What is there to look forward to in life?

Table of Contents

Planning to do at least one thing each day you’ll look forward is an important part of treatment for depression, or for anyone who wants to be happier.

On most days your looked forward to activities aren’t likely to be “treat” type activities – more along the lines of la dolce vita (the sweet life) activities.

Happiness research has shown that the things you do are generally more influential on your level of happiness than the things you have.

What gets in the way of people making more deliberate choices about how they spend their non-work time?

1. Waiting until some future time for things you don’t really need to wait for.

For example, imagine you have a dream of going to Italy but right now you can’t afford it or can’t get the time off work.

Ask yourself – what do you imagine doing on your ideal trip to Italy?

Lets say you imagine:

– picnics in parks
– eating good cheese, drinking good wine
– taking long walks through beautiful countryside
– speaking Italian
– appreciating the beauty of the art and architecture
– afternoons spent drinking coffee at Italian cafes
– having time away from work and your other commitments at home so you can do some heavy duty relaxing

Next, ask yourself how you could do versions of those things now?

Instead of eating dinner at home, why not take a picnic basket to work and head to a park after work for a weeknight picnic? You could take your spouse or go alone with your Italian phrasebook (If you’re going to be picnicking with your significant other, here are some ways of saying I love you and similar in Italian that your significant other might like!).

Or, if you’re in Christchurch, try taking a picnic blanket to the Riccarton House Farmers Blanket on a Saturday morning.

Or, what (natural or human-made) beauty do you have in your local area that would be a good place to go walking?

2. Ruling out great ideas as not possible.

For example, you think “I would love to meet a friend for lunch once a week but I only get a half hour lunch break.” Might there be a way of arranging to have a longer break once a week, like staying at work a bit later the same night?

Your boss might say no but what have you got to lose by asking? Don’t fall into the mindreading trap of assuming your boss will say no or be annoyed at you. I don’t think there’s any shame in saying you’re trying to make some small changes that will help you enjoy your everyday life more. Most people want work-life balance for themselves and can understand other people wanting it, provided it seems like you’re trying to do it in a way that doesn’t inconvenience other people.

3a. People make errors in predicting how activities will impact their happiness. For example, underestimating what a profound impact doing one thing a day you look forward to might have on your overall feelings of relaxation and sense that you’re moved in your valued life directions.

Research has shown that the moments of positive feelings we experience in our days have more impact on our overall life satisfaction than the other way around.

A significant benefit of doing simple activities that yield pleasurable emotions is that emotions change thoughts. As I’ve written previously, the evolutionary purpose of positive emotions is that they signal to us that our current environment is safe enough that we can prepare for the future (negative emotions signal danger, the need to be self protective and to watch out for threats). Positive emotions put us in building mode – they lead to having broader, more flexible ideas and more generous, community-spirited thoughts and behaviours. Positive emotions lead to us seeing greater opportunities, investing in our relationships and thinking more creatively.

3b. Another common prediction error is to underestimate how much you’d enjoy doing a specific activity e.g. You think “Trying out making homemade bagels might lift my mood from a 4/10 to 5/10″ when in reality it lifts it from a 4/10 to a 7/10. You might find the mood lift lasts longer than expected e.g. you feel proud and satisfied the rest of the day.

4. Another factor that gets in the way of people doing things they’d look forward to is that planning takes work. The idea of doing at least one thing a day you look forward to is a simple concept but any way you choose to do it will require some effort and planning (improving your happiness requires sustained effort).

Some ideas of how to minimize the effort/time are –

– Once a week you could decide on 7 activities for the upcoming week.
– Include some recurring activities. e.g. every Wednesday you…
– Think about the basics as well as special events. e.g. a favorite TV program you look forward to each week. Anything you love counts.

5. Most of our leisure time occurs in windows of 45 minutes or less.

This means you need to have ideas for what you can do in short windows of time.

To take advantage of these short windows you’ll need to have thought/planned in advance so opportunities to have some “you time” don’t pass you by.

For example, in the workplace, make sure you take your breaks rather than working through. And think about how you most want to spend that time. e.g. on nice days, go sit outside in the sun or take a walk around the block.

6. Pick activities you really will look forward to doing – things you feel at least mildly excited about getting to do.

7. You can’t think of things you want to do.

If you’re out of the habit of doing at least one thing a day you look forward to (or have never been in the habit) it might initially be hard to think of enough appealing, easily to do ideas.

Start with whatever you can think of. Try out some of your ideas, and the process of getting started should help you think of new ideas (remember positive emotions lead to broader, more creative and flexible thoughts!).

The way I think of it this type of creative self discovery about what makes you personally happy is part of the meaning of life.

Hopefully you’ll also come to enjoy the self discovery aspect of finding new things that make you happy.

Tags:Depression, Happiness, Positive Psychology

I told you a few months ago that focusing on the future hurts me sometimes. I’m a dreamer and I love knowing anything is possible, but if I focus on long-term life for very long, it discourages me, because I just don’t really know where I’m going. That’s why I choose to ride the wind Jesus sends me– because He’s a bigger dreamer than I am, and He knows where to take me. I am so grateful that He would do this for me.

But sometimes the future just gets in our faces, doesn’t it? There are a few situations that simply demand thinking long-term. It’s in those times that I want to hide under the covers until I feel safe again. It’s then that I need to find something about the future that reminds me life isn’t about a climax, but about the meaningful things in every day; about living my life in love. Part of me hopes that all of us deal with this sometimes. I hope out of selfishness because I don’t want to sound crazy, but I also hope out of love because we need each other. I want to remind you of hope when the only place you want to be is under the covers, and I want you to do that for me, too.

