It’s the end of the year and I know what you’re thinking; 2016 can kiss my…! I’ve got to figure out a way to make life suck less.

So 2016 sucked for you

Your dog died. Your car died. Your mom is a total self-obsessed psycho who only lives to bother you. Your diet was a joke. You have $5 in the bank and you just marked your 30th Never-Having-Put-Money-in-Savings anniversary. Congratulations! 2016 officially sucked.

But wait. 2016 isn’t living. It’s just a name we put to a measure of time. And “suck” is a verb, an action word. How can something not living perform an action? It can’t. 2016 didn’t suck, maybe you did. WAIT, no! Don’t read that sentence. You don’t suck. You read my blog and you’re awesome and amazing and please forgive me!

What I meant to say is maybe some suck-y things occurred in your life this year. Maybe you just couldn’t get over them and put together, 2016 was a big ball of crap. I’m saying maybe there is a different way to live life, maybe there are some strategies you can put in place daily to make your year turn out a little less suck-y next late December.

Liz, you don’t know my life

You’re right. I don’t know what happened to you this year. I don’t know your life story and I sure as heck don’t know about your crazy mother! However, there is something I know very well. I know my life story and my crazy mother. Let me share some suck-y things from my life this year.

  • My husband was in Afghanistan over 5 months of this year
  • I had to stop helping my mother financially and subsequently became homeless
  • I tried to buy a house and the deal fell through
    • Twice! This happened twice
  • The first dog I ever owned that was mine, yeah, we had to put him down
  • I lied to my husband about money and had to deal with that whole thing when he found out
  • My child suffered a mild brain injury
  • My IUD is making me insane (migraines, more than mild vertigo, acne, severe inner rage, mood swings, and depression) and when they tried to remove it I fainted on the table and was sick for about 48 hours
    • Yep, found out yesterday I need to have my first surgery to remove it
  • We found more than one spot of water damage in our RV and my poor husband has been working like crazy trying to fix it while we live in it (380 square feet people, think about it.)

Okay, so I think I’ve shared enough. I’ve had my fair share of crap in 2016. So what’s my point? All these things happened to me and I still think 2016 was the best year of my life!

You are in charge of how much your life sucks

I know, groundbreaking. Yeah yeah, you’ve heard it a thousand times and nothing changes. The power of positivity, it’s real! I’ll just “keep swimming” when my car breaks down on the side of the road 20 miles from home and my phone is dead and it’s snowing and my kid is locked inside the car with no heat… Sure you’re right, Liz.

Okay, that would be a time to panic and think well dang. But there are little things you can do each day to make life, well, suck less. Below you’ll find 5 things I do EACH AND EVERY DAY to make my life better. Try these every day and I guarantee, you are on your way to a great day.

5. Unplug at least 30 minutes of the day

That’s right folks. Ya gotta turn off those electronics. Put your phone in the other room. Leave the remote back on the table. Whether you use that time to connect with your spouse, laugh with your child, read a book, or lock yourself in a dark closet and celebrate the silence, just get away from technology! You need a break from the constant stimulation.

Think about it this way. Your brain is a computer. It is constantly working, inputting messages from all 5 senses. Even as you sleep, it is plugging away at keeping you entertained. And just like other computers, sometimes it needs to be powered down. Turning off the TV, getting your phone out of your face, and letting your mind focus solely on what is in front of you will help your mind relax and reduce stress.

4. Acknowledge the good

Didn’t your mama ever tell you to count your blessings? This can be hard when we look around and only see stuff to fix. My house needs cleaning. I have to take my car to the shop tomorrow. Where are those pills for the dog? Sometimes it just seems like the world is in constant need of repairs and I’m the only handyman up for the job.

Try something for me. Write down 3 things at the end of each day that went smoothly, things you didn’t have to “fix.” Liz, you don’t really do this, do you? Yes, I do! It’s called a Gratitude Journal, and if you’re thinking “ain’t nobody  got time fo’ dat” then dang it, I suppose you can text it to yourself. Seriously though, acknowledge the things that went well in your life that day. Take time to say, yes I made a cup of tea and it didn’t spill and heck, I didn’t even burn my tongue! 

I promise a routine of this will make life suck less.

3. Stop complaining

This goes hand in hand with #4.

STOP COMPLAINING. Honestly, you’ve got to stop. It is like a poison. Have you ever heard the more you hear it the more you believe it? Well, hello! The more you complain about something, the truer it becomes. It’s like an abusive relationship where your mouth is the abuser and your life is constantly getting beaten!

If you’re complaining about how suck-y your job is, stop. It only becomes more suck-tastic! If you are always whining about your kid’s misbehavior, it only amplifies it! Think on that for a minute, then go to the next paragraph.

