About half of Americans state a specific New Year’s resolution. Most of these resolutions are focused, as one might imagine, or enhancing health or well being, gaining more education, or increasing one’s financial situation. And while all those resolutions are fine and good, I do wonder if focusing on resolutions that endeavor to make ourselves better represents a misunderstanding of how best to achieve a “better life” (whatever that might mean in your circumstance).
Here is what I’m getting at: Most all of the New Year’s resolutions you hear about, or might make for yourself, are focused on what you could be doing for you: Lose weight, get a better job, enhance your education, etc. But, at their core, most of these resolutions have a different, broader aspiration. The broader aspiration associated with most resolutions is pretty simple: If I achieve my goal, I’ll feel better/look better/experience life better/etc. In other words, my life will be better.
So, if you are moving into 2017 and have a desire or stated goal with the underlying aspiration to have an even better life, let me encourage you in a slightly different way. Let me suggest a re-framed resolution for your consideration. One that is not based directly on you, but provides you with benefits that are enormous and extensive. Here is the most important resolution you can make for yourself:
Give more of your time to others. Be more generous with compliments and praise. Give more of your money away. Focus on what you have with gratitude, instead of what you perceive to be lacking (in yourself and in others). Give more of your attention when you are listening. Be more helpful. Be more generous when celebrating someone else’s happiness. Just be more grateful and practice more generosity when opportunities are presented to you.
When we commit to living our lives more generously, we experience more happiness, confidence, and peacefulness. The more we give, the more we receive. It’s not opinion or theory. Wonderfully, we are hard-wired to receive emotional, social, physical, and other personal benefits when we act with generosity. When we give more, we become the very best version of ourselves. And when we are operating with an enhanced spirit of generosity, we just might find that we are making progress on our other goals as well.
My every hope for you is that 2017 will be your most generous year yet!