I began this list for myself, but I hope you can use it, too. I hope that when life doesn’t look meaningful and the future is a dark figure in your eyes, you can look at this list and remember that there is joy waiting for you. It was a lot easier than expected to think of one hundred things; I could easily come up with more and probably will later. I encourage you to create your own list, with things that move you. Don’t give those things up. Ride the wind, and collect treasures on your love-soaked journey. He wants to give you countless joys instead of one climax.

Here are just one hundred good things in the future that are light in the darkness:

Developing photos from the last seven years and scrapbooking them.

Painting the gardens I love.

Riding the train again.

Visiting Enchanted Forest in Oregon.

Recording music.

Publishing something.

Reading more books.

Taking a dance class.

Putting my lyrics to music.

Going to more concerts.

Owning a Chris Rice painting.

Getting married.

Holding babies.

Seeing meaningful new movies.

Experiencing healing in my family.

Finding a job I enjoy.

Getting better at painting.

Sketching based on illustrations from the fairy books by Andrew Lang.

Owning Dinotopia books.

Having flowers in the house.

Decorating my own house.

Dying my hair red.

Going to more baby showers.

Writing lyrics again.

Seeing the redwoods in California.

Reading Tolkien for the first time.

Visiting the mountains up close.

Buying scented candles and lighting them all the time.

Seeing France.

Taking photos at the Loch in Scotland and later photo-shopping Nessie into them.

Having kittens in the house.

Adopting a child.

Laughing with my husband.

Taking a class from my beloved writing teacher again.

Meeting people in other states.

Going on a road trip.

Becoming a mother.

Seeing a real castle.

Expanding my blog.

“Hiking” a calm little forest trail.

Sitting by the lake in the summer.

Returning to my favorite rose garden and being able to spend as long as I want there.

Going to Disneyland for the first time.

Visiting the coast again.

Making some kind of Inkheart-based art.

Swinging at my favorite childhood park.

Witnessing a white Christmas.

Meeting people who will be significant parts of my story.

Seeing the Northern Lights in action.

Being part of more photo shoots with friends.

Seeing fireflies in person.

Owning (and probably over-using) a polaroid camera.

Camping with people I adore.

Going to the zoo.

Exploring ruins somewhere.

Visiting grand libraries.

Seeing my children grow as people.

Learning an instrument.

Setting up my easel and painting somewhere outside.

Reading the Anne of Green Gables series.

Finishing one of my stories.

Having a vegetable garden.

Going fruit-picking.

Being part of jam sessions.

Getting better at cooking.

Going on a scavenger hunt.

Wearing a flower crown.

Watching movies with dear friends.

Getting letters from people I love.

Collecting Christmas heirlooms.

Having tea parties.

Finding my wedding dress.

Keeping a plant alive.

Doing something fun on a YouTube channel.

Getting more yearbooks.

Getting better at projecting my voice when I give speeches.

Using a journal small enough to carry in my purse.

Learning to knit more complicated things.

Discovering more musicians I’ll cherish forever.

Exploring art galleries.

Meeting Colony House.

Seeing a live production of Les Mis.

Seeing a live production of the original Peter Pan play.

Being a ground-breaking generation of my family.

Walking through a secret passage.

Finally taking that photo with Brandon Heath.

Becoming confident in my abilities as a lyricist.

Going to Generation Unleashed again.

Sending out family Christmas cards.

Singing songs with my family all the time.

Adopting a pet.

Living with friends.

Wearing more pretty dresses.

Seeing my best friend again and going on a random little adventure with her.

Puddle-splashing with my children.

Visiting a mountainous national park.

Joining a worship team again.

Giving my art to more people.

Owning a porch swing.

Flying, in a plane or a helicopter.

Coloring in coloring books with children.

How to Look Forward to Everything – and How It Makes You More Productive

Beep! Beep! Beep!

What is that? What’s happening? Oh, wait. It’s just the alarm. Is it already time to get up? I’ll just hit snooze. What day is it? Monday …

Deep sigh.

Do your workdays begin with an overwhelming feeling of dread? Does your anxiety skyrocket when you think about going to work on Monday morning? Do you not look forward to work, school or certain social events?

This is normal. However, you should start looking forward to everything.

When you look forward to things, your productivity increases and your overall happiness goes through the roof. Here’s the thing – you can do it. This is a skill you can develop as long as you work at it.

Here are a few ways you can look forward to everything.

1. Morning Routine

Before you start to look forward to everything in your life, you have to give yourself something to look forward to. A morning routine is perfect.

Most people don’t like to wake up early. However, what if waking up early meant you could sit down for 30 minutes and watch an episode from your favorite television show while sipping a tall cup of coffee? Sounds pretty good, right?

Give yourself a window of time early in the morning that’s just for you. You get to do anything you’d like as long as it makes you happy. You can read the newspaper, get in a quick workout or write about whatever comes to mind. A morning routine can significantly boost productivity and will make you excited about the start your day.

2. Stay Optimistic

Want to know how you can prevent depression, boost your job performance and increase your likelihood of success? The key is to stay optimistic.

