Posts Tagged ‘New Year’

What I Know For Sure!

January 3, 2016

We recently celebrated New Year’s Eve, and people all over the world partied with funny hats, noise-makers and champagne. There was even a big celebration in Times Square and I choose to believe that it was all in honor of my birthday. I think I truly believed that for the first 15 years of my life!

Yes, I had another birth anniversary and I am now older than I have ever been before! I really don’t know how to be this old because in my head, I am about 20….which is difficult to understand, because I have a grandson that age! Go figure!

One of the blessings of getting older is clarifying and declaring things that you know for sure! Experience teaches us what is right for us, and some truths become irrefutable! And so because I was born when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I now share with you some truths which have stood the test of time for me and have proven to be worthy of passing on to others.

Truth #1: It is important to like yourself because you can’t expect others to like you, if you don’t! More importantly…everywhere you go, there you will be! You will never get away from yourself, so you may as well learn to like you!

Truth #2: Do not become addicted to the approval of others! You will never please everyone, and there will be people who don’t like you no matter what you do. Hold fast to your values and always be authentic and true to yourself.

Truth #3: Let your hope be greater than your fear. Don’t spend any time walking through fear storms and avoid creating a negative “atmosFEAR.” Choose to think of hope as Holding On to Positive Expectations.

Truth #4: Give away more than you take in; both in material things and in helping others. After a while, you will probably realize that you have accumulated a lot of “stuff” that you thought was important but you really don’t need. And you will also more than likely begin to understand that the best way to move away from your own troubles is to help someone else. Begin to unclutter your life and your brain.

Truth #5: Life is full of seasons; some last longer than others. Learn to appreciate when times are good and learn not to despair when things aren’t going so well. Situations can change in the blink of an eye and nothing is forever.

Truth #6: Be kind. In today’s world, kindness can be difficult to find. So many people are frightened, and that makes them angry. Remember that being unkind or criticizing someone’s efforts doesn’t elevate you and encouraging someone else certainly doesn’t diminish your accomplishments! Don’t hold grudges because carrying around anger just makes your arms tired!

Truth #7: Laugh a lot! Laughter doesn’t make everything better for you, but it sure makes you better for everything!

I wish you blessings and joy for a healthy and happy New Year!

Linda Henley-Smith is a speaker, author and coach who believes that joy is possible! Visit her website at www.lindahenley-smith.com

Here’s to Better Success!

January 9, 2015

Happy New Year! Here we are, embarking on a new journey around the sun, which will take about 365 days to complete. When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, people usually welcome the year with toasts and kisses, and in my case; chocolate. In my world, chocolate is always appropriate.

This New Year, I noticed how many people expressed their hope that this year would be better and more successful than the last one. That started me thinking about what “better” really is and how most of us would define “success.” The word better is often defined as “improving on or surpassing” and success usually indicates that one has reached a goal. So how do we have a better, more successful year?

I guess it all begins with one’s assessment of what has happened. If there have been losses, trials, tribulations and struggles in the past, it would seem to be an obvious conclusion that a year without hard times would be better. But looking back on troublesome days, consider the fact that you survived! Anyone who makes it through a dark tunnel usually emerges with a new wisdom and a renewed strength! I would consider that a success!

We do ourselves a disservice when we categorize challenges or imperfections as failures. We all live in a flawed world and there will always be disappointments and losses. When we speak of success, I believe that we often place too much emphasis on the concept of winning. In truth, the measure of our success is in direct proportion to the obstacles we are willing to overcome.

If we want to have a “better” year, we are going to have to go about it with an attitude adjustment. Better can mean that we navigate life’s curves with the knowledge that we have the ability to keep going and not fall apart when things don’t go as planned. Better can mean that we accept the fact that life can sometimes disappoint and even hurt, but we only have one piece of the puzzle. We can’t always see the whole picture, which could very well be more wonderful and beautiful than we can imagine.

I wish us all a new year full of wonderful experiences, abundant laughter, healthy attitudes and of course; lots of chocolate!

Resolutions, Revolutions and Revelations

January 3, 2014

Well, here it is again….another new year! Another 525,600 minutes to spend making wonderful memories, trying new things, experiencing a variety of emotions, building and maintaining relationships and eating chocolate. Even though it is just a date on the calendar, January 1 represents a clean slate.

