Start the New Year Right
I love the first day of a new year. It’s like a clean slate or the first page of an unlined notebook, waiting to be filled in with new stories, adventures and experiences. So often, we make New Year’s resolutions only to list them down again in January of the following year.
What if you made a list of resolutions that are not only easy to accomplish, but also made you feel happy doing it? Oftentimes happy is a mindset. It’s a constant choice you make. In the book The Happiness Project, to find happiness, author Gretchen Rubin urges you to find answers to the following questions: What makes you feel good? What makes you feel bad? Is there something that doesn’t feel right about your life? Do you have sources for an atmosphere of growth?
Here are just a few ways on how you can start the New Year with a beautiful mindset that will lead you to the happiness you so deserve. Good luck and may you find yourself more happiness, peace and gratitude in this year of 2017!
1. Be thankful
If you read the newspaper (or even Facebook), it’s hard to stay optimistic with all the bad news going around. Traffic sucks. Your Wi-Fi at home doesn’t work. You are worried about the state of the nation… The list goes on. Have you heard of the law of attraction? Whatever you think – negative or positive – you will attract that into your life. If you are reading this article, you have Wi-Fi and a digital device to read it on – that’s more than what at least half the population in the Philippines can claim to own. Show gratitude for every big or small blessing you have in your life and you will find yourself that much happier. List it down in a Gratitude Journal like the one from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf or jot down all things you’re grateful for in strips of paper and dump them all in a DIY Gratitude Jar. Review it whenever you are feeling down to remind yourself of all the good things you have in life. They can be the simplest things like “Thankful for a new day” or “Grateful for family”. See how this attitude of gratitude will begin transforming your life. Gratitude turns what you have into enough.
2. Declutter and donate
So, now you have realized that you are one lucky human being! That still doesn’t change the fact that you need to channel your inner KonMari method and let go of material things that no longer give you joy. Go through your belongings and separate the items that you haven’t used in awhile: clothes that you have outgrown, Christmas gifts you never used, old books you don’t feel like reading again. Instead of selling or throwing them away, why not donate these to people who would be very happy to have them? Ask your local barangay, orphanages like White Cross Orphanage or Caritas Manila.
3. Take your allotted vacation days
They say that experiences give us more long lasting pleasurable memories than buying material things. Instead of waiting for a cash payment for vacation days not taken at the end of the year, use the time and discover places in the Philippines you haven’t visited, or go out of the country to recharge your batteries and change your perspective. For sure you’ll come back to work inspired and rejuvenated.
4. Regularly do activities that you love
Think hard about what makes you happy the most when you have free time. It might be going to the salon and having a mani-pedi-blowout day, getting something new at the mall or doing yoga. Whatever it is, make sure you carve time out to do that on a regular basis and feed your soul.
5. Buy local
We all love our iPhones and designer clothes but make sure to support the local entrepreneurs who need to keep their businesses flowing or those that support sustainable livelihoods. Buy food at the Salcedo Market, The Gourmand Market or various market pop-ups around the city. Entrepreneurs such as Rags2Riches, Tali Handmade and more give jobs and livelihoods to indigent women, raising them up and lifting them out of poverty. It feels good knowing that your peso helps others too.
Filipinos are known to have big families and big social groups – just think of all the Christmas parties and get-togethers you attended last month. This is why – despite the political climate or typhoon disasters that continually plague our country – the Filipinos are a happy people. Make sure you spend lots of time with those you love and don’t hesitate to make new friends too!
7. Pay it forward
When was the last time you remember an act of kindness was shown to you? Do you remember how it made you feel? Don’t forget the little things like stopping at zebra crossings to let people walk across the street, or giving your bit of change to the beggar on the street. You can even initiate big things like regularly donating to your favorite charity, planting a tree through Haribon or give time to your local community or church. When I’m at the grocery, my heart goes out to these shoppers who have to count every last cent at the check out counter and take out items they can’t pay for. Sometimes I surprise them and just tell the cashier to add it to my bill, surprising everyone. It doesn’t take much to show a little kindness to someone who might need it. If everyone did this, the world could be so much nicer.