Things might not look the best right now, but they will surely turn around if you stay positive. Think about the long-term opportunities your job offers. Your hard work will pay off – you just have to make yourself aware of it. Think toward the future instead of being trapped in the present.

Remember when you first got your job? You were excited, right? Write down the reasons why you were excited and reflect on them. Try to bring that positivity back into your work life.

3. Hack Your Commute

Your commute can be the most stressful part of your day. The time spent sitting in traffic can be dreadful. Luckily, you can make everything about your morning more enjoyable – even driving to work.

Don’t listen to the same radio channel every day when there’s a huge library of audio entertainment available to you. You can use your commute to listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook.

Not only will you be entertained, but you can also educate yourself about your field of work. There are podcasts and audiobooks for just about every genre, so you should have no problem learning more about your industry. You can also listen to a comedy or serial drama podcast and be entertained so you can look forward to your commute.

4. Keep a Grateful Journal

Sometimes you don’t look forward to everything because you forget to see what you’re grateful for. Keep a journal where you can write down everything you’re grateful for.

It’s important to reflect on your day before you go to bed. Otherwise, all the positive things that happened will vanish and become forgotten. Have a journal handy so you can write down the positive aspects of your day that you’re grateful for. This will make you realize there are great things in your life that you should be looking forward to every day.

5. Take Control

It’s time to take control.

You might be stressed because your life is controlling you. Switch your approach so you control your life. Manage your schedule so you aren’t overwhelmed. Plan your tasks so you can be productive and get them done. Make changes in your life that will make you happier. You’ll become more productive and actually look forward to your alarm going off early in the morning.

Change Starts Today

Don’t wait until tomorrow. Make these changes in your life today so you can be happier and more productive.

10 Best Things About Growing Old

Like all phases of life, our senior years can come with their challenges. However, the difficult and unpleasant aspects of aging should not overshadow all the wonderful parts of growing old.

Best Things About Growing Old

Here’s a list of 10 great aspects of aging — from the financial perks that come with turning 65, to the personal insights that come with decades of experience:

1. A Happier Outlook

It may surprise some, but studies show that seniors are among the happiest groups of people, and that they are significantly more happy than their middle-aged counterparts.

The author of a study on the subject, Dr. Saverio Stranges, says, “This could be due to better coping abilities. Older people tend to have internal mechanisms to deal better with hardship or negative circumstances than those who are younger.” Another reason seniors may also be happier is because age means that they are “more comfortable being themselves.”

2. Grandchildren

American writer Gore Vidal once joked, “Never have children, only grandchildren.” Grandparents often get to experience the joys of little children without the diaper changes and sleepless nights. Grandparents love their grandchildren, and this love lightens their own heart while simultaneously benefiting the grandchildren who receive this love.

Dr. Karl Pillemer. who studies aging and intergenerational relationships, is a firm believer in the importance of the relationship between children and their grandparents. He notes that, “Research shows children need four to six involved, caring adults in their lives to fully develop emotionally and socially” and that “the grandparent/grandchild relationship is second in emotional importance only to the parent/child relationship.”

3. More Time for Loved Ones

Retirement isn’t inherently joyful or relaxing — it’s how that time is used that makes it special.

One of the best parts of retirement is spending time with family, friends and other loved ones.

4. Opportunity to Pursue Your Dreams

Victorian novelist George Elliot wrote, “It’s never too late to be what you might have become.” The time gained during retirement is an excellent opportunity to pursue dreams and passions that you might have put on hold.

For instance, you can learn a new language, take that trip you’ve always dreamed of, or write the novel in your head that’s been waiting to get out.

5. Participation in Civics and Volunteering

Growing old provides a sense of broader perspective, and it often makes people inclined to focus much of their efforts and energy towards bettering society and creating a better world for future generations.

In addition to spending time with loved ones and pursuing passions and personal dreams, retired seniors have more time to be civically and politically involved, and they do just that.

For example, people over aged 65 vote at a higher rate than any other age group according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. They also volunteer at a high rate. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that one in four U.S. seniors 65+ actively volunteered during 2015.

6. Wisdom

A Smithsonian Magazine article described a number of recent studies demonstrating the emotional and intellectual benefits of aging. One study described in the article showed that seniors have better control over their emotions than other age groups. Researchers had participants of all ages play a gambling game “designed to induce regret” and found “unlike 20-somethings, those in their 60s didn’t agonize over losing, and they were less likely to try to redeem their loss by later taking big risks.”

To read some great advice from America’s wisest, see our blog post, “Priceless Advice from Older Americans.”

7. Better Social Skills and More Empathy

Another study described in the aforementioned article asked participants to give advice to hypothetical authors of “Dear Abby” letters. The findings indicated that seniors have have superior empathetic and social abilities. The study said:

“Subjects in their 60s were better than younger ones at imagining different points of view, thinking of multiple resolutions and suggesting compromises.”

While seniors may have acquired better social skills than their younger peers, they can be vulnerable to isolation. Read our blog about helping seniors avoid social isolation to make sure that these skills have a chance to shine.

8. Guaranteed Minimum Income, Medicare and Social Security

In an article about the history of aging, we discussed how, before the 20th century, seniors without the means to support themselves were forced to move into what were referred to as “poorhouses” or “workhouses.” This was the lot of seniors who were not independently wealthy or who did not have family members who could take care of them.

While poverty is still a big problem among seniors, safety-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security mean that American seniors should have a guaranteed minimum income and health insurance even if they aren’t wealthy and don’t have children who can support them.

