As 2019 comes to a close, there’s no doubt the older we get, the quicker the years seem to pass. With the fast pace of time, it becomes important to find joy in each day, leading to a fulfilling and joyful year. So for 2020, how can you have more joy? I’m so glad you asked!
I spent a good part of my life and still do to some extent, focusing on tomorrow. When I was in college, when most were enjoying the experience, I was in a hurry taking the heaviest course load I could to move this blip on my life’s radar along so that I could get to tomorrow and all that was awaiting me. I never went to a party, rarely did anything but study and unlike most of the rest of my friends, who squeezed four years into 5 or more, I tore through college, getting two four year degrees in three years. Did I enjoy my college years? Nope, not at all. I was a type-A, perfectionist ready to get on with life and I missed the joy filled, tiny details and I still struggle with doing the same thing in mid-life.
If we want to be happier and more fulfilled in our daily lives, we need to forget the big picture, the great tomorrow we are in a hurry to get to, and start with the details – the small, everyday choices we make. We need to choose joy every second of the day. But where do we start?
Be Quiet and Get to Know Yourself
As with most changes, before you can be different or better, you have to meet yourself where you are right now. There’s so much noise today from outside sources like our partners, kids, jobs, social media, TV, you name it, and quiet time is nonexistent. Spending time in meditation or in prayer, as I do, helps to center me and makes me more mindful of the details in life like watching a bird at the feeder or a child play on the sidewalk with chalk.
Be Mindful That You Will Try and Talk Yourself Out of Joy
Most of us stay too busy to connect with what our bodies and souls are trying to tell us. When we do settle down, we realize we already know what we need to do: focus more on our spiritual walk, acknowledge our blessings, put the phone down. But there’s an inner voice that keeps us from acting on what we know to be the truth. Change is hard, so we find the rut of not being joyful comfortable.
Acknowledge You Have a Choice
Knowing that (most of the time), we can choose how we feel, that we can choose to ‘happen to life,’ as I recently read, instead of just letting life happen to us is one of the most liberating truths. We can’t control everything, but we can choose how we are going to show up each day and allow ourselves to be open to joy and walk away from misery.
Sometimes, You Are Your Own Self-Help Book
Self-help books and seminars are good, and there is a time and place for both, but sometimes just getting quiet enough to hear your own thoughts can be as beneficial as another book. Each day is a new page in your life’s book, so give yourself permission to write something completely different that you wrote yesterday and realize that living a life of passion and purpose is what you are meant to do no matter what your stage in life.
New Day, New You
When each new day starts with yesterday’s leftover ‘to do’ list or baggage, you lose the fresh eyes and an openness to what may arise. We make more space for joy and happiness when we step into a new day with no expectations clouded by yesterday’s disappointments.
Be Mindful Every Day
Take a moment each day to take stock and be mindful of what brings you happiness. Be honest with yourself and ask the questions you need to address. Are you in a relationship with a person who doesn’t value you? Do you hate your job? We can’t always just toss life upside down, but we can make a step each day to get to a more joyful place.
Embrace the Beautiful Disaster You Are
There’s a big difference between being conscious of our failings and beating ourselves up for them. Living a joyful life doesn’t mean living a perfect life. A writer once said, ‘There’s no such thing as happily ever after, it’s messily ever after.’ Take time to make yourself a priority, unplug and appreciate where you’ve been, the scars you’ve earned along the way and seek joy in the year to come…one day, one step at a time.