People tend to want to make fresh starts in the New Year, so we make resolutions. I like to think of it as cleaning out a junk drawer and keeping only the things that I need and will serve me well. My problem is that after I have done that, it looks good for about a month and then it once again appears as if packrats were having a party in there. That is because I haven’t really made a commitment to keeping things neat and orderly. So it is with our resolutions….we can resolve until the cows come home, but without action, resolutions don’t mean much. They just end up like my junk drawer.

If we want to improve an aspect of life, we must break the negative pattern that is keeping us out of balance. Thoughts and behavior patterns can become deeply ingrained in us and sometimes, that isn’t a good thing. If you want to change your life, you need to get out of your self-constructed box and then stand up on the box to get a view of all of life’s possibilities. Think of it as a personal revolution…you are revolting against any limiting beliefs and actions that are holding you back.

In this New Year, you will probably experience a revelation or two. It may involve making a decision to try something for the first time, or perhaps adopting a new attitude of altitude. It is possible that you may decide to choose joy over bitterness and laughter over whining. Maybe this will be the year that you put yourself somewhere on your “To Do” list and move away from things that cause you unnecessary stress. The revelation will come when you finally realize that you are sick and tired of trying to fix a problem or change a situation by doing the same things and getting the same results.

I think I will start a new tradition for myself. I am going to adopt the idea of a Joy Jar. I know people who have done this, and I think it is a great way to reprogram my brain and focus on the possibilities. Every day, you write something positive that you have experienced or a joy you have felt and put it into a big jar. After a while, you should have quite a collection. You can either wait until December 31, or dip into that Joy Jar when you need a jump-start. Reading and remembering the good things that have happened to you may help to lose the “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” and have the best year ever!

The Blank Fortune Cookie

January 4, 2013

Fortune cookies are fun. Most of us look forward to cracking them open and reading what the future holds for us.  I have had a few that I could stretch to be appropriate for what was going on in my life and some that were pretty doggone funny…for instance, I once got one which read, “The answer you seek is in another cookie.” Hmmm…the story of my life! Another favorite:  “I can’t tell your fortune…I’m just a dessert!” And the ever popular, “Thanks for letting me out of this cookie!” I still haven’t figured out the meaning of this one: “The rubber bands are all headed in the same direction.”

The year 2012 was not particularly great for me.  The roller coaster ride seemed to have more dips than highs; which is just the way that life goes sometimes. There were many blessings, but also many losses and unexpected twists and turns. So, when a friend and I went for Chinese food a few days ago, I laughingly suggested that the fortune in my cookie might offer me an idea of what 2013 has in store.

Well, the paper in my cookie was blank.  On both sides.  There were no suggestions for me, which could either be because someone was slacking off in the fortune cookie factory or because I have no future. However, I choose to entertain the other possibility….I can write my own fortune!

Although I had a good laugh about my “un-fortune,” it started me thinking about how easily I can fall into the trap of letting unpleasant situations and setbacks dictate how I define myself and prevent me from moving forward.  I reminded myself that I don’t have to wait for others to write the script for my life, and difficult times don’t have to dictate my future or my attitude.  The past doesn’t have to repeat itself in the future and every minute is a new beginning.  I can keep the things in my life that are serving me well, and move away from those things that are not.

Probably one of the best things that can happen to us is that we occasionally get a blank fortune because then we have a clean slate on which we can design and create.  Of course, nobody really puts any credibility into those fortunes; but when you get an empty one, it makes you think of the possibilities.

As you enter 2013, I hope you will march into it triumphantly, not with a spirit of timidity.  I also wish for you, an empty fortune cookie; and with that…the assurance of your ability to know what is best for you and how to find balance in your life.  After all, you certainly don’t want to be in the path of all those rubber bands heading in the same direction!  Just remember that if you don’t do anything to determine your own future, you will have to accept whatever future you get…and that is how the fortune cookie crumbles!

A New Year and New Possibilities!

