I like to set goals and stretch myself; to learn new things by taking online classes, reading and always trying to know myself and grow. It’s an inspiring thing for me, and with the New Year just starting, I’m taking action again about these five things that are crucial to my life all year long.
1. Minding my own business
These words by American author and teacher Byron Katie are paramount in the way I lead my life: “There are only three kinds of business in the world: mine, yours and God’s. Whose business are you in?”
It’s a great question. Too often, I’m in other people’s business because I think I can change them. Even while I want to be helpful to others, my ego gets in the way because I believe my way is the right way and people should just take my advice. It’s a bad belief that totally interferes with my integrity because I’m not minding my own business.
As soon as I see this, I get right back on track and return home to my business where I belong.
2. Live with integrity
By integrity I’m following sociologist, author and life coach Martha Beck’s definition: “Expressing and doing what’s true for you in all situations.”
Imagine being one way. Being the same person in every situation of your life; in every thought and action. That’s what I work on daily, from relationships to business. It’s a fun and incredibly challenging process, but I like it because having integrity matters to me!
Being one way without duplicity; having one story and being one person. This is the goal I aim for and I’m constantly learning about what interrupts my integrity; the blocks and false beliefs that hold me back and also what rings true and makes me feel free, strong and peaceful. I’m not perfect, but the more I practice: “expressing and doing what’s true for me…” the happier I am.
When I go after the truth, I’m at home with myself and the world around me. Knowing the truth always sets me free. Go ahead. Ask yourself in any circumstance: Am I in or out of integrity?
3. Get rid of negativity
I keep away from negativity in myself and others. I limit negative people in my life. You know, the people who consciously work to trip you up and see you fail; complainers, psychopaths, mean-spirited people who have nothing good to say about anyone or anything.
When you get rid of negativity it removes misery and pain from your life and always promotes the opposite — joy and peace. I choose to surround myself with positive, creative people who avoid drama. People who make my life better just by being close to them.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
–Musician and activist Willie Nelson
4. Gratitude is essential
The Oxford Dictionary defines gratitude this way: “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
That definition always meets something deep and true in me. I like being grateful; to appreciate things and just to say “thank you” for all I have and all that surrounds me daily. It’s some of the greatest power and kindness I know in the world.
I love these simple and passionate words that author Melody Beattie uses to describe gratitude and the beautiful changes it can make: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”
5. Kindness is not a luxury
Kindness is important to me and something I want to have more of — kindness to others and also to myself. Kindness is a choice and also something that happens naturally. To be run by kindness is one of our deepest emotions and desires.
Some of my favorite words on kindness come from author and entrepreneur Seth Godin:
“Does every need have to be filled, every emotion in place before we’re capable of being kind?
Do we have to have enough money, enough confidence about the future and enough of everything else we crave before we can find the space to offer someone else a hand?
It turns out that the opposite is true. That kindness is a foundation for the rest. That investing time and resources in extending ourselves shifts the rest of our needs in precisely the right direction, not only putting us closer to satisfying those other needs, but enjoying the journey as well.
Kindness rewards the giver as well.”
Makes perfect sense, right?
So, as a new year begins, keep going after the truth about yourself and the world. Keep doing all the things that work best for you. Do what makes you happy. Review and renew and improve your values so you can live a glorious life. The one you were born with.