The end of 2012 draws near, and thoughts turn to what lies ahead. A new year is a chance for a new beginning. If you are like me, then hope springs eternal. You may be tempted to throw caution to the end during the holiday rush, and allow yourself to eat, drink, and be merry to excess. That is more likely to frustrate your good intentions for the new year. I get frustrated often, and I have frustrated myself in the past with over-reaching new year resolutions. But in the past few years, I’ve gotten better at resolving to make positive change. Here is how I do it.
Let us begin with a few fundamentals. We are all hard-wired to seek happiness. However, we are not hard-wired to understand what happiness is, or to realize when we are being fooled, instead, by short-term joy and pleasant distractions. Happiness is:
- Having something to do,
- Having something to love, and
- Having something for which to hope.
If you resolve to improve your health next year, there are a great many things you can do to make that happen. You’re off to a good start then, for finding happiness.
Improving your health benefits someone you should love. So the many things you need to do can be considered joyful acts, even if sometimes they are difficult to accomplish.
Improving your health also engenders hope for a better tomorrow.
If there is something you want, or something you want to accomplish, or something you want to change, it is worth the effort to think how that thing, accomplishment, or change fits into the above three categories. If all you want is to be happy, then you must go through the effort of finding things to do, love, and hope for; otherwise, happiness will not come of its own accord.
Doing something fun will not bring you lasting happiness. You should have fun, and you should have as much fun as you can, but you should be responsible enough in managing your affairs to know when you can afford to have fun, be it indulging in good food or good drinks, or playing exciting games.
If you are not sure what, or who, you should love, start with yourself. Love yourself enough to take care of yourself. If you are considering a change in diet, or to start exercising in the new year, don’t look at it as a burden or a deprivation you must undergo. Instead, think first of how good it will feel to take care of your mind, spirit and body by giving it time to rest, nourishing food, and fun exercise.
And in the new year, each time you wonder if you should exercise, or select something to eat, think in that moment that your choice is an act of love for yourself. When your actions care for yourself (someone you should love very much) then those actions will be a joy to continue.