A Dad’s Advice: Resolutions for a Good Life 1

Dear Kids:

Your mom has asked me to say some things your dad would tell you if he was still living. I didn’t know your dad, but I know he loved you more than life itself.  I know because I’m a dad too.

I’m sorry your dad is gone, but there’s no permanence in life. We’re all here for a moment or two. Then we’re gone: a memory, a room full of stuff, a closet full of clothes, a box of pictures left behind. We all think we have more time.

So go live, but first, here are 10 resolutions that are good for every year:

  1. Forgive. Forgiveness is the key to love. It’s what allows a broken heart to heal. Forgiveness sets us free. Speak your mind honestly and openly – but in the end, forgive.
  2. Love. Love is not what you say or what you feel but what you do. It’s reliably showing up with integrity. It’s a willingness to sacrifice, compromise, commit and share everything you have – and everything you are. It’s a promise to be your authentic self – good, bad, or ugly. These are my three non-negotiables: 1) No hitting, 2) No cheating, and 3) No saying “I hate you” when you’re angry. Love grows with compassion, empathy and kindness.
  3. Be courageous. Courage picks us up when we’re down and helps us stand a little taller. It helps us get through the day, even when all we want to do is hide. It helps us ask for a raise, explore new opportunities and defend those who need protection (including ourselves). Courage is your friend, so nurture it. But do it quietly and with a little compassion.
  4. Be humble. Learn the delicate balance between courage and humility. Strength doesn’t mean overconfidence and courage doesn’t require fearlessness. We can be both bold and gentle, tough and kind, brave and vulnerable. Humility is the sweet spot between arrogance and timidity. Finding it takes practice and patience.
  5. Laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and it makes life more fun. When there’s conflict, try replacing judgement with curiosity. It’s okay to laugh about our silliness, but remember to share your good humor with a little sensitivity.
  6. Learn. We stop living when we stop learning. Our brains have evolved to learn, adapt, innovate, overcome, solve problems and work things out. Commit yourself to a life of learning and you’ll never be bored. You’ll always feel inspired to evolve.
  7. Practice integrity. Integrity is doing what you say you’ll do – or making it right if you can’t. People will remember you based on the promises you keep and the way you follow through with heart.
  8. Cry. As humans, we’re wired to feel better after a good cry. The same is true for smiling. Mirror neurons in our brains pick up the emotions of those around us, so spend more time with people who are happy, courageous, kind and fun.
  9. Stay clear-headed. Go easy on the things people get addicted to; they’re just distractions. They dull our senses and keep us on the sidelines. Sobriety gets us back in the game where the rewards are tangible. Remember: no powders, no needles, no recreational prescription pills. Go easy on booze and loveless sex. The good life is maintaining enough sobriety to know when you’ve had enough.
  10. Believe. Believe you can, and you can. You’re worth it, but no one will give it to you; you have to go get it. There will be setbacks, triumphs – and also epic journeys that lead to places far off the beaten path. Look around and see the abundance in everything. Know that you’re right where you need to be. (Unless you’re not – and then scoot right out of there!) Learn from your mistakes; they’re blessings, every one. Go easy on yourself. Above all, be intentional.

Evan Zislis, a professional organizer and strategies consultant, wrote the Amazon-bestseller ClutterFree Revolution: Simplify Your Stuff, Organize Your Life & Save the World and Aphrodisiac: Clearing the Cluttered Path to Epic Love, Great Sex & Relationships that Last. More info at MyIntentionalSolutions.com or 970.366.2532.