Year after year, we make plans for self-betterment. We set goals for personal development and can hardly wait to get started on our new selves. Our vision of the future is filled with promise of a more successful “me.” Still, a more successful me does not mean a more satisfied me.
Self-advancement is certainly not wrong. We’ve all been created for a purpose, and I applaud anyone who thoughtfully considers how they can live that out. Self-absorption, however, leads to discontentment and unhappiness.
What if I told you that you can have a greater feeling of satisfaction and contentment even before you kick that habit, while you loose that weight, or during your climb of the corporate ladder?
Helping others accomplishing their hopes and dreams is incredibly satisfying.
While you’re constructing your game plan for the next year of your life, here’s three simple steps to put into practice that will bring joy and contentment along the way:
1. Give to Charity
Some folks fall back on the excuse, “I give to my church.” Even if you are a “storehouse tither,” don’t live by the daily minimum requirement rule. I dare you to be excessive in your giving.
“For to whom much is given, of him much shall be required. And from him to whom much was entrusted, much will be asked.” ~Jesus (Luke 12:48b)
While you are considering self-improvement methods, don’t neglect your heart. Some of you can use a little spa treatment. Just like stress can tighten our muscles and nerves, our own quest for freedom from difficulties can harden our heart. Giving to the improvement of others acts like a heart massage, keeping it soft and content.
If you’re not satisfied with the world as it is, contribute to it’s refinement. Be an active participant and engage in a group that’s doing good.
Now you may be saying, “I already don’t spend enough time with my family.”
Volunteering is the perfect way to gratify your spirit while including your spouse and children.
To make this a team effort, sit down together to select an organization in your community that you can give regular service to. Scan the calendar of your local newspaper to see what jumps out. Look at all your options and find one that ties into a favorite activity.
3. Look Out for Someone Else
Here’s an idea that’s satisfying and energizing. Secretly adopt a family or individual who’s struggling. You don’t have to look far to recognize a person who battles grief, loneliness, poor health, underemployment and so on. Identify them and start pouring on the blessings.
This goes beyond random acts of kindness. It’s not treating someone as your project, but as your own flesh and blood. Express goodwill by running an errand, taking them out for coffee, or making a phone call just to check on them.
Even small doses of sacrificial service bring great satisfaction. Give up that sitcom rerun one night in exchange for a demonstration of care. You’ll find it much more satisfying than stale television.
When you live a life ruled by love and compassion, it’s hard not to feel satisfied.
In the coming year, enter into a satisfaction and sense of contentment you may not have thought possible. It will be a year filled with promise. Happy New Year!