Three Steps to a Happier New Year

A restaurant owner saw his business dwindle after state guidelines shut down indoor dining. The takeout orders weren’t enough to cover expenses, and he was forced to close. He loved his work, so the loss was devastating.

“I’ve lost my happiness,” he confessed to a friend.

One of his loyal customers, a man who owned a small mortgage brokerage, was booming in business. Due to the economy, interest rates dropped to historic lows, and he was bombarded with people asking to refinance. In order to keep up with demand, he worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. He missed family events and gained weight because he didn’t have time to exercise or prepare healthy meals. At the end of the year, he was exhausted and burned out.

“I’ve lost my happiness,” he confessed to a friend. The end of this story is below, but first…

Maybe you, too, lost some happiness this year — all due to circumstances beyond your control. Or maybe it’s not you, but someone you know.

Maybe finances and credit are down. Maybe lack of activity is down. Maybe social interaction and love is down. Who among us doesn’t know someone in this situation?

Are there any of us who wouldn’t like to be better, happier in this next year? It’s time to kick 2020 to the curb and take control of what we can to make 2021 better!

How can you make 2021 a happier year?

Practice #1: Focus on what you can control.

Do you need to change some habits to be healthier? To improve your finances? To connect with people more? Regardless of where you’re at now, you do have choices. Break out of a rut and put yourself on a path for improvement. You can take one step! Then one more step. A series of mini steps can lead you to great success! (I like the book, Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise here.)

Practice #2: Write it down.

A goal that is not written down isn’t a goal: it’s a wish. I learned that in sales training a long time ago. You must write it down if you want it to be a goal that turns into reality. Some people like to create a vision board, which is a collage of pictures and large words showcasing their goals for the year. They post it in a prominent place where they’ll see it and be inspired every day.

Part of writing it down is breaking it down. If your goal is to get a better job, then break that down into mini steps, such as (1) update your resume, (2) tell all associates you’re looking for work in case they know of an opening, (3) list your search spots, (4) name how many emails and phone calls you will place per day, etc.

Practice #3: Ask for help

We are not meant to live life alone. Reach out to family and friends for help in making the changes you desire. Who can help keep you accountable? Is there an online Meetup group you can join? (Go to meetup.com and search your zip code and topic.)

First and foremost, ask God for help. Our Creator is more powerful than circumstances. He is a miracle-working God. He doesn’t share with us all the reasons for what happens on Earth, but He does hear when we call out to Him. He is Counselor, Way-Maker, and Mighty God.

The End of the Story: the restaurant owner and the mortgage broker

In our story above, the restaurant owner got to talking with his acquaintance, the mortgage broker. After some conversation, it came to light that the restauranteur most enjoyed interaction with the customers and that he had excellent organization skills. His happiness wasn’t really about the food, but about the people. “I could use someone with your skills,” said the broker. And just like that, the restaurant owner was set on a new career path while the broker freed up his time to enjoy life more.

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