#159 - 8 Tips to make 2018 a great year

There has been a lot of hate, anger, and bitterness floating around recently. I’m not referring to the current political and social climate although there is a lot of negativity overflowing there too. No, I’m talking about people’s personal situations.

There has been a plethora of people on social media bemoaning the problems that plagued them in 2017. I have no doubt that we all have suffered problems in some way during the past year. Some suffered physical pain, disease, divorce, loss of a loved one, poor relationship decisions, job loss, loneliness, depression, or financial loss. These are just a few of the problems that I have recognized throughout 2017. Some I have even experienced myself.
I know that some of these emotions are amplified by the stress of the holiday season. Ultimately, though, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you deal with it!

This may sound trite and maybe even condescending, but it is the truth. It’s hard to be happy when life is difficult. I, for one, would love to just sail through life without a care in the world. But, that’s not the way it works. We all make bad choices at one time or another. We all experience physical or emotional pain at some time in our life. We all suffer through disappointments at work, are let down by a loved one, or must deal with frustrations from situations that are out of our control.

This is life! It’s not always fair. It’s not always easy and there are days that will be filled with pain, hurt, and disappointment! That doesn’t mean you need to let your problems destroy your overall daily happiness.

Happiness is a choice!

I know, we’ve all heard this line before, but the older I get, the more I realize the truth in that statement. There isn’t anything in this world that can make you happy; not more money…more money can only bring you more choices. Not a special person…if you’re looking for that special someone to “complete you”, you’ll always be disappointed because you’re still incomplete. Not a dream vacation…no matter where you go, there you are along with all the problems you tried to leave behind.

I could be unhappy about so many things in my life. I didn’t come from a loving, nurturing, emotionally healthy family. I’ve made some very poor financial decisions in my life. I ended up divorced after 25 years. I’ve had Bell’s Palsy twice in the last 12 years. This is a virus that causes paralysis in one half of the face. The first time I had about a 95% recovery. The second time (about 18 months ago) I’ve had at best about an 80% recovery. The biggest issue is my left eye does not always remain fully open. I’m very self-conscious about this especially when I’m out in public or recording a video. Finally, I lost my dad in 2017.

Any one of these things could cause me to lament my hardships. The fact is I choose not to. I choose to be happy. This doesn’t mean that everyday is filled with sunshine, butterflies, and unicorns! What it does mean is that I choose to be happy in this life. I also must admit that my faith in God has a significant role in my happiness.

Make the choice to be happy in 2018

Making 2018 a great year is well within your control, but it must begin with you making some changes. With a firm faith in God, you can choose to be happy most of the time. Yes, you will have rough days and they will pass.

Here are some Tips for making 2018 a great year

It’s always easiest to look at the negative side of everything. Develop the skill to look for the positive life lessons that can be learned from even the worst of situastions. This will take time, but is well worth the effort.

Distance yourself from everyone that carries any anger, hatred, or bitterness about their life. This includes family and your closest friends. Stop commiserating about how tough life is and how you wish it was different. Start finding happier people to be around. Their positive attitude will start to rub off on you. This one simple change will help put you on a much better path to happiness because you won’t be listening to others complain and you will be less likely to complain.

Whenever you are thinking about how tough life is, look around you…someone is having a harder struggle than you.

Make a list of all the blessings you have in your life and be thankful. With an attitude of gratitude, it’s hard to be angry and bitter.

Do something good for someone with no expectation of anything in return. It will lift both of you up.

Start an angry thought or negative though jar. Start each day out with the intent of being positive all day. You may want to focus hour to hour to begin with.

Each time you have an angry, bitter, or negative thought or comment put a quarter in the jar. Use the jar as a reminder that you want to stay happy. At the end of the week, give the money to your church, a charity, or to do something nice for someone else.

Finally, remind yourself that you deserve to be happy. Remember to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.

These are just a few ideas to help you have a better 2018. I’m sure you can come up with a few more on your own. Here’s to a great 2018!