Don’t go into a new year with an old mind is a saying from one of my favorite T.D. Jakes sermons. We are usually our own worst enemies because of the way we think and prevent ourselves from living our best lives. We stand in our own way more often than any other person or circumstance can.
While this may make sense to most of us, we all know people who place blame on everyone else as if they had no control over their lives at all.
In order to change this, we have to rewire our minds. We have to change the way we think. We have to change the things we look at and let into our minds. We have to make a conscious decision to live a better life.
Listening to this sermon for the 100th time and thinking about some of the things that are holding people back , I wanted to share six things I think can help us live more authentic and happier lives .
- Remove distractions from your life. A friend of mine wrote on Facebook recently, “Fight the temptations, remove the distractions and focus on the goal at hand!” It’s so easy to be entertained by distractions that serve us no good other than to steal our precious time and keep us from focusing on what’s most important. Many of us claim to not have the time to do the things we know we need to do because we are wasting time on distractions that in the long run are meaningless.
- Fill you time with meaningful experiences. Talking about distractions, too many people get caught up in the latest gossip, or know more about what’s happening on some reality television show than they know about their own family and friends. They are so into social media and reality television that their own lives are passing them by. We have to escape from this false reality made up by marketing and media companies and remember that what is real is our own lives and our own family and friends.
- Take control of your feelings and actions. Life happens. Sometimes it’s not fair, but ultimately, we are responsible for the way we react to any situation. If we overreact, blow up or let someone else ruin our day, it’s our fault. When we learn to stay calm and react with a clear mind instead of having an emotional reaction, we’ll realize that we can control much more of our life and not just find ourselves hanging on for the ride, being led by our emotions or someone else. Learn to control your emotional responses.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Most of us live and die in our comfort zones. We’re afraid to take risk that may pay off with great rewards. We become comfortable with what we have, even if we don’t like what we have. We let fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of pain and even fear of success, paralyze us from living the best life we can live. Success is not promised. We’re going to fail sometimes. We’re going to make mistakes. That’s how we grow. Don’t trade comfort for a lifetime of unhappiness. Regularly practice pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Live your life. Living in an action word. Stop waiting for permission to live your life. I have a friend who felt stuck in a situation and he said after awhile he felt like he was waiting for someone to tell him that it was okay to move on. We don’t need anyone to give us permission. It’s our life! If we want to do something and we’ve thought about it and feel like it’s the right decision, then we should act on it and not wait for someone else to believe in us or say that it’s okay. Too many dreams are killed because people are waiting around for someone else to tell them it’s okay to act on it.
- Look at things like they’re a dessert. One of the things that make us suffer in life are our attachments. Our attachments to things, ideas and even people. We can be so attached that when those things leave us or we must let them go, our entire lives are turned upside down. One way to combat this is to not get so attached. Like going out to dinner, if at the end we have dessert, that is great… we’ll enjoy it and appreciate it, but if the next time we go out to dinner we’re not offered dessert, we don’t get upset about it, we just go, “oh, I guess there’s no dessert tonight” and we move on. We can prefer to have certain things and people in our lives. We can prefer for certain things to happen in our lives, but it’s when we decide that they must happen, is when we set ourselves up for suffering when things don’t go our way. When relationships fail, jobs fail or a new idea makes us have to rethink everything we thought was true about something, being flexible in our thinking will help us to adapt and learn as life changes as it does constantly.
The beginning of a new year gives us opportunities to start over, to let things go and to reinvent ourselves. The greatest thing is, we don’t have to wait for a new year to do these things. We can do this every week, everyday, even every minute if it serves us! If today doesn’t go your way, don’t let it ruin your week. Learn from the mistakes of today and go out and have a better tomorrow!
Please share any advice you have, anything you’re leaving behind in the new year or anything that has helped you start living more mindfully and happy.