President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 described the importance of Social Security and similar safety-net programs that he helped to enact, “We can never insure one-hundred percent of the population against one-hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life. But we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”

9. Senior Discounts

As trivial as senior discounts may seem, there must have been a time you envied them. The discounts offered to seniors can help people save money in a period when income tends to be fixed and limited. These discounts also provide a great incentive for seniors to make the most of their retirement, for the discounts are often for the exact types of services that help seniors stay engaged and active, such as dining, medication, entertainment and transportation.

There are even websites like SeniorDiscounts.com which exist to help seniors locate businesses that offer senior discounts.

10. Sense of Accomplishment

Older people often have a healthy sense of pride that comes from their accomplishments. These accomplishments needn’t be great feats.

John Lennon’s lyric, “A working class hero is something to be,” puts it well. Seemingly ordinary achievements like raising a healthy and happy child, being happily married, serving in defense of the nation, or retiring from a job in good-standing after years of dedicated service, can be the foundation of a pleasant contentment in old age.

What is your favorite thing about growing old? We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Older Americans Month
  • Priceless Advice from Older Americans
  • Tips to Better Understand Your Aging Parents

3 Things You Can Only Learn As You Get Older

1. Relationships are Invaluable

“You can never replace someone who cares.”

One of the most poignant rules of life is that we often don’t understand the value of something until we lose it.

I remember being cast in the play, You Can’t Take It With You — a play about how people are more important than the “things” which don’t benefit us beyond the end of our lives. It was a fantastic experience. But it was also tragic. One of the cast members — my friend Chris — was killed in a car accident on the way to rehearsal one day. I even wrote an article about how Chris’s death has had impact on my life.

It is difficult to value our relationships until those relationships end.

I remember so clearly one relationship that meant so much to me. I had just moved from being an independent contractor to an employee for a startup. I was driving over an hour to work each day. I was deemed part of the IT department, even though I mainly did marketing. I sat next to a man named Dave for the first few years that I worked at this company. Dave and I connected quickly and became good friends. Dave was a smart and talented man. We had a special friendship, as our desks were next to each other for a few years. We had great conversations and became good friends. He had even been drafted by a professional baseball team but an injury derailed his ability to pitch professionally. Dave had made my job much more enjoyable. I actually looked forward to work! People make all of the difference. But Dave’s story does not end here, as I will share more about him soon.

Multiple times I have had the unenviable task of laying people off. It is one of the most difficult aspects of managing people. But it taught me one of the most important lessons about people that I have ever learned: you may be able to form new relationships, but you can never replace someone who cares deeply about an organization, a role, or you.

You can never replace someone who cares.

If we want to purchase something, one of the first things we want to know is the price.

Often, the amount of money we need to buy something is how we gauge the value of that thing. If something costs a lot, it is valuable. If something costs a little, then it is cheap or low in value.

Creating amazing relationships also has a cost. But the cost rarely involves money. In fact, I learned something amazing about the cost of relationships in comparison to the cost of anything else:

Anything you can buy with money is worthless.

The true worth of our lives is not calculated with the amount of money or assets that we have acquired. Our true worth is tied to the number of people that we have served and the relationships that we have created.

I wish that I learned this lesson earlier in my life. We need money to live, obviously. But anything we can buy with money is worthless.

Over time, one of the best lessons we can learn is this: relationships are invaluable. Don’t wait until you are older to figure this out. Learn it now.

Age Test

Find out how old you really are

  • How old are you? Start
  • Are you a realistic person?YesNoSometimes
  • What is your favourite food?SaladsSoupBurgersChocolateSteak
  • Do you have a high tolerance level?YesNoSometimes
  • How often do you cry?Every dayOnce a weekOnce a monthOnce a yearNever
  • What is your favorite part of the day?MorningMiddayAfternoonEveningNight
  • How often do you get angry?OftenSometimesNever
  • Do you have friends older than you?Yes, manyA fewNo
  • Do you like to get up early in the morning?YesNo
  • Do you care about your style?YesNoSometimes
  • What would you do if you won the lottery?Buy a new carParty!Add money to savingsBuy a yachtBuy a new house
  • What has the highest value to you?Fun!LoyaltyHappiness
  • Have you ever gone through hard times?YesNo
  • Do you care about the environment?YesNoSometimes
  • Do you want to live alone?YesNoSometimes
  • How often do you miss a deadline?AlwaysSometimesNever
  • Would you like to go on a trip abroad?YesNo
  • Are you very emotional?YesNoSometimes
  • Where would you like to live?In a cityIn the countryside
  • How often do you sing?OftenSometimesNever
  • Do you want to grow up?YesNoSometimes
  • Do you enjoy laughing at other people?YesNoSometimes
  • Do you enjoy reading books?YesNoSometimes
  • Do you have a plan for the future?YesNo
  • Your Gender:MaleFemaleOther
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Getting Older? Here Are 7 Ways To Do It Right

In 1900, the average 30 year old in the U.S. could expect to live another 35 years…in other words, to die by age 65. Today, the average 30-year-old can expect another 50 years of life; to live until age 80. And by the time those 30 year 0lds actually are 80, who knows what their life expectancy will be?

Our ideas about aging, and what it means to be over 50 – or 60, or 90 – seem to be stuck somewhere back in the middle of the 20th century. We still consider 65 (or 55, in some sectors) as standard retirement age, and we expect everyone to start slowing down and moving aside for the next generation as their age ticks past the half-century mark.

