier than you were before.

You’ve got this.


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