The time of year has come again where we turn inward, focus on the year that has passed, and the changes we would like to make in the coming year…Resolutions. The word often has a negative connotation, or at least is not taken seriously. We make broad proclamations and sweeping gestures about the huge changes we’re going to make…and then quietly forget about them by the end of January, if not sooner.

I propose something different this year- a new way of approaching the concept of resolutions: think small. Propose small changes that you know you can truly embrace, one day at a time. Small things- even one small change- can make a huge impact on your life, and the lives of others. The real things that make a difference.

Here are some ideas:

Show a kindness to someone every day- strangers, too. Small acts of kindness beget other acts of kindness…the ripple effect is astounding.

Smile at each person you meet. Some might think you’re a bit daft, but something as simple as a smile can give someone hope when they need it most.

Laugh often. Even if you don’t feel like it, the act of laughing will raise your spirits and just plain makes you feel better. My husband Dan sometimes includes Laughter Yoga in his class- a real discipline that has proven health benefits. It is so fun to watch the class start out very timidly, but by the time Dan is laughing his deep belly laugh, the whole class is in gales of laughter, faces beaming. It works.

Listen to music each day- whatever kind of music that speaks to you. Music is transformative- it can buoy our spirits, calm us, inspire us. It makes us better people.

Be open. Be open to a new perspective, a new idea- even just one. The act of opening our minds in turn opens our hearts. I love the quote by Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.” We are all on different paths….that’s what makes life interesting. Those who challenge us, make us think, give us a real gift.

And finally, create something. Every single person has the creative spark- it was there when you were a child- just look for it deep inside of you. Write a poem, draw a picture, cook a great meal, sing a song, sew a button. Do something to release your creativity every day, and I guarantee that you will feel better.

If you do any of these things, your life won’t be perfect, but you will be a happier person. And happier people spread joy…and all of that joy spreading ripples out into the world makes life better for everyone. And how wonderful would that be?

Now that’s a resolution I can stand behind.

Wishing you a New Year filled with blessings.

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