Mayans notwithstanding, the calendar continues its relentless turning as we close another year of jubilation and tragedy, success and disappointment, and open another year of hope and opportunity. New Year’s Day always seems to hold such promise for changing the bad and expanding the good in our world, but rarely does the year roll out in all the ways we had desired.
But could we do more to influence the course of events in our own individuals worlds—our communities, our families, our households? Might 2013 have a better outcome if we focus on “best practices,” not only in our workplace, but also in our lives at home and at large?
The past year of joyous birth and sorrowful death, of gratifying achievements and sporadic frustrations for me, my family and my friends has led me toward a better understanding of five actions each of us could take to guide us toward a better future, next year and beyond. These are some of the insights I have gained in 2012 that I believe will help me make a better 2013:
- Count on your blessings. Whether they are many or few, your blessings in life are the seeds for your future. Define those blessings, rely on them and build on them. The result will be a much more rewarding year, because you will have expanded your blessings to envelop your life.
- Let it go. Carrying animosity—whether toward individuals, workplace, or community—undercuts all your aspirations for the months and years ahead. Let it go, move forward and celebrate your imminent accomplishments.
- “Things” are fine, but find the right things. The things with which we surround ourselves and our family can be crucial to helping us lead happier lives. It’s important, however, to think not just about needing the newest gadget or the latest upgrade because everyone else is standing in line for it. Consider carefully which things will make you happiest and invest in those. Will a 60” HDTV allow you to more fully enjoy the movies you love to watch at home (while saving you a few bucks at the theater)? Will a smartphone allow you to stay in touch with family more easily? On the other hand, do you really need a mini-tablet or chrome wheels?
- Make friends. You’ll need them later. A life without friends is half empty, because friends expose us to possibilities we never could or would have considered on our own. While family is our most important source of strength and love, a family is inherently limited in number and may either grow or diminish. You have an infinite opportunity to make friends, however, and they will be there for you at the end, when you need them most. So you can move through the years ahead more confidently, less lonely and more focused on the potential in your life.
- Go with your gut. Our best gauge of what will bring us the greatest happiness in life often is our intuition. It tells us what we should do and where we should be, but frequently we reject what we feel in our gut, believing it is impossible—or even foolish—to try to achieve. That can lead to frustration and an unfulfilled life. Rather, analyze what it would take to responsibly follow your intuition, and arrange your life to work diligently toward that goal.
In the coming weeks, we will come across no shortage of predictions and resolutions for 2013. But in the course of our individual lives over the months ahead, we can rely on our own actions to help ensure that we create a truly happy new year.