Keep thinking.

Okay, go on.

2. Say no when you really don’t want to do it

This is something I have serious trouble with. I am a people pleaser and I love to serve. Need a ride, sure I’m free! Babysit? I’d love to. Dinner on Friday? Let me just cancel my TV & PJ date I had planned for me, myself, and I.

Lies. All lies. I don’t want to do any of those things, but up until recently I would have done them all. And it was stressful. I would be in agony over the plans I made all week. I scheduled so much with and for other people, I hardly ever had time for me.

But Liz, isn’t service important? Yes, service is important and you should always strive to help others. However, I am now learning there is a line that can be drawn. I don’t have to attend social functions just because everyone else is going. I don’t have to babysit just because you asked me to (I really just hate it with all my heart, please no!) I’m learning that I only have so much time on this earth and I need to spend it on doing things that make me happy, not things that others think I should be doing (like going to every social function I’m ever invited to or signing up for every single service project at church).

Since I have stopped saying yes to things that really bring me no happiness, I have created so many amazing memories doing things I love. I’ve started this blog, I play outside with my kid more, my husband and I go on more dates, and let’s not forget I AM IN MY PAJAMAS A LOT MORE! And isn’t that what life is all about? Being in our pajamas? Being with the ones we love?

1. Let it go

I refuse to make a Frozen reference. Oh, crap.

Very seriously though, this one is so hard but so imperative. I feel like there are so many out there that know this rule but don’t know how to apply it. For this reason, here is a very specific list of daily things you should let go, let slide, go with the flow, whatever you want to call it and how to do it.

  • Other drivers
    • Seriously, friend. Getting mad in the car is so easy, but think about it. The other driver does not give a crap how he is driving, that much is obvious. And he cares even less how you feel about it. Let go of the anger that is pumping in your veins right now. It is only hurting you. That driver cannot feel your rage.
  • Rude strangers
    • Again, those people do not care about you and your exchange with them is too brief to let them get the best of you.
  • When your spouse does something that drives you nuts
    • Ohmygosh, enough with the chewing! Why does she have to always chew like that?
      Calm down. She isn’t chewing like that to make your life miserable. Let it go.
  • The universe is out to get you
    • 2016 sucked and nothing can ever go right! Here here! With that attitude, nothing will ever go right. Refer to #5-2 for a new perspective
  • Nothing got done today
    • Life happens and sometimes our to-do list gets lost in the hustle. Good thing there’s tomorrow, or the next day.
  • You did something stupid to someone you love
    • Apologize, sincerely. Really mean it and allow them to say whatever they need to say. Then the ball is in their court and you can let go of the guilt.
  • Someone you love upset/annoyed/hurt you
    • You cannot control others. If it is big enough, tell them how you are feeling by their action. Then let go. Holding on will only continue to upset/annoy/hurt you. Letting go will allow for healing.
  • Your boss should be let go…from his job
    • Honestly, you have little control over this. Do your job the best you can and unless it is a threatening situation, let it go (and possibly work your butt off to get his job!)

So there you have it, 5 things to make your life suck less. Good luck on a new year, new you!

Comment below any strategies you’re planning on implementing in the new year to make it better than 2016!


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17 thoughts on “New Year, New You: 5 Ways to Make Life Suck Less

  1. Attitude is everything!! We are all have “stuff” happen to us and it’s all about how we react to it that makes the difference.

    1. It can be super difficult IN THE MOMENT, but once you tell yourself that will be your mindset and drill it in IN THE MOMENT, it will become easier and easier.

  2. I made a box labelled “2016 SUCKS” and filled it with all my grievances from the year (miscarriage, housing sale dilemmas, job stress, school stress, etc.) Then I burned that box to ashes on the back steps! Now I’m moving forward into 2017 with HOPE.

  3. #3 is so important. I grew up in a family of complainerss and insulters, so these have been really hard habits to break. I work on them every day!

  4. I <3 this, Liz. I've done much better in 2016 (it almost totally did not suck!) but still frequently struggle with #4&5.

    Unless you're a masochist, you're not going to volunteer for things like crazy parents or money problems or being homeless. But solving our own problems makes us better and stronger. This is one reason why I don't envy people who seem to have comfortable lives. Sure, it'd be nice to lay on the beach and drink mai-tais all day, every day, but good God would we be dumb. No thanks.

    1. Thanks!
      Yes, solving our own problems and learning to focus on what we can control really can have a profound impact on our lives.

      1. I also decided that if something didn’t make a difference I wasn’t going to do it. As much as possible, anyway. It’s dumb how much I worry about things I think I *have to* do. No, I don’t!

        So glad your blog is off to such an awesome start. Happy New Year to you – woo-hoo!

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