Every year I make New Year’s resolutions—and usually they’re the same ones as the year before: eat fewer sweets, stop snapping at the kids, quit nibbling my cuticles.
But last year was different. Instead of vowing to quit my bad habits, I approached my resolutions in a positive way. A three-word mantra helped me ease the tension with my teenagers, feel closer to my husband, and exercise more consistently. I felt better—and better about myself—than I had in a long time.
And it’s all because of these three little words: just say yes.
Why not give this philosophy a try this new year? Instead of starting January 1 with a road trip to the state of self-denial, just say yes to a whole new approach to life.
Say Yes to God
Take a look at the twists and turns of your life this past year. Did you lose a job or a once-treasured friendship? Have you been bombarded with colds or other health problems?
You may have already realized you need to make some changes—but how do you know which ones to make? It’s hard to hear what God is trying to tell you if you don’t have a strong relationship with Him; and a strong relationship requires regular communication.
So say yes to daily time in prayer. Say yes to gathering with a faith community each week. And when you’re facing a fork in the road, don’t just phone a friend for input—get in touch with God. Pray about your decision, and just say yes to God’s suggestion.
Say Yes to Loved Ones
It’s a juggling act trying to balance the needs of all the people we care about. Married people sometimes struggle to maintain friendships they enjoyed before; young adults may allow family bonds to stretch thin as they start exploring the world. Letting relationships fade can make us feel guilty. It also contracts our lives, making them darker and less joyful.
So just say yes to patching things up with people you’ve hurt—and to forgiving those who have hurt you. Say yes to enjoying time with a friend. Say yes when your kids ask to play a board game or watch a movie with you. Say yes when your spouse suggests going for a walk or a drive.
Say Yes to Yourself
I used to ask myself, “How can I find time to do the things I want to do, when there are so many things I have to do?” But after a while I realized: today is my day. God gave it to me to use and enjoy. I can’t let my work responsibilities slide, but neither should I make each day a 24-hour marathon to complete my to-do list. So instead of stumbling into my home office at 6:00 a.m. each weekday, I take the dog for a brisk walk first. Instead of spending the whole weekend catching up on housework, I take a break to soak my feet and leaf through a magazine. Instead of telling the kids “Maybe later,” I say, “Sure.” And my work productivity hasn’t suffered a bit.
Every day we’re given is filled with countless choices. This year, instead of boxing yourself in with no after no, widen your horizons with a few more yeses. It’s a one-step program that couldn’t be more enjoyable to implement.