Ever since I turned 60 a few years ago, I’ve been realizing that these standard societal notions of what it means to be old – especially for women – just aren’t applying to me. And most important, that I can craft my later years to be what I want them to be, rather than what anybody else tells me they must be.

I just read a wonderful article by Bonnie Hammer, a friend and client, at Fortune.com; an honest, feisty, bold rumination on being a 65-year-old woman in the media industry. It felt like a lighthearted manifesto (if there can be such a thing), a quick poke in our collective assumptions about aging. It really resonated for me, and made me think about how we can live the life we want, rather than the one that’s prescribed for us.

So let’s get practical. If you find yourself on the AARP side of 50, and you don’t want to follow the path laid down for you by society’s expectations, here are seven things you can do to age like a fine wine or a great violin, vs. a can of diet coke or a cheap car:

1. Think about yourself. I’ve been coaching an executive lately, an extremely bright and successful woman in her early 50s, who is realizing that she never really focused on what kind of life she wanted to create for herself. As a younger person in the work world trying to juggle a marriage, two kids, a career, an extended family, and community commitments, she spent decades just trying to do what was in front of her as well as she could. As we get older, many of us have the luxury of choice for the first time. When you don’t have so many things and people clamoring for your attention on a daily basis, you can think about what you’d like the rest of your life to look like. Want to keep working? Figure out how to make that happen on your terms. Want to stop working? Figure out how to make that happen on your terms. Want to create some new version of work/not work? Figure out how to… you get the idea. Don’t assume you have to do or can’t do anything. Get clear about what you love and what you’re good at, and make a life that you truly want to live.

2. Wear purple. There’s a wonderful poem that starts, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.” One of the truly great things about getting old is that you can, in ways subtle and grand, thumb your nose at convention with fewer consequences than when you were younger. For instance, when my husband and I got married in our mid-fifties, we did it precisely when and how we wanted. We said what we wanted to say, we invited who we wanted to invite. I felt like wearing a very wedding-ish white dress, never having done that before, and so I did. There were no parents to frown us down, and our kids may have rolled their eyes at some of our choices – but they weren’t the deciding vote. And they all ended up having a grand time. It’s true at work, too. A friend of mine who is nearing 60 and has always been a very by-the-book executive decided that he wanted to move south to be near his kids and grandchildren, and proposed to his boss, the CEO of their NYC-based company, that he could do his job 3 days a week long-distance and two days a week in New York. The boss said yes.

3. Use everything. Most traditional cultures revered older people as the carriers of wisdom and the archivists of the group’s knowledge and experience. In the modern world – not so much. We tend to assume that any knowledge older people have is outdated or downright irrelevant, and to dismiss the value of their contributions. You, however, can think differently about this. You can value what you bring to the party. You’ve amassed a great deal of experience, skill, and knowledge that isn’t time-sensitive: how to deal with people; how to get stuff done; how to navigate complex environments; how to teach others and support their success. And age also often brings a specific kind of wisdom: when you’ve seen and heard and experienced a lot, if you’re a reasonably reflective person you’re going to be able to extract some useful patterns from all that living, and offer those insights to those around you. You’ll probably tend to be less reactive, and to be more interested in hearing what other people have to say. Even if others dismiss you, don’t dismiss yourself: bring all that your life has taught you to everything you do, and you’ll be able to use it to accomplish great things for many years to come.

4. Be a novice. At the same time, one of the most critical ways to stay vital as you get older is to consciously immerse yourself in learning new things. The least interesting and most calcified older people I know are those who find a comfortable spot and burrow in: doing the same things, having the same conversations, expressing the same opinions. Make a commitment to yourself to learn something entirely new on a regular basis. There’s nothing like being bad at something to wake you up, shake you out of your complacency and “expertism,” and then – when you start getting good at it – to make you feel as excited as a six-year-old. In the past year I’ve 1) learned to spin yarn, 2) started a new kind of workout, 3) begun doing a podcast , and 4) started learning viniculture. It’s daunting and energizing, and I can feel my synapses firing on a daily basis.

5. Believe what’s true. People assume all kinds of things about people over ___ (fill in the blank). That we can’t be powerful. That we don’t like social media. That we’re not sexy. That we think millennials are lazy and entitled. And on and on. You don’t have to buy into this. My italics are intentional: this may be the most important sentence in the entire post. It doesn’t matter what anyone else assumes or believes about older people – like any other prejudice, just because these ideas are generally held to be true doesn’t mean that they are true. For example, I feel smarter, healthier, more vital, creative and open than at any previous point in my life. Whether or not anyone else believes that’s true (or even possible), I’m choosing to believe my own experience – vs. what others tell me I ought to be experiencing. I suggest you do the same. Whenever you hear or see something limiting or dismissive about people your age, ask yourself, “Is that true for me?” And then believe your practical experience. (By the way, this advice is also true for people of any age. I remember very clearly my mother telling me when I was about seven that “I was too young to have a headache.” It turned out I needed corrective lenses, and that she was wrong.)

