Three Tips to Create a Better Year (& You) in 2009

The Christian festive season is over, new year’s eve and new year’s day
have come and gone and, as sometimes happens, I’m behind schedule.

(Well, OK. I admit it. “Sometimes” isn’t quite accurate. In fact, I’m almost ALWAYS behind schedule these days. But that’s another story…)

Anyway, today I looked at things I wanted to post for the holiday
season, rued my lack of time and discipline (or a combination thereof),
and regret that some really good stuff is being put on the shelf until
next year.

As I sorted through the items, however, I came across a triad of tips from AWR community member Jennifer Macaluso-Gilmore, Founder (and Chief Cheerleader) at Something Different for Women LLC.

The tips struck a chord with me when I discovered them in my inbox about a month ago, so I paused to read through them again. When I got to the end, I thought no, this is too important to wait. I’m not going to save this advice for a year, when it can put to good use right now.

I’ve taken out the festive bits and left in the core intention, because it can be applied by anybody, anywhere, anytime, regardless of race, religion, or creed or location.

Here are three simple things Jennifer suggests to kick-start a great year:

1) Re-evaluate priorities

  • Stop to ask yourself what matters most to you now, today. Is it:
  • Spending time with your family?
  • Expressing to others how much they mean to you?
  • Enjoying your friends?
  • Cultivating more joy in your life?
  • Meeting someone special?

Think long and hard about what feels like the most important thing to you this year, then focus solely on making that happen. If it’s spending time with family, call them and ask them to come visit you. Or book a trip home. If it’s expressing what others mean to you, then pick up the phone and call each one and tell them.

If it’s cultivating more joy in your life, volunteer for an organization where you will really make a difference in brightening up someone else’s life. Nothing feels better than helping others.

If it’s about finally meeting someone special, then take steps to make it happen and ask everyone to support you. Subscribe to a dating service, suggest that your friends introduce you to their single friends, have dinner with couples who are already happily married to show you what’s possible. You get the idea…

2) Be resourceful

Recognize, especially in this current economy, that there are many ways to show others what they mean to you. And showing you care doesn’t have to involve buying them trendy or expensive gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

This year, for example, write beautiful notes to the people you love, tell them exactly what they mean to you and how they’ve positively enhanced your life. Frame and gift wrap them and give them with joy.

(Susan notes: Or write AWR tributes to the amazing and inspiring women in your life – it’s free, easy and a great way to spread joy and happiness.)

Focus on the richness of life, not on what’s missing

I’ll never forget an episode on Oprah that featured a young girl in Africa who lived in a mud hut. She had a magazine and a newspaper that had been given to her. She made her mud hut into a ‘home’ by papering the walls with the newspaper, and making decorative hangings from the magazine.

She said she felt grateful and blessed! She had a home, pretty wall hangings, and was even able to offer tea and biscuits to friends who had helped build a school in her community. Above all, she was going to be able to go to school. It made me realize how so many of us, myself included, overlook the endless riches in our lives because we take so much for granted.

When we choose to see and appreciate all we have, we feel rich, full and satisfied. It’s easier to simplify your life when you have an abundance mentality – you don’t feel the need to do more or acquire more. You’re too busy enjoying what you already have. So, this year, focus on what you have. You’ll be amazed at how much less you will feel you need.

Have a Great (and Grateful) 209

While I haven’t taken any of Jennifer’s courses (yet!), I started writing a regular gratitude list after having read one that was sent to me by Holly, one of her former “students.” Writing the list is a way for me to focus on all the blessings I have in my life right now, and to share them with others, like I’m doing with you right now.

Have a wonderful year in 2009 🙂