Happy New Year! If you read my series on making it the best year ever, you know I’m pretty excited and I have a lot of big goals.

Right now, the year is shiny and new. But what’s going to happen to us when it’s not so factory-fresh? When it’s, say, early March, and the weather’s bleak and blah, and we’ve already had a few disappointments (because of course we will)?

We’re not going to let it drag us down. We’re not going to get upset and say, “Oh, well, this isn’t my year, either!”

Because, let’s face it: if we aren’t cheerful and resilient, it’s never,ย ever going to be our year.

We can’t control what life will throw at us, but every day, we can control the kind of person we are.

 

Once a friend told me that every time someone shared an opinion or belief that was harmless, but “out there” or goofy, he recognized that this was his chance to not be a jerk.

(Except he didn’t use the word “jerk,” but you get the idea. And it occurs to me as I type this that I am one of his friends who shares goofy and “out there” beliefs and opinions with him. Moving on!)

It made me think about how every day brings us chances to not be a jerk. To not be cranky to our loved ones, to not complain about trivial matters, to not get mad because someone cut us off in traffic, and so on.

In fact, every day brings us a new chance to be that person we are in our heads when we make our most hopeful plans for the future.

It might be that person who sits down and does the work they planned on doing, instead of procrastinating and getting distracted.

It might be that person who orders the healthiest thing on the menu at lunch when everybody else is ordering burgers and fries.

(There’s a big difference between thinking, “Ugh, I guess I don’t get to have what I really want,” and “Okay, now’s my chance to be the new me!” You know?)

Maybe it’s that person who shrugs and laughs in the face of unexpected difficulties, because the person who can do that is truly living at least a semi-charmed life.

 

 

Some of us can think of characters from books, TV shows, and movies that we admire and relate to as a vision of our best selves. (I’ve written before about the much-maligned manic pixie dream girl archetypeย and how it actually reflects some of my ideals.) Or we might know of real-life people, famous or in our everyday lives, who also have qualities we’d like to develop more.

Every day is a chance to be the likable, fun, admirable protagonist of the movie that is our life. And hey, it would be a boring movie if there weren’t some obstacles. Challenges are when the quality of our character really shines through.

Our behaviors — the way we think, the way we speak to others, the way we use our time — can be difficult to change, but they can be changed. And the good news is, once we’ve changed them, we’ll still be creatures of habit…but we’ll have good habits.

We don’t even have to wait till the next day to start over and be That Person. We can hit the reset button at 10 a.m., after lunch, or even at sundown…literally at any moment of the day.

I hope we all spend more minutes, hours, days, and weeks being our ideal versions of ourselves (and I do mean ours — not just everyone else’s!) Because I know we’ll love it.