6. Keep good company. I regularly spend time with people who are my age, older than me, younger than me, and a LOT younger than me. I especially enjoy the time I spend with people in their 20s and 30s – it’s exhilarating to engage with people who have grown up in such a different world than I grew up in, and to understand their hopes and fears, their assumptions and expectations. I enjoy getting a sense of how they’re different from me as a function of having 30 or 40 fewer years on the planet – and I find it reassuring and poignant to see how much we have in common. But the best thing is this: keeping company with smart, engaged, curious, loving, funny, kind people of all ages prevents me from sinking into a kind of reverse age-ism – from thinking that I’m cooler or smarter or better able to deal with the world just because I’ve been around longer. Because once you start thinking that, ironically, all the negative assumptions people make about you being an old person start coming true.

7. Have a lot of fun. My grandparents were lovely people, and they might possibly have had a lot of fun when I wasn’t looking, but I kind of doubt it. In previous generations, it seems as though people over the half-century mark were largely expected to be dignified and respectable on the upside, irascible or clueless on the downside, and not much else. One of the most powerful ways to craft your later years to be wonderful is to insist on your right to be as joyful, silly, happy, goofy, full of wonder, as enthusiastic and excited as you want to be until the day you die. And if anyone looks at you askance as you’re giggling uncontrollably, or whooping with glee – just let them know that this is what getting old looks like.

_____

What’s leader readiness? Find out here.

Also on Forbes:

“When I get older” or “When I am older”

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Six Ways To Always Have Something To Look Forward To

One of the best parts of incorporating the Law of Attraction into your life is that you have a daily reminder to focus on the good. However, while it’s easy to be upbeat sometimes, there are, of course, challenging days when it’s a real struggle to feel happy.

One smart trick to keep your mood up and maintain a constant flow of positive energy involves ensuring that you always have something to look forward to.

Here are six ways to focus on the good and have something to look forward to

1. Start A New Hobby

The suggestion here is not just to try something new, but to commit to making it a regular part of your life. For example, have you always wanted to learn more about photography? Save up for a decent camera, and plan a weekly trip to a beautiful location to practice your skills (outdoors in nice weather, and inside a gorgeous museum or building when it’s too cold to enjoy being outside).

Not all new hobbies have to cost much, either—you might start attending a craft group, buy some cheap art materials to start painting or learn a new language online.

2. Leave Space For Relaxation

It’s best if you have time for relaxation every day, but if you’re going through a particularly hectic period then at least try to leave space for relaxation every other day.

An hour of time that’s just for you will definitely give you something to look forward to, and you can fill that time with anything you want—as long as it leaves you feeling calm and peaceful. Some suggestions include meditation, a luxurious bath, and a walk in nature.

3. Build A Collection Of Great Books

If you have a well-stocked library of books that transport you to another world, you’ll always have an absorbing, intellectually stimulating experience to look forward to. You can swap books with friends, pick up used copies for less than a dollar, and browse online reviews to find potential new favorites in the genres you like the most.

TIP: Here is a recommendation for the next book about the Law Of Attraction that you should definitely have a look at the ‘Clearing Negativity From Your Life’ ebook.

In addition, remember that you might be able to join (or create) a local book club that further capitalizes on this fun source of anticipation. If you’re not a fan of reading, you can do much the same thing with movies, accumulating a great supply to dig into whenever you have the inclination.

4. Keep Your Social Calendar Full

Of course, there’s no sense in spending lots of time with people who drain your resources or don’t connect with you in a meaningful way. However, be proactive when it comes to arranging a time to spend with the people you like the most.

Every week, make sure you have at least a lunch, dinner, bar date or cozy evening planned with a good friend, family member or your partner. It’s good to schedule some of these far in advance, allowing you to anticipate them for longer and also reducing the chances that your favorite people are too busy to squeeze in a meeting.

5. Have A Stock Of Treats

What counts as a treat varies from person to person—for you, it might be anything from a delicious piece of chocolate to a sumptuous facial treatment or a wonderful bottle of wine. The key is to keep some of these things around for the proverbial rainy day so that you know there’s always something for you to enjoy when you need an extra boost.

While you should be careful not to become dependent on things like food or drink to regulate your mood, there’s nothing wrong with using your favorite treats to reward or comfort yourself on occasion.

6. Make A List Of Things That Make You Happy

Finally, one of the most useful things you can do to ensure a consistently good mood is to make a comprehensive list of everything that makes you feel excited or happy when you anticipate it.

You might include some of the suggestions above, but feel free to add as many of your own as you can. Once you have your list, figure out how you can constantly keep these things on your calendar to ensure there’s never a day that you don’t look forward to in some ways.

Another creative way to use this type of list is to tear up strips of paper and use them to write down things from the list that can be done at absolutely any time. Next, fold them up and put them in a jar—that jar will always be there for you to dip into, maintaining a constant sense that you have something to look forward to whenever you have free time or need to practice more self-care.

Clear Negativity From Your Life Today…

It can be hard to be positive and completely remove negativity from your life – but it’s not impossible and you can start to focus on the good things again.

Take a look at our free ‘Clearing Negativity From Your Life’ ebook and learn how to identify and clear any limiting beliefs you may have, as well as becoming your best self.

(CNN) — Welcome to the 2020! Other than being a numerically auspicious date that stands at the gateway of a fresh new decade, the year 2020 will probably be like any other year: Full of confusing and depressing events that will make you wish Earth had some sort of eject button.

But, statistically speaking, there must be some good things, too. There may even be several good things! In fact, we’ve counted at least 20 good, interesting or otherwise noteworthy things that will happen in 2020. Mark them in your bullet journal and hold on tight, because this decade is going to be a wild ride.

1. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

Everyone loves the Olympics! When else can you and your fellow citizens get genuinely, collectively excited about beach volleyball? The 2020 games will feature five new sports: Karate, baseball/softball, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing, as well as a mess of new events in already established categories. And in a tech-savvy, culturally rich city like Tokyo, the games are bound to be particularly festive.

2. A medley of new movies

If watching other people running around and being athletic is too taxing for you, rest assured it will be another eventful year at the box office. Do you like superhero deep cuts? Boom: “Wonder Woman 1984.” “Black Widow.” Franchises that refuse to die? Rev up for “Fast and Furious 9” and a new “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Franchises you thought weren’t franchises because it’s been so long but — surprise — now they are apparently? “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar 2” will look great on you. The remake train continues at full speed as well, making stops at “West Side Story” junction and “Mulan” city. Oh, and don’t forget about “Sonic the Hedgehog!” After what those graphic designers went through, it’s basically your civic duty to see it.

3. The elections

Right, so not many well-adjusted people would call elections “fun.” But this isn’t a list of fun things, it’s a list of things to look forward to. And no matter how many ulcers the 2020 Presidential race will give you, it’s still an important time in US history and it will affect us all. So, do your part by getting more political or learning about voting history or just practicing a few deep, democratic breaths in preparation for November. Other than the main event, 11 states will be holding gubernatorial elections this year, so there’s a chance the fabric of our country could change significantly in a very short period. Haha … fun!

4. The Mars 2020 mission

In case the year really does go to hell and you want to launch yourself into space, maybe you can hitch a ride on the new rover headed for Mars in late July or early August. The Mars 2020 rover will join the Curiosity rover on the Red Planet, which hopefully means Curiosity will have a friend to sing Happy Birthday with instead of doing it all alone. Any time scientists get to be rock stars is a time worth celebrating, and the Mars 2020 rover is fully tricked out and ready to roll. It has 23 cameras and two microphones to capture the sounds of the rover landing as well as the haunting, desolate Martian winds that follow.

5. A newly opened Washington Monument

Under normal circumstances, tourists can go up to the top of the 555-foot obelisk at the heart of our nation’s capital and gaze out like kings at the tidy grid of humanity below. However, for almost three years, the Washington Monument has been closed to the public while it gets a new security screening area and elevator system. It seems like a long time, but when it comes to elevators, it’s always good to err on the side of caution. Everything should be back up and running for tourists in September.

6. TV like you’ve never seen it (or paid for it) before

It’s truly the dawn of a new television era. Not only will 2020 see the launch of several new streaming services like HBO Max and Peacock, there will be innumerable new shows, reboots and spinoffs in which to invest your time. “Lizzie McGuire” is getting the reboot treatment on Disney+, “Riverdale” is spawning a spinoff with the CW’s “Katy Keene,” and a “Clueless” reboot is floating around the schedule (Yes, we said reboot. A TV show inspired by the movie ran for a few years in the 1990s). If you’re more dramatically inclined, Stephen King’s “The Outsiders” is sure to please on HBO, and an adaptation of the Lane Moriarty novel “Nine Perfect Strangers” is coming to Hulu. “Westworld” fans, your long wait is over: Season 3 will premiere on HBO in the spring.

7. The opening of the Yahoo! Time capsule

In 2006, Yahoo invited people to place digital artifacts of what life was like in a virtual time capsule. Participants uploaded tens of thousands of videos, pictures, poems, works of art and other submissions of varying value, and the final product was handed over to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, for safekeeping. The plan is to crack open the capsule (digitally, of course) on Yahoo’s 25th birthday, which is in 2020. They better open it carefully: Unsealing that thing may bring forth a whole Pandora’s box full of cat memes and cringey MySpace pics.

8. A total eclipse

Remember how fun the Great American Eclipse was in 2017? Well, there’s a Great South American Eclipse coming next year, and eclipse watchers are making plans to congregate in Argentina and stare up at the cosmic spectacle (while safely bespectacled, of course). The solar eclipse will shade the region in brief darkness on December 14, but there are other fun space things happening right around the same time. The Geminid meteor shower will spangle the sky the night before, and a special alignment of Jupiter and Saturn a week later will complete a rare space nerd trifecta.

9. Historical anniversaries

While 2020 might be a great year to make history, it’s a pretty good year to observe history, as well. There are plenty of interesting historical anniversaries to geek out to, but these are some of the biggest. Go ahead, memorize a few and make your high school history teacher proud.

  • January 10 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended World War 1.
  • September 6 will mark 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower.
  • November 28, 500 years ago, Ferdinand Magellan became the first European to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan.
  • December will mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of legendary German composer Ludwig van Beethoven.

10. A bevy of new books

Treat yourself to a Kindle shopping spree and pre-order some of 2020’s most-anticipated books. “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is sure to be a buzzy release. It’s a prequel to the “Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. Other new releases from well-loved authors: “Writer and Lovers” from Lily King, whose novel “Euphoria” spawned a TV adaptation, and “It’s All Not Downhill From Here” by Terry McMillan of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” fame. For all of you recovering English majors, pick up “A Long Petal of the Sea” by iconic Chilean author Isabel Allende, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

11. A saturated soccer scene

This is the year the fútbol cosmos finally aligns. The UEFA European Football Championship will go down all around Europe this summer, culminating in a final game at Wembley Stadium in London in July. In South America, the Copa América will take over the continent at the same time. These two major international championships don’t usually fall in the same year (though they did in 2016), but going forward, they’ll happen simultaneously every four years. So, consider 2019’s UEFA championship to be a little extra bonus.

