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New Year’s Promises to Ensure Your Happiness All Year Long

I’m not one for typical New Year’s Resolutions. These are “inner expectations,” and most are abandoned when a more tempting “outer expectation” arises — which always seems to happen in the first few weeks of January. And when we don’t succeed, we ultimately feel an overwhelming sense of defeat.

I much prefer to call my goals New Year’s “promises.”

If Covid-19 taught us anything, it was that we need to re-examine our priorities and focus on the things in life that matter most and make us the happiest.

So, let’s look at some promises to ourselves that are certain to ensure our happiness in the New Year. Just one rule of thumb: make those promises reasonably actionable and attainable to best set the stage for success.

Prioritize Self-Care

Sometimes following the adage “it’s all about me” is a good thing. To gain ultimate health and happiness, you need to make your needs paramount. It may sound selfish, but it’s too easy to get sidetracked if you don’t make your goal a priority.

I’m not just talking about losing weight, an always-popular New Year’s resolution. I’m referring to guaranteeing both our mental and physical health is a priority. Good health is critical to our quality of life. Write down your daily goals, then don’t let minor distractions interfere with carrying them through.

Be OK with Saying “No”

It’s one of the hardest things to do, but say “no” once, and it gets easier every utterance after.  Saying “no” is a challenge for most of us, since we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or have them believe we don’t genuinely love and support them.

But when we say “yes,” knowing we’re either taking on too much or shouldn’t agree to something we’re not fully in line with, it causes unnecessary stress and inner conflict.

Allow yourself permission to say “no.” And don’t make an excuse for it. Instead, consider phrasing it this way: “I’m sorry, but I have another commitment at that time,” or, “I don’t feel I can take that on right now.” Then leave it at that.

Perform One Small Daily Act of Kindness

There’s something about doing something nice for others that makes us feel so darn good. And it helps us see people and the world around us in a different light. I guarantee if you’re looking to turn any bad day into a better one, perform an act of kindness.

Pay for someone else’s order at Starbucks. Compliment someone’s child for their exemplary behavior. Let someone go in front of you at the grocery store. Give thanks and tip someone well in the service industry (they work hard).

These may seem like small deeds but they’re received and appreciated with a lot of thankfulness.  And before you know it, carrying out these acts of kindness becomes second nature, resonates with others, and puts a smile on your face.

Start Each Week with a Positive, Inspirational Quote

I started doing this during the early days of Covid isolation. What a huge difference it made on my outlook!

Every Monday morning, I sat at my computer with my coffee and started the day looking for a quote to inspire or uplift me. Then I’d print it out and post it on my desk as a constant reminder that maintaining a positive attitude is everything.

The theme might deal with faith, patience, tolerance, friendship, love, or even coping with self-doubt or grief. But I always chose a positive message.

This practice may seem minor, but it yields incredibly substantial positive results — one that is worth a rinse and repeat.

Whatever the New Year brings our way, remember we ultimately are the authors of our own life stories. Let’s make it one we’re proud to own.


Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik is a freelance journalist, associate editor, and speaker from San Diego. A retired registered nurse, she now travels the world and writes about her adventures. Her stories have appeared in TravelPulse, Edible San Diego Magazine, Europe Up Close, International Living and more.

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