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The Good Life: A new kind of goal this year
January 03, 2017 Lisa Betz   

Read more by Lisa Betz
On New Yearís Eve, my husband Frank and I ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Torrito. Many places were closed that day in anticipation of the holiday. We truly appreciate this restaurant, and I took a moment to share this with our server. The place is family owned, and each member of the family working there is warm and smiling, serving delicious food with wonderful energy. We visited for awhile, chuckling about the little brother being a huge ray of sunshine. The conversation left each of us with a warm heart and a happy feeling.

Then my friend Tiffany, a Detroiter, shared the following story today. She is wonderfully articulate, passionate, and a lovely person:

ďToday is a less than stellar day for me, and I just stopped by Subway in my less than stellar mood. The woman who prepared my sandwich was such a ray of light, ya'll. When she smiled at me and genuinely asked how I was doing, my spirits were automatically lifted. This may sound silly, but I deeply appreciated her presence, precision, and the joy she took in creating my sandwich. THANK YOU to those in the service industry who bring joy to your work...you've no idea just how much your light may be shining on people who really need it.Ē

Tiffany got me thinking about the goals we set for ourselves each new year. Frank reported today that the YMCA had been packed. Nobody needs a statistic to demonstrate the typical spike in gym memberships in the new year.

The most common new year goals are to lose weight, eat right, get fit, be healthy; all worthy endeavors, and some version of which have landed on my own list this year. Articles abound informing us how to set our new goals, providing tips and tricks for staying on point with them beyond the statistical 2 weeks before many give up.

Why not change the approach to goal-setting this year? Letís explore a goal that focuses on others rather than ourselves. We can harness our energy for the benefit of others in addition to our personal improvement goals.

Each person in this world has a choice about how to greet the day. No matter what you are experiencing, there is always a choice about this. Nazi death camp survivor Viktor Frankl demonstrated this in his memoir ďA Manís Search For Meaning.Ē Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

If Frankl, who saw his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perish while he labored in four different camps, can find meaning and purpose in a Nazi concentration camp, we each can choose to greet the day with love.

According to Tiffanyís testimony, a person who makes sandwiches has the power to be the most important person in someone elseís day.

This example also proves that no person is less important than anyone else in this game of life. We aren't playing Monopoly, friends, we're playing something not yet named, this new game involves a map in unknown territory that causes us to search our heart for the courage to express our love. This game requires participants to shower love in every dark corner. For some, it sounds easy, and for others, it sounds difficult. How does it land on you? Letís play this game called "Love," where the person with the kindest, warmest, most loving heart is a winner, as is everyone whose life that person touches.

What does this game called "Love" look like? Itís meaningful contact, a real instead of shallow conversation with your grocery carrier, a choice to invest something genuine in casual circumstances.

What are some ways to make another personís day?

When I was a teen, my dad once scraped my windshield for me on a snowy day. I left the house to go to school and saw his love right there on the windshield. Such a simple act. Sometimes my neighbors shovel my walk before I get a chance to. When this happens, I always feel delight, my heart swelling in appreciation. Experiences such as this set the energy for a whole day of goodness, even serving as inoculation when one hits a bump later in the day.

The best aspect of this approach is that both parties receive the gift. It feels as good to give as it does to receive.

What do you think, is it a worthy goal to make 2017 kinder and gentler by opening our hearts to others and setting a daily goal of making someoneís day?
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