12. A new hope for peanut allergy sufferers

It’s 2020, OK? It’s about time for some medical breakthroughs to help people suffering from frustrating, sometimes extremely serious conditions like peanut allergies. Every year the Cleveland Clinic counts down the most anticipated advances in medical technology for the coming year, and one of the 2020 contenders is a new immunotherapy treatment for peanut allergies that was recently given the go-ahead by the FTC. The treatment, Palforzia, won’t eliminate the allergy altogether, but it will train people’s immune systems to help avoid serious reactions to accidental exposures.

13. An innovative year in Dubai

If you’ve ever thought about taking a trip to Dubai, this might be your year. The glitzy Arabian city will host the 2020 World Expo for half the year. Expo 2020 is like a World’s Fair, with 192 countries showcasing the newest in art, technology, science and countless other spheres. Expo 2020 will center around a huge, specially built indoor-outdoor area between Dubai and the northern border of neighboring Abu Dhabi. Themes of the event will include happiness and environmental stability and, according to the event’s website, you can “meet Gnasher, the sharp-toothed machine of endless consumption.” (It’s a new recycling technology, not an imprisoned eldritch horror.) Sign us up!

The new world’s tallest building is set to open in 2020 in Dubai. It’s called the Jeddah Tower and will overshadow the current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa … also in Dubai.

14. A menagerie of new music

What will the sound of the new decade be? Well, we can start with some of the most-anticipated albums and tours coming our way in 2020. Keep your ears open for Cardi B’s “Tiger Woods,” Lana Del Ray’s “White Hot Forever,” J. Cole’s “The Fall Off,” Ozzy Osbourne’s “Ordinary Man,” The 1975’s “Notes on a Conditional Form,” plus new album releases from Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Haim, The Strokes, Pearl Jam, Justin Bieber, Drake and Lady Gaga.

If you’re looking for your next live music thrill, Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, Kenny Chesney and Niall Horan are all hitting the road in 2020. Elton John is continuing his farewell tour through 2021, and after having to cancel 2019 tour dates due to injury, Ozzy Osbourne will return to the stage this year. Fans are holding out hope that other huge artists, like Beyoncé, AC/DC, Adele and K-pop mega groups BTS and BlackPink, will announce 2020 tours.

15. The next generation of video game consoles (and new games to play on them)

Video games will continue to take over the cultural mainstream, and they’ll get a huge boost when two new consoles, the PlayStation 5 and the XBox Series X, hit the market in 2020. New video game releases will accompany these next-gen consoles: Halo Infinite and Hellblade 2 for the XBox, and new Call of Duty and Final Fantasy titles for the PS5.

16. The year of the electric truck

The world of brawny haul-ems with whisper-quiet, earth-friendly engines is about to explode. We’ve already met the Tesla Cybertruck, and honestly, it wasn’t the gentlest introduction to the world of electric trucks. Don’t worry, the rest are a bit friendlier. Two startup companies, Lordstown Motors and Rivian, will release models this year. For those with very expensive tastes, the Hummer-like Bollinger B2 will be rolling out with a $125,000 price tag. More popular automakers are giving their trucks an electric upgrade. GM is planning an all-electric truck release, and an electric version of the Ford F-150 — the bestselling car in America — is still on the drawing board but is expected to be a 2021 release.

17. The baseball game of your “Dreams.”

For the record, baseball is NOT a boring sport. But it will be at its least boring on August 13th when the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox meet in the middle of a corn field in Dyersville, Iowa, to play a special “Field of Dreams”-inspired game. The field is even located near the site of the original movie set. Eight thousand lucky fans will get to experience the full rural splendor in person, but there will be all kinds of special programming and events surrounding the game for everyone else to enjoy.

18. The rise of high-speed rail

It is no secret that high-speed rail is the future of land travel, but the concept has been slow to catch on in the US. That may change in 2020. Several high-speed rail systems are due to break ground, and other plans could move forward in big ways. Virgin Trains USA will begin construction in late 2020 on a new $4.8 billion, 170-mile high-speed train line from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas. (Another Virgin Trains line, between Miami and West Palm Beach, is already in operation, and will expand to Orlando in a few years.) A plan for a high-speed line between Houston and Dallas is chugging along, so to speak, and construction could start as early as summer 2020.

Back on the west coast, Microsoft is helping move along a plan for a rail between Seattle and Vancouver. The company, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, shelled out $223,000 in October 2019 to finish an exploratory study into the project by 2020.

19. A bustling Broadway scene

Movie remakes are so last decade. Welcome to 2020, where movies are remade as stage musicals! There are a stunning amount of stage adaptations, some or all of which may see a 2020 premiere on the Great White Way (or somewhere else a little more accessible). If you like romance, watch for takes on “13 Going on 30,” “The Bodyguard,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Some Like It Hot.” “17 Again” and “Magic Mike” and the Archie Comics franchise may get the theater treatment. Ready to get really meta? Another musical in the works is “Bombshell,” which is based on the fictional stage production at the center of the real TV show “Smash.”

20. A new decade

If a new year means a new beginning, then what does a decade mean? We have a whole 10 years to shape the trends, events and questionable hairstyle choices that will forever be associated with the 2020’s. We are the makers of our own destiny. Let’s get to it.