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Welcome the New Year with a plan for Joy and Fulfillment!

It’s time to say good-bye to 2015! Often the start of a new year prompts reflection, and the setting of resolutions – usually things we want to change about ourselves or our habits to be “better”. While this can be a positive thing, and setting realistic goals for ourselves can be a powerful motivator, I’ve started shifting things slightly for myself in the last few years by making a “Plan for Joy and Fulfillment” each year. I got this idea from Brene Brown in her book, “The Gifts of Imperfection” where she writes about doing this for herself and with her family. I don’t know about you, but I find that being unhappy or dissatisfied is pretty easy for me – no planning needed! However, being joyful and having a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment takes practice! As I get older, I find that being happy and having a positive impact on other people is the most important thing to me. So today, I’m going to start my plan for 2016 by asking myself for each goal or resolution I set, “Will working towards this goal or making this plan create joy in my life”?

As part of this process, I think it’s also important to look at the previous year’s plan for joy and fulfillment and reflect on whether or not it did actually create more joy in my life. There are a few things from 2015 that have very clearly added joy to my life! For example, I have always wanted to learn how to play the piano and so I started taking piano lessons this past year. It turns out, that I really love it and look forward to practicing – even “boring” stuff like my scales! Other goals I set for myself clearly did not bring joy or the jury is still out on whether or not I should continue to give my time to something I thought would be fun or bring me a sense of fulfillment. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of these things and admit they didn’t work out or that I didn’t enjoy them – especially if I’ve invested a lot of time or energy in them! However, I find that this is one of the biggest blocks to joy in my life – continuing to give energy or time to things that I feel I “should” do, and so being honest with myself and giving myself permission to let go is one of the best things for me to create a more fulfilling life!

So, in 2016 the Plan for Joy and Fulfillment is both a process of embracing and letting go, and moving closer and closer to balancing out my natural inclination towards dissatisfaction, and practicing a way of being where satisfaction and happiness become easier and easier!

Do you have a plan for joy and fulfillment in the new year? What’s your process for welcoming in 2016?

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year everyone!

To check out Brene Brown’s book (an oldie but goodie) on the Gifts of Imperfection, click here:

Part of my plan for Joy and Fulfillment in 2016 is seeing my favorite Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron, speak in person! If you are in Chicago in late April, check out this event planned at the University of Chicago!

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