Are you planning an entire year of happiness? Think about it.

We just said “Happy new year” to everyone, but will we be able to carry it through 2022? Or will it be like years past? Will we resolve to change but forget about it in about two weeks? I have given some thought to how I want to live next year, and I am ever so happy to share with you my thoughts. Ready, set, go!

Compliment three people every day. Surely that is not too difficult. Every person has something wonderful or attractive about them. Show them that they are appreciated and noticed. No need to be gushy, just an honest compliment and a kind word will do wonders for them and us.

Watch the sunrise or sunset at least once a week. What a blessing it is to be outdoors and enjoy nature. With the trees bare it is easy to observe the changes in the morning and evening sky. Look closely and enjoy and be grateful you can see.

When you walk into a room or home or class, be the first to speak to people. A simple hello or good morning will perk everybody up. It shows you notice and like people. Everybody does not light up a room, but it sure lights up a few faces when you acknowledge them.

I know we have had some hard times lately, but there have been difficult times in every generation, and we learned to do the best we could and make do. To be happy in the new year and all the time, we need to learn to live beneath our means. We don’t have to have everything that is advertised or that everyone else has. Learn to be content with what we have and appreciate it.

For happiness in the new year or anytime, treat everyone like we want to be treated ... with dignity and compassion and kindness. It takes so little effort to show everybody that they are appreciated and accepted for who they are. Thank goodness, we are all different and unique so we have a variety of friends from all walks of life. Enjoy all of them as individuals.

Never give up on anybody. It seems that every family has a “problem child” who is different than we would hope. So many families have a member who is addicted to something, or otherwise wayward, and we would like to change them. But never, never give up on them. Miracles happen, and we will be amazed what happens to shock them into realizing they must accept help and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.

I have had such a person like that in my own family. At first I was very unsympathetic and thought they knew better, but now I truly believe they never intended to get hooked on a hurtful substance that would ruin their life and affect their families so much. It took lots of prayers and patience to get them through their ordeal. But by the grace of God and their wanting to change, they are now whole and respectable member of society and a wonderful parent. So never, never, never give up on someone you love. Their life and yours will be blessed beyond measure.

This world is full of people who are down and depressed. We can always have a listening ear and be positive around them. Never deprive someone of hope. It may be all they have.

Pray without ceasing. Pray, not for things but for wisdom and courage and the right words to uplift someone who needs a helping hand or kind word. Be tough but tenderhearted. Be kinder than really necessary. Remember, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated and loved.

If there is one thing I resolve to do next year, it is to keep my promises. If I say I will do something, then I will do it ... and be on time and have no excuses. I may have reasons, but no excuses for letting someone down. Reasons are different than excuses ... one is real and one is trivial.

I resolve to show cheerfulness, even when I don’t feel like it. I will act enthusiastic, and I will soon be enthusiastic. I will keep a positive attitude and be lighthearted and joyful. I will not say hurtful things but still keep my happy personality. (I cannot be around my joking family and be any other way.) I was raised to be somewhat sarcastic but harmless. In my family it denotes love and acceptance. I love it and never get my feelings hurt.

Along my life span, I have learned that overnight success usually takes about 15 years. There is a lot of “learning to learn” before we become truly successful, and then we still may see things that need improvement. We are never perfect and can always do better than we are now.

For 2022, I have made a bucket list of the things I want to accomplish. I am sure it will take the entire year to get it all checked off, but I am determined. It is in me to get it done. I can and I will. It is mostly downsizing and getting my affairs in order, but it takes time, and I am not getting any younger. What a mess I will leave for someone to sort out my treasures and junk.

Our happiness depends on the decisions we make. We must not be afraid to change course midstream. Follow your heart and indulge in what brings you joy. Seize the moment and take control of the only life you have. Adopt the motto, “Do it now!”

I am so tired of cakes and candy and desserts and cookies. I am ready for a pot of beans or something really simple and non-sweet. My granddaughter made this soup and she says it is absolutely delicious. I am making it now and it smells absolutely wonderful. I can hardly wait for supper. She calls it:

Ranch Chicken Soup

2 uncooked chicken breasts

1 can black bean (drained and rinsed)

1 can whole kernel corn (undrained)

1 small can chopped green chilies

1 can diced tomatoes

1 package dry Ranch Dressing mix

1 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

¼ cup water

1 package cream cheese

Place all in Crockpot, set on high for four to five hours, stirring occasionally. Shred chicken just before serving and top with choice of shredded cheese, or use cooked chicken and set Crockpot on low and heat until cheese melts.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food for Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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Goodrich writes a weekly column for the Enid News & Eagle​. Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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