2016 was a really difficult year for a lot of us. I'm a glass-half-full person myself, but the amount of celebrity deaths, racial tensions and tragedies, and the election to end all elections among just a few tough times made it really hard to believe that rainbow was really coming at the end of the storm.
I wanted to try, as I always do, to be a flicker of positivity to consider if only for a moment. Below are 5 easy ways you can have a better 2017.
1. Encourage others to grow.
I really use my life as a platform to learn and I try to take something of value out of even the worst experiences. Lately, I've been ignoring my base instincts and urges. I've been avoiding gossip, and instead I've begun talking to someone through how I think they can resolve the situation, coaching them on how to actually resolve their problem as opposed to just kind of drowning in it with them.
Quick side story: I spent some miserable months working for a company I’ll not name. I spent hours every day listening to complaint after complaint on the phone. I told myself that I would have to find a way to remain positive, and turn the conversation around quickly when the customer became hostile. It was in those months that I discovered the key to conflict resolution: listen, acknowledge, resolve. Listen for the root cause of the problem. Make a statement that acknowledges the emotion they are conveying. Work towards a solution instead of dwelling on what you can't do. It’s formulaic, but over time, it becomes natural, and it really does wonders for your conversation skills.
2. Throw a surprise party.
No, seriously. I'm in the midst of throwing the first surprise party I've ever thrown and it has been such a joy to do. I've gotten to see the enthusiasm and love that the recipient’s, my partner’s, friends have for him, and it’s so motivating to know that the minute details of a cake, balloons, some streamers, are really going to add up to knock someone’s socks off. Putting substantial time and energy into other people not only brighten other people’s lives, but make you feel so full of warmth and light, and I think we could all use a little more of that.
3. Allow yourself to explore your passions.
I've always been interested in yoga and I've always loved writing, but this is the first year of my life I’ve really allowed myself the time, space, and resources necessary to continue to do it on an everyday basis. Find out what makes you excited to be alive, and do it, even a little bit of it, every single day. Excitement and zest for life is something that droves of people are sadly very much lacking. Your happiness is not to be overlooked. Respect yourself. Respect your mental health.
4. Do the things you think you're really bad at.
I have this preconceived notion of myself that I'm bad at cooking and sewing. In all reality, I've barely given it a shot. But 2017 is going to be the year that I prove to myself that I am capable of anything I set my mind to, so I'll be damned if I don't try. Maybe you fell once when you were ice skating and you think you're awful at it; try again. Maybe you kill every plant you've ever owned; try again. Each year in your life should be one of personal evolution, this way you'll never carry any regrets.
5. Don't make fun of yourself.
Is it just me, or do you constantly have a voice inside your head that is kind of critical of all you do? While I'm a firm believer in the power of humor and laughing at life, sometimes we get kind of cruel and mocking when we view ourselves. My challenge to you is to be as uninhibited as possible this year. Let yourself do childish, funny things for the sake of joy and nothing else. Have ice cream for dinner. Wear blue lipstick. Buy stuffed animals. Just do you, and don't even let you stop you.