Every year, around the first of January, people sit down and make some pretty lofty New Year Resolutions. They try to set goals to help them become better people and/or to try to live better lives. They want to be able to look back and feel like this was the year that everything changed for the better. Instead of making resolutions you can’t stick to, here are some guiding principles to think on I believe can help make this your best year ever!
This might be easier said than done, but it is well worth the attempt. Actively choose to not let the same things that bothered you last year bother you this year. Avoid as many stress triggers as you possibly can. Be quick to forgive and move on from things you cannot control. Develop stress management techniques such as meditating, yoga, counseling/therapy, or exercise to help you cope with any stress that does come your way. By minimizing or eliminating stress, you will help to improve your overall physical, mental, and emotional health.
There is something about giving to others that just makes you feel warm and fuzzy, isn’t there? Knowing that something you did made a positive impact in someone else’s life makes you feel good. However, did you know that several studies have found that people who make it a habit to donate or volunteer report tangible health benefits? People who consistently give back have been reported to experience lower levels of depression, stress/anxiety, heart disease, and chronic pain. Conversely, they experience higher levels of immune function and social connectedness. Not to mention it just plain makes you feel good inside, so do it as much for others, as yourself!
Say ‘Yes’ more
We often pass up opportunities to do things we really want to do. It could be because of fear. Or because of that logical voice in our heads that whispers we don’t have the time/skill/money/(insert excuse here) to do whatever it is that our hearts desire. Do yourself a favor and tell that voice to shut it’s mouth! Do something (or several things) this year that makes your heart race with excitement when you think about it. Say YES to dreaming big and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
Say ‘No’ More
On the flip side, don’t be afraid to say no to doing things you really don’t want to do. Instead, focus on spending your time doing those things that bring you joy. Our time is far too limited to waste time doing things that don’t enrich our lives.
A few things I’ll be saying No to more this year:
- time spent on social media
- working for free (honestly, no one values your work no matter how good it is when you give it away.)
- things I feel “obligated” to do
- personal guilt and self-imposed expectations
- excess sugar (stay tuned for lots more info on why and how I plan to do this)
Many of us make things in our lives far more complicated than they need to be. Yep, that would be me. This year I’ll be making a conscious effort to simplify things. Getting rid of as much clutter as I can from my life. And I welcome you to join me and do the same. Not just in your physical environments, but in your relationships. If something (or someone) doesn’t serve a positive purpose in your life, consider getting rid of it. Cut the fat in all areas of your life until only the necessities remain. I can almost guarantee that once you get rid of all of the extraneous things, you will find life to be much more positive and pleasant.
Need help getting started? Try one of these great ideas that have worked for me
- 2016 in 2016 (this is a personal decluttering project I used to do each year, I’ll revive it for us to start again in 2016 and send out an update for you!)
- 100 Things Weekend
- Kon Mari Method
- 40 Bags in 40 Days
Ok, this might sound horrible, but the truth is that one problem many people have (especially women and moms) is that we just don’t do enough for ourselves. It is okay to take time to take care of yourself. Let me repeat that, it is okay to take time to take care of yourself. In fact, I highly recommend it! Have you ever ridden on a plane before? You know that part of the safety briefing right before take off when they talk to you about what to do during an emergency? Specifically, the part when they talk about placing your oxygen mask on BEFORE trying to help others with theirs. The same goes for life. When you take care of yourself, you are better able to take care of others. So take time for yourself this year.
Learn new skills.
Have you ever wanted to learn how to speak another language? Or master the art of origami? Does the idea of taking writing or business classes thrill you? Don’t just dream about it – do it! Make it happen. These days there is really no excuse for not learning a new skill. The magic of the internet means that you can almost always find a course or tutorial (often for cheap or free) that will teach you how to do practically anything you want to do. All you have to do is get out there and find it. Google is your best friend!
Skills I’m hoping to learn this year:
- How to play the ukulele
- Flexibility (I’ve got a few online programs I’m considering, I’ll tell you more about those soon!)
- I’d also like to try my hand at video
I’m already planning to take these workshops, let me know if you want to try one with me. I’d love to have an accountability partner
See the world. (or your own backyard)
This world is just too darn big, beautiful, and exciting to spend it in just one place! Make it a point to do a bit of travelling this year. Affordable travel options have made it easier than ever to visit other cities and countries. So get your passport and make it happen! You could start small by having weekend getaways in your own state. Or quick visits to neighboring states. Then you can work your way up to international travel!
Be more open.
Expand your mind and your experiences by being open to seeing, hearing, learning, and even believing new things. Meet new people. Talk to them. Ask questions. Engage. You never know what amazing things you will discover when you simply open yourself up to the possibilities.
You may not be perfect (who is?!), but I guarantee that there are things about you that are freaking amazing! Things that other people see in you that you probably fail to acknowledge or dismiss right away. Even with our faults, every single one of us has something to offer the world and the people in it.
Your strengths, and your weaknesses. Embrace your accomplishments and your mistakes. They are part of who you are. It is ok to want to change and grow – it is a part of life. However, don’t make the mistake of forgetting to appreciate you for who you are right now. It’s all part of the journey. Take time each day to speak kindly to yourself and look for ways to fill your cup. Adopt some positive affirmations and say them to yourself every morning in the mirror. You’d be surprised how just this one simple act can change your whole perspective.
Hope you’ve been inspired by something you’ve read here to make this your best year ever! It doesn’t have to be rigid or hard even, just simple changes a long the way that lead to a whole new outlook and great appreciation for the life we have right now.
Happiest New Years my friends … even if it is a little late :)