It’s that time again – The New Year. Are you feeling the hope of a new start, or wishing you did? New Year’s Resolutions feel so good, but of course following them is not easy. One reason for the lack of follow-through is that resolutions are often too big, too general, or just unrealistic. Better to make some small changes that are more do-able than to reach for something that you can’t sustain. Here are a few small but important ways to actually make your life feel better even if the “big things” can’t change right now.
- Appreciate what you have. We tend to take the things we have for granted, and focus on what is lacking. Be grateful for what your everyday life includes — Do you have food to eat, a place to live, a job, friends, family? Are you healthy? These are all crucial aspects of life, and are not available to everyone. Appreciating what you do have feels good.
- Acknowledge your positive qualities and accomplishments. Are you smart? Caring? Determined? Hard-working? Everything good about you deserves praise. Self-criticism erodes confidence and mood; validation builds it.
- Have empathy for someone else. Look around, watch the news; get out of your own head. Having empathy for someone you know, see, or hear about is a way to help you feel your place in the world, and to feel connected to humanity. Doing “a random act of kindness” is even better.