Traditionally, January is the time to start anew. We make a list of things to let go of and we make New Year's resolutions. There is even something called a "F**k It List." It's "the opposite of a Bucket List: a list of things you don't care about doing before you die instead of things you do want to do."
If the intention of setting resolutions is meant to create a more fulfilled and happy life, then why focus on what we don't want or what we need to change and fix about ourselves? Could this be the reason that only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Year's resolutions? Wouldn't it be easier focus on the positive?
According to Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and bestselling author of Authentic Happiness lasting happiness comes from developing personal strengths, not weaknesses.
Last year I made a resolution I knew I could keep. I decided that each day when I left the house I'd wear lip gloss! The funny thing is I really began to shine.
With each month, I got more creative and experimented with different colors like nude, opalescent, bright bubble gum pink and even an "Ever Red" Chanel lip stain. I had the best time.
Here are some of Merriam-Webster's definitions of shine: to be bright by reflection of light; to be eminent, conspicuous, or distinguished; to perform extremely well and to be conspicuously evident or clear.
Not only did my lips shine in 2014, but I also did. For example, my communications with friends, clients and my husband became easier and much more concise. Even more difficult communications that I had to make, such as changing the nature of a business relationship, went better than expected. My writing, which is important to me, has become much more central in my life. More and more people are attending my writing workshops and purchasing my first book. I've even started work on a second book.
Since it worked so well last year, I decided to forgo resolutions again. Instead, I've written a Love-It List.
Here are a few examples of what's on it:
- Say Yes to Food. For my whole adult life I've focused on diet, exercise and deprivation. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of checking menus ahead of time to make sure they have dry grilled chicken and steamed vegetables. I'm tired of missing out on those special moments of indulgence. It's not that I plan on over doing it all the time, but I'd like to enjoy myself and relax around food. The other night we went out to The Little Jewel of New Orleans in Downtown Los Angeles for an authentic Louisiana style Po-Boy sandwich. Let me tell you, I dove into that Louisiana experience of a fried shrimp po'boy and licked my fingers when I was done to boot. I didn't over indulge; I enjoyed myself until I was satisfied. I'm sure the calories in that half of a sandwich won't alter the course of my life, but the memory might. It was just that good!
- Say Yes to People. Accept Everyone for Who They are Including Myself. They say to be truly happy you have to accept all of your quirks, faults and even your so-called failures. Self-acceptance is a worthy practice. The more you appreciate your own gifts and talents, the easier it is to let go of that critical voice within. Once I stopped I judging myself I noticed how easy it was to accept everyone else for who they are.
- Say Yes to Going With the Flow. The more attached I am to a certain outcome, the more stressed out and unhappy I become. I'd rather go with the flow. In his book Super Brain, Deepak Chopra refers to "magical flow" as the ability to "recognize and take advantage of the abundant possibilities that always surround" us. We all experience those everyday coincidences that somehow put you in touch with just the right people, direct you to just the right place at just the right time and give you that next step that eventually helps you realize a long-held dream. I'd rather row my boat gently down the stream than force against the current.
Studies show "the input you give your brain causes it to form new neural pathways." If the simple act of wearing lip-gloss caused me to shine in so many areas of my life, think of the effect focusing on love might have.
I have officially declared 2015 a year of love. I'll be focusing my attention on my Love It list. Won't you join me and focus on yours?