Ending this year with grace and gratitude
2016 has been a tough year on many fronts. It was one of the most politically-charged that we've ever seen in the U.S. The world saw many tragedies -- some of them on U.S. soil, and others on the shores of our extended world family. Some of us met with seemingly insurmountable personal challenges.
Regardless of the difficulties that were set before us ALL, we need to remember to be gracious. Be kind. Be grateful.
10 Ways to End the Year on the Right Note
- If you've had a difficult time with a family member, co-worker or boss this year, extend the olive branch. It may be the last thing in the world you want to do, but take the high road. Be the one to end 2016 on a positive note.
- Get organized. This doesn't mean you have to tear your house apart from top-to-bottom, but take care of the things that can hold you back. For instance, if you're bad about keeping track of your finances, make a concerted effort to set up a simple spreadsheet, or use a budget tracking app or program. Then start using it. Or if you're chronically late to everything, make yourself leave ten minutes early. You may have to give up that second cup of coffee, but by making small changes like this, and more, you can start to eliminate the unnecessary stress in your life.
- Don't forget to say thank-you. If someone has gone above and beyond for you in your personal or professional life, make sure they know just how much you appreciated the extra effort.
- Resist starting arguments. The holiday season is notorious for bringing out and airing dirty laundry -- especially in families. If someone is pushing your buttons, try a different approach. They likely WANT you to react in a dramatic way. Shutting someone down with a simple statement such as, "You know, Uncle Jack, you're entitled to your opinion and I respect that" can end the argument before it starts.
- Be grateful for the things you have -- don't mourn the things you don't. It's easy to get caught up in a pity party for yourself when you didn't get the promotion you were expecting or that end-of-year bonus wasn't much of a bonus. Try to turn it around and be grateful that you still have a job, your family is healthy and happy or you reached a goal you thought you might not. Gratitude can literally become self-perpetuating when you practice it actively for a while.
- Don't make resolutions -- set goals. Goals are much more realistic and can be achieved incrementally.
- Establish your boundaries for the coming year. Decide what you're willing (and able) to do in the coming year and don't waver from it. If you don't want to sit on the Neighborhood Watch board again, or won't have time to coach Little League, make it clear that you won't be available to take on these extra responsibilities.
- Start reducing clutter, both mental and material. If you have a friend that drains you every time you interact with them, consider becoming less involved. If there are situations that cause you unneeded stress, stop participating or try to find ways to avoid taking on that baggage. Decluttering your physical environment is also helpful -- get rid of items you don't need, don't like, or don't use.
- Take time for yourself every day. It's difficult for most people to get in the habit, but once you start doing something for yourself every single day, whether it's exercising, indulging in a latte or watching your favorite TV show, you'll start to find that you're more satisfied with your life overall.
- Be true to yourself. If you're not being the "real" you, start right now. The world deserves to see you and you deserve to be seen.
Thanks for reading. If this was valuable to you, I’d be honored if you followed me on Twitter Devin C. Hughes, where I share the latest research on happiness, mindfulness and human performance, and subscribe to my newsletter, where an earlier version of this article appeared.
Devin C. Hughes, is a highly sought after speaker, author, happiness muse, mindfulness trainer & executive coach. He is the author of seven books and his approach draws from the science of positive psychology, positive organizational research, appreciative inquiry, neuroscience, mindset and mindfulness.
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