Some surveys say that two thirds of all Americans report they are not “very happy” in their lives. How sad for all of us that with today’s opportunities, tens of millions of people say their lives aren’t as happy as possible.
If your life needs more positivity today, here are five ways you can impact your life path, your community, and your world in 2017 and beyond.
Do good things for others, and share others’ good deeds, too
There are literally tens of thousands of things you can do to change your attitude—and our world, too. The “Impact Center” on my website has many authentic stories about individuals—all volunteers—doing good things for others. Lots of testimony and other data shows volunteering adds great joy and meaning to people’s lives.
My Impact Center also lists many organizations where you can volunteer.
We all want our lives to feel full and valuable. It can be hard to find good ways to make this happen. We can turn to other's stories for inspiration. If you have news stories about people’s good deeds, send them to me. I’ll try to share them so people like you can be inspired by the good things that are happening in our world today.
Boldly go somewhere you haven’t gone before
Travel can be both educational and fulfilling. In the book I’m working on, I talk a lot about the things travel taught me about how fortunate I am in many ways, and what I have learned from others. I wouldn’t have learned these things without going to Minneapolis, Finland, China, and many other places.
Instead of going somewhere you’ve already been, try seeing a new place. Trying and doing new things on day-trips and journeys far from home can literally change how you see the world and … you, too.
Vote: If you don’t vote, you can’t complain….so vote if you can.
There are 200 million registered voters in the US. Washington DC—and our state capitols—can seem very far away. We saw in 2016 how a few people affected the outcomes in many elections. They, literally, reshaped the future.
Tens of millions of Americans choose to get out to vote in all elections, whether in the Presidential race or for local school boards. In spite of how disconnected politicians can seem and however disgusted we are with what they do—or fail to—voting is our best way to impact their choices today, and tomorrow, too.
Whatever you believe and wherever you live, please vote if you can. Your impact will be multiplied if you help others who need assistance to get to your local polling place. Doing so doesn’t take much time. More importantly it lets your friends, family and neighbors have a voice in our democracy.
Advocate for causes you care about.
State legislators and local politicians are even likelier to respond because they know it takes fewer votes to change their chances for reelection. Even if someone doesn’t respond to you, you can say you tried, rather than proving that: if you don’t speak up, they can’t hear you.
If you really care about something, use social media to organize boycotts or support for organizations or places affected. Businesses and governments often respond to economic action. Because economic action doesn’t risk public safety in ways some protests can, it can give you a voice without giving your opponents ammunition against your cause.
When you do choose to speak up, try to express yourself in ways that will help your cause more than hurting it.
Look out for our four footed friends
More than sixty-five percent of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs have pets. Having pets brings joy and love into our lives. Having pets also increases life expectancy and health in older people. With all they joyfully give to us, our animals deserve the best care we can give them in return.
If you are a pet owner, please ensure they are contained—either in your house or at the most, your yard. Animals that wander have lives that are much shorter than those that are well contained.
An average litter of three to five kittens, or about six puppies, can live for more than eighty years combined. By letting your pet have babies, you’re taking responsibility for a lot of innocent life with less power to shape its future than you have. Please be sure people are committed to take the little ones before letting your animal breed. Millions of animals don’t have homes. They often go to local shelters each year. Many will be killed because homes can’t be found for them. Spaying or neutering our pets can change this fate.
The unluckiest animals will die in feral colonies or under a car—maybe yours.
It then becomes your honor, duty and joy to make that life as good and long as you can.
Doing this will make you feel good for a very long time.
Whatever you do, make this year one that you can look back on with pride, joy and the sense that you are preparing to make 2018 even better than 2017 will be for you.