How to be happy even if you're English

what is happiness and how to get it

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A motto for January


A year can go fast.

This time each year I play a game. I scan over the previous year’s flavour – it’s course, events, emotional stamp and goals. Then I take a deep breath, and feel where I am now, and pick a little motto that summarises what I feel I need to do this coming year. It has to be authentic (it’s for me after all; I don’t emblazon it on a T-shirt, just hold it in my head) so I sit with it for a few days, and if it still feels right, it becomes a guiding light to return to when I get a little uncertain.

Past mottos have sometimes been financial guides; ‘claw back’ was one year, ‘reign in’ was another. Others have seen ‘look sharp’ ‘get to it’ and ‘hang in there’. They’re not fancy, but a hook to reconnect where I am occasionally. It helps me.

Some years you just know will be about play, or growth, struggle or challenge. But you know that next year will have a different theme, or a different kind of learning. It’s just the way it is. Sometimes simply remembering that can really help. No matter how stuck you are, life does shift. And especially, you have the power to shift internally. Always. And if you know that, then it will.

A year can be like a step forward towards a goal. The important thing is to recognise each step taken, and then take the next. Don’t linger in no man’s land, afraid to make the next move. Be bold and move your life forward. It won’t happen without you. You have to steer the ship.

Take a motto. Take several. Let your friends know what they are.

Mine’s ‘Be Kind’ (to others and to myself). What’s yours?