Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

explosion-firework-new-year-s-eve-december-31 AWhenever I talk to people who are in their late twenties, they always say that turning 30 will mean that they are “old.”  They act as if being older than 29 is a tragedy.  My response is always the same: You couldn’t pay me enough money to go back to my 20s.  With every decade, my life gets better.  In fact, I am happier now (in my 40s) than I ever have been.

If you play your cards right, life gets better with each passing year.  Now my life hasn’t been perfect.  During the past two decades, I’ve gone through a divorce.  I’ve faced having an aging parent.  And I’ve dealt with the challenges of being a single parent.

All that being said, my life truly has improved with each passing year.  And I’ve found that if you approach life in the right way, it will improve, no matter what obstacles you face.  Below are a couple of things that I’ve learned over the years as to how to make each passing year better than the one before:

  1. Pay Attention to Your Health: We can’t stop our bodies from aging.  Aging is part of life.  But we do have the power to age well or to age poorly.  When it comes to our bodies and our health, we reap what we sow.  As a result, the good habits we implement today – a healthy diet, regular use of sunscreen, consistent exercise, and yearly dental and medical checkups – will pave the way toward our feeling physically good in the future.
  2. Believe in Yourself And in Your Dreams: When children are small, they have big dreams.  They perhaps want to grow up to be astronauts or pilots or movie stars.  But somewhere along the way, for most people, those dreams go by the wayside.  Why?  Because there are lots of folks who want to tell others what they can and can’t do.  They will tell you to be “realistic” about your career aspirations.  They will tell you that you don’t have what it takes to achieve your goals.  Ignore them.  Be confident in your abilities.  Only God knows what you are capable of.  And if God has put a dream in your heart, it is because He wants you to fulfill it.  So if you want an amazing future, believe in yourself and keep working toward your dreams.
  3. Eliminate Unkind People from Your Life: When we are minors and under the care of our parents, we don’t get to choose with whom we interact.  However, the beauty of being a financially independent adult is that you get to pick with whom you spend your time.  That includes your family members and friends.  Admittedly, it takes confidence to say, “Uncle Bob or Aunt Jane is a rude person.  So I am choosing not to spend Thanksgiving with him (or her).”  It takes a lot more confidence to say, “My spouse is unkind to me, and he (or she) refuses to change how they treat me.  So I am leaving this marriage.”  But if you want to see a dramatic improvement to your life, choose to spend your time with people who are kind to you.  Don’t spend your time with people solely out of obligation.
  4. Do Your Best And Let God Handle The Rest:  It is hard to feel peaceful about life when so much of life is outside of our control.  That is why it is important to have faith in God.  We need to believe in His power in our lives and in His goodness.  Now faith isn’t something that we develop overnight.  Faith is something that we will work at until the day we die. Without faith, we can’t be at peace when faced with life’s inevitable challenges.  Instead, we will feel overwhelmed.  We will think that we have to solve every problem by ourselves, when we simply don’t have the power to do so.  But when have faith in God, we can give our problems over to God, knowing that He is both with us and for us.  With faith, we learn that He truly can take all of our problems and turn them into blessings.
  5. Take Care of Your Blessings:  When I was small, I didn’t have many toys.  I had one teddy bear and two dolls.  I truly cherished those toys, since they were all I had.  I don’t know where the teddy bear went, but the two dolls sit on one of the bookshelves in my office.  Having so little taught me to cherish what I have.  The more you learn to cherish what you have, the more you appreciate what you’ve been given.  It is easy to take what we have for granted.  How many marriages end in divorce because spouses criticize each other instead of appreciating each other?  How many parents lose their relationship with their kids because they grow frustrated with them instead of cherishing them?  How many of us have houses, cars and wardrobes that we don’t value because we want something bigger or better.  When we cherish what we have, we recognize how truly blessed we are.

If you approach life the right way, no matter what life brings, each year truly can be better than the last.  Consider the changes that you might make in 2017, so that it is even better than 2016.  You have the power to make 2017 your best year yet.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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