At the beginning of every new year millions of adults make resolutions to improve some aspect of their life: quit smoking, lose weight, save more money, spend time with family and friends. Though well-intentioned, few actually follow through and achieve their desired degree of success. While each of these goals are beneficial in their own right, on some level they fall short of what is truly most important in life. One who is able to quit smoking, for example, yet continually fights with their spouse has not made the more important improvement. 

I’ve had many clients who vow to learn to control their anger. And while their intentions hold great merit, their focus is somewhat misguided. If anger is a problem for them, then trying to control a problem is counterproductive. Would it make more sense to control cancer or actually heal from it? You see my point. If anger is creating a problem in your life, here are ten viable solutions:

1. Vow to be a kinder person. When one puts their energy into being thoughtful and polite, it serves as a natural preventative to being angry and both parties reap the benefits.

2. Be helpful. Reach out to whomever is in need. Good deeds produce feelings of joy and satisfaction.

3. See others through eyes that are non-judgmental. Recognizing that each person is fighting their own personal demons allows one to feel empathy rather than judgment.

4. Be all-embracing. Rather than exclude certain individuals from your “circle” of friends, extend your hand and include them in your life.

5. Practice being understanding. Remember that each of us has different beliefs, feelings, issues, etc. In your heart, be accepting and appreciative of those differences.

6. Choose compassion. Plato said, “Be kind for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle.” By removing expectations of who or what we think others should be, we can remain objective and sensitive to their personal struggles.

7. Remember to always be thoughtful. Putting the well-being of others ahead of our own engenders mutual respect and admiration for one another. There will be time to care for your own needs at a later date if necessary.

8. Give the gift of forgiveness to yourself and to others. Making bad decisions is a part of the human experience. Forgiveness frees us from being tied to the painful events of our past and allows for a possible reconciliation between both parties.

9. Live in peace. Most people believe that when you have your health  you  have everything.  Yet without inner peace we have nothing. Let go of the need to “have it your way”. Knowing that everything that happens is for a higher good allows us to live in peace with ourselves and others.

10. Be a healer to others, especially those who have hurt you. We have the ability to reach out and offer healing to one another. Take advantage of every opportunity. There were times when someone reached out to you. Reciprocation can go viral and heal the world.

So while the typical list of New Year’s resolutions has merit, my top ten have a great shelf life and can have a global impact and transform not only the individual but the world as well. Pick one or two. Give them a try. You’ll be amazed at how your life, and the lives of those around  you, is enriched.