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Episode 050: Live Happier Through the Holidays Part 6: Renewal

Part 6 of 6 Living Happier Through the Holidays: Renewal

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Naming Your Values (click to download)


Elizabeth Gilbert Happiness Jar

Burning Bowl Ceremony


Hi, and welcome. You are listening to the Stories From A Quest To Live Happier podcast, and I’m your host, Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor, and in this podcast, I share my stories and lessons I’ve learned, and I keep learning on my quest to live happier. The show notes and the complete transcript can be found at, and this is episode 50 of the Living Happier Through The Holidays, and we’re talking about renewal.

Hey there. I’m so excited to have you here. We are here for the last episode of the Live Happier Through The Holidays series, and we are talking about renewal because it is the last week of the year, oh my gosh, 2016 is almost behind us. That’s just so amazing. So we are talking about resolutions and renewal, and what we’re going to do next as 2017 looms here right in front of us. I want to touch with you a little bit about resolutions, because I hate resolutions.

I think it’s wonderful that we have this natural time, that we’re reflecting on our lives, and we’re figuring out what we’re going to do differently, and how we’re going to change. But in reality, January 1st is no more magical than January 15th, or March 30th, or April 7th. If all of us could pledge, as our resolutions, that each day we’re going to show up and be present, true, and intentional, and have grace, and compassion as we move through our day, to ourselves and to those around us, oh my gosh, the world would be such an amazing place. That’s resolutions.

That’s REAL change. So, the huge resolutions we have of, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds,” or, “I’m going to find a new job,” or, “I’m going to get out of this crappy relationship,” or, “I’m going to meet the man of my dreams,” or whatever it is. These huge resolutions that we force ourselves to make come January 1st, it just sets us up for failure. So, I hear you if you want to lose weight, or you want to find the love of your life, or you want to get out of a crappy relationship, I hear you.

But my challenge to you, as you are looking at this new 2017 is, what are the baby steps you’re willing to take to do that? So when we get on these crazy diets that limit us and we take ourselves all the way down, that we’re going to go gluten-free, and sugar-free, and alcohol-free. That’s not realistic because come January 9th when we’re ready to kill someone because we have no sugar, and no wine, and no gluten, it’s unrealistic. So, what do you want to start cutting out of your life, or adding into your life, to make it better, and more compassionate?

So maybe you want to start eating more vegetables, that’s your resolution, that you’re going to eat more fruits and vegetables. And when you start eating more fruits and vegetables, you’re going to pay attention to how your body feels when it gets fruits and vegetables, and it’ll feel better, I guarantee it. So part of the downfall of resolutions, and part of the reason they don’t work is we make these huge, large, sweeping, ginormous plans for ourselves. And the reason we do that is because it’s a lot easier to say, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds,” than it is to be intentional and break that down to be like, “How am I going to lose 50 pounds? How am I going to face it come January 9th when I have not eaten any sugar for nine days, and I’m ready to kill someone, and I have learned that my whole life up to this point, that I eat my feelings. And so right now, that I’ve taken away sugar, I’m ready to flip out.”

How are we going to handle that? That’s the baby step. How are you going to start, if you want to lose weight, how are going to cut out the emotional eating? What are you going to do when you’re out to dinner on a date night with your spouse, and you guys normally split a bottle of wine, and it’s just all these empty calories, and you want to change that. How are you going to do that, in those little tiny moments? And that’s what I challenge you to look at this week. When you’re thinking of resolutions, how am I going to show up for my life in little tiny ways?

And I have an exercise that I will include in the show notes, so if you go to, and you click on this episode 50, I will have a values exercise there where you can get clear on what are your priorities. What are your values that you want more than anything in 2017, and how can you start living your life based on those? So I encourage you to do the values exercise, and then go back and say, “Okay, based on my values, what do I want to change for 2017? What are the little baby steps I want to make in 2017?”

I’m also going to steal an idea from Elizabeth Gilbert, and she talks about the happiness jar that she does, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. And happiness jar, it’s simply a jar that you have that you can decorate with your kids, or decorate yourself, that you have in a prominent place in your house, where you fill it with all the little things throughout the year that have made you happy. From huge, big trips you might take, to little tiny incidences that happen throughout the year that have made you happy. And this is a great way to start building intention in your life and noticing the things that help drive you along and make you happy. Happiness is another thing that we want big, sweeping changes around happiness. We say I’m going to be happy as if it’s going to be this level that once we attain, we will always have, and it doesn’t work that way.

Happiness is something that comes and goes, and it moves through us. And so we need to be intentional about seeing the happiness in our lives. We can see the happiness in our lives when we show up for it.  And so that means showing up for the sadness in our lives, as well as the happiness in our lives. And the more we can show up for everything, the more we will live happier, and the more we will attain that piece of happiness. So I encourage you to look at that link on the happiness jar because I think that is a wonderful resolution to start and a great way of bringing intentional happiness.

And then the last tip I have for this week of the final week of 2016, and I know tomorrow is the 31st, so I really, we just have one more day, but tomorrow, part of the ritual I encourage to do is a burning bowl exercise. There is a link to that above. A burning bowl exercise, if you don’t know what that is, is just a fire, you can have a fire in a bowl, or you can put a fire in your backyard, I don’t care. But then to write down the specific things you want to either let go of, that you want to leave behind in 2016, kind of that symbolism of, these are the things that I’m going to let go of. And then also, what are the things you want to add into your life in 2017? So what are the little things?

You know, it might be things you want to let go of, and it might be things you want to add. So to give yourself the symbolism of burning that stuff is so powerful. So to write down, “What do I want to let go of and burn up?” and put on a piece of paper and burn it. And “What are the things I want to add to my life?” and put that on a piece of paper and burn it up and let it go out into the universe. I encourage you if you do exercise, to be specific on what the things are.

A lot of times, again, like resolutions, people say I’m going to burn all of my people pleasing. So I’m going to leave people pleasing in 2016. Okay, that’s not going to happen. The burning is symbolic. It’s not magical. But who do you want to stop people pleasing? Where do you want that specifically? I’m going to stop people pleasing at work, or I’m going to stop people pleasing with this co-worker. I’m going to bring attention to how often I people please with my mom, get specific on where is that thing that you want to let go of, where is it showing up in your life and how can you, in an easy, simple way, let it go. Instead of this big, broad, huge, sweeping, change challenge yourself to get specific. To get intentional about what is it I want to leave behind in 2016, and what is it I want to pull forth for 2017?

So that’s the show. Thanks for listening to this podcast, and also this whole series on Living Happier Through The Holidays. If you missed any of them, please go back and listen to them, because even though it’s the end of the holidays right now, they all pertain to life in general. So, please go back and listen. I can’t believe we’re at episode 50; that’s so awesome that we have done 50 shows here. But, I appreciate you showing up, and I appreciate you listening. I wish a blessed New Year’s Eve, a safe New Year’s Eve as well, and a wonderful 2017. I will see and hear you back here, you will hear me I guess, back here in 2017, and I look forward to doing more of these podcasts.

So, the Stories From A Quest To Live Happier podcast comes out every week. I promise I’m going to try to be better about that in 2017. That is one of my resolutions that’s simple and easy, is to show up here for you guys once a week. And if you have any questions, please e-mail me, And until next year, here’s to living happier.



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