By now you’ve probably been wished “Happy New Year” by several dozen people, with many more to follow in the weeks to come.
All the wishing in the world won’t help us deal with the challenges that we carry over from 2012, or the new ones that are sure to come up in 2013.
Wishing also won’t help anyone lose weight, become more organized, or accomplish other goals and aspirations.
Religious people take the concept of wishing to a higher level, using prayer to help in the process of making changes for themselves and others, sometimes including asking for courage and strength to do difficult things that are hard to face without help. Praying can’t hurt, and for many it’s a help.
The famous “Serenity Prayer” comes to my mind quite often, even though I’m not a graduate of any 12-step program. To paraphrase: Help me change what I can’t accept, and accept what I can’t change, and give me the wisdom to know the difference.
Taxes and the economy fall into the category of things we can’t change – at least we didn’t when we had the chance last fall. So, it’s best to accept those things — for now, anyway.
The things we can change and can’t accept mostly include someone very near and dear to us: ourselves. Starting new good habits and losing old bad ones doesn’t involve the government, your boss, or a family member. Only you can take the actions needed to be more productive, healthy, dependable, and financially responsible.
In my experience there are some people who blame themselves for everything bad that happens, and other people who blame others when things aren’t going well. Truthfully, most of us fall somewhere in the middle. On balance, though, I think more and more people these days look outside themselves for the causes of and the solutions to their troubles.
Unfortunately, problem solving costs money, and our government doesn’t have any. Actually, we passed the “not having any” stage $16 trillion ago.
So, whether your strategy is wishing or praying or complaining or hoping, it’s likely that the best chance of having a happy 2013 is for you to take personal responsibility for it.
The good news is that when our efforts to improve our lives are successful, we get to take the credit.
Speaking for myself, 2012 was pretty good, but to say I have plenty of room for improvement in 2013 would be the understatement of the year – even though this year is still pretty young.
So, let me wish you a Happy New Year, again. And good luck to you if you’re hoping to make some changes, or deciding to accept things the way they are. Either takes strength and serenity.