Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Is there anything more daunting each year to folks like us that can’t believe the old year is over than to be bombarded on social media and conversations with friends and family about what our resolution, word, or goal is for the new year? I mean, it’s the new year? Where did the old one go? In a blink of an eye this year will be over too, just in time for me to figure out what my goal was for this year, maybe.

Life passes us by so quickly. For those of us holding onto the ride for dear life, and those for whom life can’t pass by fast enough, it’s easy to get down thinking about the expectations of the new year. We need to do or be something amazing. We need to be famous. We need to be skinnier, healthier, gluten-free, organic-only, eat shakes for every meal (what happened to real food?), live “green,” have hot dates, find the perfect mate (hint: there isn’t one), work out every day, wear copper infused under rues, get out of debt, pay for everything with cash, join a new networking group, become a mentor, gain a mentor, volunteer for charity, give to charity, never be late for school car pool, de-clutter our home, upgrade to the latest technology (Hey Alexa) to remind us of everything we should be doing, take fabulous vacations and post pics all over Facebook, get a big promotion, ask for a bigger raise, earn every corporate bonus, read the best books, join a new social club, etc. Whew! No wonder that the third Monday in January has been designated by PR folks (NOT by mental health folks) as the let-down driven, most depressing day of the whole year.

So, what should we do? How about something different. Start by shutting out all of the worldly clutter on social media. Shut it out. Close it down. Set the phone down (but not if you are reading this on your phone). Go find a quiet place. Leave your cell phone in the car. Separation anxiety? Turn the ringer OFF, not down. Now that you are done listening to other people’s expectations, think about what’s really important in life. What do you have to be thankful for? What lessons have you learned about life in the past year or so? What really makes for a meaningful life? Separate the window dressing from your heart. Then ask yourself, does all of that other stuff really matter?

See, when you - your person - are content in life, your current surroundings, real joy and happiness starts there. Not content? Then you will never be happy. Done. Stop trying - it doesn’t matter - you will only fail.

Not happy about that last statement? Change it! No matter what you have or don’t have, if you are not content with exactly where you are RIGHT NOW, you never will be. Doesn’t matter what you accumulate, what level of fabulous your friends rate you at, what others may think of you. Contentedness has nothing to do with the outside world, but rather the level of gratitude in your heart and having an eternal hope and purpose.

Once you have figured this out, you can then move on to serving others. WHAT? I must have made a typo. Isn’t the next step figuring out what YOU want in life- what things or people can satisfy MY needs and WHAT or WHO can make ME happy?

NO! What do you think relationships are about? A happy marriage? Being a good boss or effective leader? Is it about taking what you can from others, or serving others where true contentedness and happiness reside? When you have a heart to serve others, people are drawn to you. You will never feel better in life than when you live a life of serving. Doing for others what they cannot or would find difficult to do for themselves in that moment is service.

So it’s the new year. Once you have figured out how to be content, now you can think about how you can best or better serve others. How to go about this? Victoriously! Go all out, and be all in! You can, now that you no longer are thinking about yourself and how others will think of you. Expect nothing in return. Follow these simple instructions and pretty soon you will be inspiring others in more ways than you can imagine, without expressly trying.

Along the way, if you are truly content with yourself, those other changes, the healthy, good-for-you ones listed in the beginning of this letter, will naturally happen. I can serve others better if I get in better shape. I will have more energy to serve others if I eat healthier. I will serve others better if I end my technology addiction. I can be of more use to others if I become a good steward of my money. All of a sudden, the motivation is built in, and is far more meaningful, when it’s no longer about you.

When you find yourself
In some far off place
And it causes you to rethink some things
You start to sense that slowly
You’re becoming someone else
And then you find yourself.

When you make new friends in a brand new townwhen you find yourself
And you start to think about settlin’ down
The things that would have been lost on you
Are now clear as a bell
And you find yourself
Yeah, that’s when you find yourself.

Where you do through life
So sure of where you’re headin’
And you wind up lost and it’s
The best thing that could have happened
‘Cause sometimes when you lose your way it’s really just as well
Because you find yourself
Yeah that’s when you find yourself.

When you meet the one
That you’ve been waitin’ for
And she’s everything that you want and more
You look at her and you finally start to live for someone else
And then you find yourself
That’s when you find yourself

When we go through life
So sure of where we’re headin’
And we wind up lost and it’s
The best thing that could have happened
‘Cause sometimes when you lose your way it’s really just as well
Because you find yourself
Yeah that’s when you find yourself.

-Brad Paisley

Go out and conquer. There’s nothing to lose when you no longer worry about what anyone else thinks. There is so much energy to put to good use when you already know you have won- with contentedness at the core of all that you do, arising from a heart at peace with God. Live a victorious life serving others, and just see where 2017 will take you!

Confidently yours,
Dr. Jill Murphy
Owner/Physical Therapist
MotionWorks Physical Therapy

Want to find out more? Check out this great link for more information and step-by-step directions of how to live a victorious life.