Happiness Tips for 2012 — An Interview with Jim Ryan

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It’s here.  The new year.  2012.

Each year seems to come around faster and faster.  Since starting www.timetoplay.com, I look to find resources to make life better.  I’m working hard to stop being a workaholic and trying to learn how to “play” and to enjoy life.  As I continue to ask questions I hope to pass along some things I learn from the amazing professionals I meet in my quest.

Meet Jim Ryan, an author, happiness expert and motivational speaker.  Jim and I met a few years ago when he spoke at a meeting I had attended.  Jim has spent a lifetime teaching and counseling people.  His life changed when he volunteered in a local prison to teach a course in personal development when he started sharing his message to a larger audience.  Jim was the first professional I invited to be a professional resource on the timetoplay.com project.

Jim’s intention is to spread “Simple Happiness”, which is the name of one of the books he has written.  Jim and I had a wonderful time discussing some of his lessons during our 30 minute podcast on 12/7/2011 (TimetoPlay.com’s Empower Half Hour).  It was taped — you can listen by clicking here.

Each week Jim emails his followers an “Aha Moment”.  It’s a quote or thought that makes you go, Aha!  Something easily implementable or thought provoking that can make your day, week or life better.  His book has 52 Aha Moments within its pages.  The 52 chapters were developed to enable a reader to take a chapter a week and practice what they learn to make their life happier.

Some chapters of Simple Happiness that provide fabulous information for us to say, “Aha” are the chapter on what makes you happy – Jim had noted in this chapter that some people can’t answer a question about what makes them happy.  What makes you happy?  Are you a person who can answer this question?  If not, Jim recommends you evaluate this, maybe reflect on the past about what has, in your life, made you happy. Everyone needs something that makes them happy.  Develop your passion.

Other chapters I enjoyed were the “do you have time” chapter, the “don’t make assumptions” chapter, the “is someone living in your head rent free” chapter, the “appreciate, appreciate, appreciate” chapter and the “follow your bliss chapter”.  During our podcast we discussed the Don’t Make Assumptions chapter (which kind of goes along with Is Someone Living in Your Head Rent Free chapter) .  I would guess most of us are hard on ourselves when we think we know what someone else thinks.  Maybe our thoughts are a result from a conversation, meeting, phone call, email that took place with that person.  Maybe you have thoughts resulting from NO conversation, return call or email and think you know why or what happened that there was no communication.  And, you feel bad.  In this circumstance, Jim said to notice your thoughts.  He said you have no idea what’s in another person’s head, and, many times, it isn’t actually as it seems.

We spent a bit of time discussing those who may be struggling in this economy.  Things can feel devastating or overpowering.  Jim’s advice:  It’s how we deal with what happens to us.  He said that, although it might be hard, try to make the best of your situation.  Note that what happened may not have been your fault, and might prove to actually be an amazing opportunity.  For example:, if you were laid off from your job, this might be the perfect time to evaluate what you would like to do with the rest of your life — it might actually be a silver lining.  Maybe you have an interest in another field you can now explore.  Jim suggested:

  • volunteering, which makes people feel good, builds up self esteem and, you never know who you might meet.
  • step back and reevaluate your career.
  • picture yourself in the workforce and try not to dwell on negative thoughts.

Assignments for this, the beginning of 2012:

— Write down what you did well in 2011 .  Where did you experience growth?  Where did you have a positive experience?

Goal Setting:  Write down 3 goals for each of 3 areas for what you would like to accomplish in 2012:  financially, material/fun and personally.  Read what you wrote a week later.  Pick out the 1 most important goal for each category.  Write it on a card and get it laminated.  Read it every day.  Carry it with you.  When you continue to think the same thoughts over and over again it encourages you — Jim said that we will accomplish what we think about most.  He said that, based on what’s on our mind, we’ll make choices in our daily lives that will help us make it happen.

Happy New Year.

I wish you a year of promise and happiness.


“Definition of Old Age — When Regrets Take the Place of Dreams” – Jim Ryan

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Embrace the TimetoPlay philosophy:  You have to be happy, healthy, have money and a work | life balance to have quality of life.  Timetoplay is a people helping people project — if we all work together we can help each other have a better life.  Check out http://timetoplay.com to see all the wonderful articles published by our amazing professionals.  It’s time to Enjoy Life.

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