He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
–Epictetus (AD 55–AD 135)
It’s amazing how much our attitude has to do with our level of happiness and contentment. Have you ever woke up in the morning, looked out and saw gray skies and lamented, “This day is going to STINK!”? Chances are at the end of the day, we wryly take note of this self-fulfilling prophesy with the thought, “I KNEW this day was going to stink!” How much of our lousy day was a result of the circumstances of our day versus our attitude about those happenings? I contend that it is how we view our circumstances that determine whether our day is “good” or “bad.”
Let’s try this for a change: when we wake up, regardless of the weather or how we feel, vow to have a GREAT day before our feet ever hit the floor. Decide that no matter what happens, we will choose to react in a neutral or positive way. Reaffirm this decision throughout the day. I bet at the end of the day, we will have created a pretty darn good experience! What if we could do this every day? How about if we control our days rather than our days controlling us?
I think we could take this a step further and project a good attitude into the whole year, rather than just one day. I think New Year’s resolutions should be statements of the conditions we wish to manifest, not just passive wishes. The more belief we put into the creation of our desires, the more likely we are to create them. Rather than name them one by one like a shopping list, why not go to the end of the year and state what we wish to have created by then? Also expound upon the feeling and result that we hope the change will bring about. For example, rather than saying, “I want to lose 25 pounds,” replace it with, “By the end of 2015, I will have more energy, a leaner, healthier body, look good in my clothes and feel ten years younger.”
I recommend stating New Year’s Resolutions as follows:
1. My life is filled with good friends and healthy relationships.
2. I am grateful for the good health I’m enjoying and will continue to enjoy.
3. I have enough money to spare and to share.
4. I have fulfilling, meaningful work.
The conviction behind these statements will go a long way in making them become true in our lives. There is more power in affirmative statements than wistful desires that begin with, “I hope…”
We also need to vow to refuse to be influenced by the negative people all around us. We all know the type. They will find the dark, gloomy lining to every pink cloud. You could excitedly share the news, “Guess what?! I just won the $50 million lottery!!” They would just sadly shake their head and say, “You know you’re going to have to pay taxes on that. You’ll be lucky if you end up with $25 million.” Somehow we could make ends meet.
It’s not what happens to us, but how we view what happens to us
that determines our level of happiness.
–Kay Frances (1955–)
We should all have that embroidered on a pillow. Or etched on our bathroom mirror. We may not have a lot of choice about what happens during our day, but we can always choose our reaction to it. Life truly is a series of choices. At every moment in time, there are an infinite number of choices laid out before us. Most of the time, we are barely conscious of what we are choosing on a moment to moment basis. It’s important that we live our lives with mindful awareness and be conscious of our decisions, no matter of how small. Like the acorn that becomes the mighty oak, we can make our small day-to-day decisions blossom into a thriving, robust life. Let’s start today!
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)