January 3, 2012

 The gift giving is done. The hectic days of frantically shopping for just the right gift and last minute preparations for Holiday dinners are over. What seemed so important a few days ago…the things that caused some people to be so stressed that even their teeth were tense, have come and gone. At my house, all of the hustle and bustle; the planning, the shopping, the wrapping and the opening of presents culminates in 10 1/2 minutes of chaotic package ripping, wrapping paper flinging and food gobbling. Then I find myself sitting in a house that looks like Christmas exploded, with tinsel behind my ears and a sink full of turkey and pie encrusted dishes. The house is in such disarray that it would be easier to just move, rather than to clean it.

The gifts that were exchanged were fun. We always try to give what we think our friends and loved ones would want, even if it is a fragrance with a sexy sounding name in a foreign language, which actually translates into “Scent of Healthy Hedgehogs” or an exercise video which focuses on tightening loose armpits. But there are always the unexpected and entertaining offerings that surprise and amuse, like watching 87 year old Aunt Flossie opening up a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret and wondering if that store carries bras in a size 38 long.

Next, we commenced with the New Year’s festivities. Since New Year’s Eve is my birthday (which is, of course, why everyone in the world celebrates), my grandchildren traditionally take me out to play Laser Tag and eat pizza. So this time of year is really special to me, and full of non-stop celebration. But, then comes the New Year and the partying is done. No more gifts and no more decorations. Time for real life…ouch.

I’m trying to be mature about it because I’m allegedly a grown up. But I must admit that I feel a little let down when I have to put my Holiday stuff into storage and the world is finished commemorating the day of my birth by dropping a ball in Times Square. (Yes…I know that’s not really why they do it, but don’t take my fantasy away from me.)

So, as we head into the next 365 days, I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with them. It’s really metaphorical to think of a New Year as a new beginning, because really; every day can be a new beginning, but for some reason, it seems as if we are given special permission to wipe the slate clean and begin anew when we take down the old calendar and hang up a fresh new one. Every January 1, I feel like whatever happened in the past year is history, and I get “do-overs.” It’s like when I used to clean out my desk at the end of the school year; gathering up unfinished homework papers, broken pencils and chewed up erasers; throwing them into the trash can and knowing that they didn’t matter anymore and I’d have a new start next school year. Even if my life was a natural disaster, there would be a new beginning and a new opportunity to do things differently and maybe even better. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who chewed on erasers.)

We know that every moment is a choice and no matter what goes on in the world, we have the ability to decide how we’re going to deal with each situation. When we listen to the Terror Trolls and the Negative Nellies, who constantly focus on the woes of the world, we are taking time and energy away from the positive possibilities and opportunities that can provide us with joy, success and peace. Remember that this group of letters can be read in two ways, which one will you choose?

OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE                         

How Do You Measure a Year?

December 28, 2011

There is a song in the Broadway musical, Rent, which begins with the line, “525,600 minutes….525,600 moments so dear. 525,600 minutes, how do you measure…measure a year?”  On this, the 28th day of the last month in 2011;  as you look back on the minutes of your life this past year, how do you feel about how you spent them? By what standards do you measure your successes or disappointments? Do you measure them by the money you made? By the cups of coffee that you drank to get through the mornings? By the weight you gained or lost? The arguments? The struggles you endured? The mountains you climbed? The challenges? The strife? What things stand out most prominently in your memory? Are you grateful for this past year or just grateful that it’s over?

We can’t measure our lives in inches or miles, but we can measure them in the sweet victories we won; large or small. Rather than to look back and dwell on the negative “stuff” that might have happened, we can conjure up memories of the good things that we experienced…the sunsets, the rainbows, the laughter, the gatherings of friends, the times that someone surprised us with a random act of kindness, our relationships, the wind in the trees, the gentle touch of a loved one, the sweetness of a baby’s smile, the lessons we learned and the roller coaster ride that is sometimes our life!  Every disappointment probably had a softer and kinder side….if we reflect on the whole picture. Nothing is ALL bad…except possibly looking at yourself in a three way mirror, while wearing a swim suit…but, I digress.

As I am writing this, we have approximately 5220 minutes left in the year 2011. Wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment to focus on counting every one of those minutes as dear and precious opportunities to measure our lives in units of joy?  Here’s to making every minute count!