It’s New Year’s Eve and you know what that means. Champagne, noise makers, and legendary par-tays. I don’t have any of those plans (okay, maybe the champagne part) as I’ll be a nervous wreck watching my Sooners in this afternoon’s Orange Bowl, but I will be with all of you in spirit as you ring in the new year with toasts and verses of Auld Lang Syne.
Then, it will hit you. Like a train, and I’m not talking hangovers.
Time for those blasted New Year’s Resolutions.
Lose weight. Eat healthier. Be more positive. Save more money. Be nicer. Exercise.
We’ve all heard them and we’ve all tried them, sometimes with stunning success and sometimes with epic fails.
It’s time to start anew though, and according to professional coaches and bloggers Marc and Angel Chernoff, the best way to do so is to start each morning off the right way.
According to their “Hack Life” website, the happiest and healthiest people have effective morning rituals that improve their lives and renew their purpose. Sounds like a good New Year’s Resolution to me. Let’s get started!
Every morning in 2016 I will try my hardest to:
- Wake up with a sense of gratitude. The more grateful a person is, the less likely they will be depressed, anxious, lonely, envious, or even neurotic. Every morning think about how fortunate you are. Count your blessings. Every morning.
- Begin anew. Good or bad, yesterday is over. Start each new day refreshed and ready to do something different or better.
- Use self-inquiry to affirm a purposeful start to the day. Say what? Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin were both famous for waking up each day and essentially asking themselves, “what good shall I do today?” That’s what we’re talking about here. Come up with your own mantra. Just make sure it’s genuine and encouraging.
- Read something positive. The Chernoffs say happy, healthy people often read scripture, inspirational books, article, or quotes; or some form of self-improvement literature. They call it “creating your own sunshine” and I plan to do just that! Every morning I try to read “Jesus Calling” and I have a daily calendar of scripture and quotes in my bathroom that I read as I brush my teeth. Being the book lover that I am, I’m ahead of the game on this one and have stocked up on new inspirational daily devotionals that I hope to do, including:
“Savor. Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are”
by Shauna Niequist (this one also includes recipes!)
“A Year with Mary. Daily Meditations on the Mother of God” by Paul Thigpen
“Positive Quotes for Every Day” by Patricia Lorenz
“Daily Dose of Bible Knowledge” (read the bible in one year!)
I also want to start my Prayer Journal.
- Follow an effective morning routine. These apparently are critically important as they help you focus and build momentum for your day. Rushing is never good or healthy, but exercising and smelling the coffee is. Savor your java, reduce the number of decisions you make each morning, and slow down!
- Eat a wholesome breakfast. Okay. Guilty here. I rarely do this and if I do, that healthy breakfast is a hard-boiled egg and a banana…on the run…after I’ve had my coffee…as I’m headed out the door or onto the computer. Bad, I know. I’ll try harder. I promise.
- Move on gracefully to what’s important. The word that initially caught my eye in that sentence is “gracefully” because it’s such a pretty word but, the real meat of the sentence is “what’s important.” Focus on the right things right off the bat and the rest of your day may just fall into place. Panic and focus on progress rather than process and your day may start unraveling before you’ve even had time to think about it. Again, slow down.
So there you have it: how to start your mornings in 2016 the right way. But, what if you get off track? What if those mornings start becoming just like the crazy mornings of 2015 and it’s only February? Well, we all want to be happy so here are some things “Hack Life” and others suggest you can do and choices you can make that are sure to improve how you feel and impact how you think:
- Keep growing. Learn something new. Go somewhere new. Do something differently. Take risks. Look at challenging situations as opportunities for growth, not pockets of struggles. Every year one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to learn something new. I’ve taken Italian classes, cooking classes, ice skating classes, and have learned to cross-stitch and golf. I’m not a big risk taker, but just this year I went zip-lining and jumped into freezing Barton Springs Pool for Austin’s annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day. What will I do this year?!
- Filter the noise in your life. Don’t just listen to the loudest voices. Listen to the truest ones. Get rid of the Negative Nancy’s in your life and surround yourself with uplifting and supportive people not toxic and critical ones.
- Don’t dwell so much on your “perfect” future that you forget to live today. Find ways to be satisfied rather than constantly striving for bigger, better, and more. Realize that “having it all” is not possible.
- Work on being “wealthy” in your marriage, with family time, and with good friendships rather than just in your bank account.
- Don’t hold grudges. They do no good and only hold you back.
- Develop healthy habits and stick with them. What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
- Start choosing differently for your well-being. Take care of yourself. Little things can make a big difference and it’s time to start tweaking where you are. Think and care about others but don’t focus on being a people pleaser.
- Start being more productive than just busy. Don’t confuse motion with progress.
- Dedicate time to meaningful activities and find a passion. What you do every day matters but why you do it matters even more. Do what you love, even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
- Master the art of handling rejection. You will get it so become resilient at it.
- Run toward something rather than away from it. The best way to move away from something negative is to move toward something positive.
- Learn how to say “no” and mean it. Set your boundaries and respect them. If you do, others will too.
- Be genuinely happy for others. Envy makes us blind to the goodness of God and results in sorrow. Get rid of it in your life.
- Give without expectations. Not everyone has the same heart as you so don’t expect others to do for you what you do for them. This will only lead to constant disappointment. Give more but expect less. Plant the seeds and be happy with what blooms.
- Let grace have the last word. You don’t need to win every argument or always be right.
- Show your loved ones what they mean to you. Don’t just utter words; live by them.
- Replace “I have to” with “I get to.” So many activities we complain about are things others wish they had the chance to do and what we take for granted others are praying for. Realize this.
- Let frustrations go and focus only on what you can control. Everything else is not worth your time or energy.
- Turn the pages that need to be turned. This isn’t always easy but may be vital to your happiness.
- Measure progress everyday…no matter how small. Each day may hold a proud moment that you didn’t but need to pay attention to.
- Embrace uncertainty. Don’t let not knowing how it’ll end up keep you from beginning.
It’s time for a new beginning with the new year beckoning. Embrace it, take it on, and be the person you’ve always wanted to be. I’ll be rooting for you!