HR Blog

Finding Your Joy in Small Ways

By Dee Yingst

Resolve to find joy instead of focusing on what’s “wrong” with you

It’s time for your annual New Year’s reminder: You’re Not Broken.

Last year I wrote about acceptance; this year I’d like to talk about finding joy.

It’s New Year’s resolution time…the time we make a list of all our faults and how we’re going to fix them [insert sarcasm here].  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for self-improvement and self-reflection.  It just seems like so many of these lists don’t focus on things that bring us joy; they are instead a litany of things we think we need to fix….things that are somehow ‘wrong’ with us.

What if, instead of focusing on what’s “wrong” with us, we focus on what brings us joy and resolve to do more of that? It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic - just a little something that reminds us of the joy of simply being alive.

Stuff like this:  

    • No matter how crappy of a day you’re having, find one tiny bright spot. Maybe you were caught in the rain without an umbrella but hey – your mascara’s waterproof and your underwear stayed dry, so there’s that.
    • At least once per week, turn off the radio during your commute, open a window (weather permitting, of course), and just listen to the world around you. This is especially wonderful really early in the morning. I like to listen to the sounds of the city awakening. It really is something.
    • Every now and then at work, stop and chat with someone you don’t normally chat with. Maybe you don’t get to a particular floor in your building very often; when you do stop and say hello.  You never know what you might learn.
    • Compliment a stranger. No, I don’t mean in a creepy way….but there’s nothing wrong with telling someone that they’re wearing a particularly great shirt, or that their children are adorable, or their dog is so nice (or maybe their dog is adorable, and the children are nice, whatever works).
    • Tell someone thank you and really mean it. Not just a throwaway ‘thanks’ that’s become somewhat rote in today’s world. A real ‘thank you so much, I really appreciate it’ kind of thanks.
    • Ask someone “how are you?” and then take the time to listen to the answer. If someone asks you, instead of just saying “fine” how about something that will bring a smile. There’s a better-than-average chance if you ask me how I’m doing, I will answer with something like “I am absolutely fabulous! How are you?”
    • Take a few minutes each day to just “be”. Put your phone down, turn off the TV/radio, and close your laptop or tablet, just for a few minutes. I like to enjoy my morning coffee and watch the dogs play for a few minutes. It’s amazing how much recharging can happen in just those a few minutes.

Some days you may have to look harder than others for your joy, and that’s ok. As long you don’t give up the search.

May the coming year bring you more joy in small and unexpected ways!