Entering a new year allows many of us to muster up enough courage to make changes in our lives. We dream big. So big, in fact, that sometimes we forget that we can break habits and implement new ones at any point during the year. It’s always the right time to grow.
I could tell you about my many past attempts to reach happiness via lofty goals and little follow through, but instead I’m going to share with you the three things I’m focusing on in my life to continue to grow and expand in 2017.
ONE. 2017 is not a fresh start.
We may think we need to wait until Monday or the first of the month or the first day of a new year in order to grow. But that’s so far from the truth. It’s always the right time. Through our lives, there’s an opportunity for continual growth and rebuilding and each year (and day and moment) pours right into the next. It’s time we see a new year as a continuation of the next instead of a fresh start.
In the last half of 2016, I’ve reached a fulfillment and contentedness that I’ve been seeking for several years. Choosing to begin a meditation practice and immerse myself in all things positive has changed things for me and I’m so glad I didn’t wait for a milestone, change in season, or new year to start. I would have missed 5 months of growth. Start today– or better yet, right this moment– whatever you do, don’t wait. And if you fall off from your goals, don’t be afraid to forgive yourself and pick right back up where you left off.
TWO. Be thankful for your past selves.
The clock strikes midnight and we’re greeted with a new year, but 2017 you is not a new you. You are 2016 you and 2015 you and 2008 you and 2001 you and 1996 you and 1991 you– and all the versions of you that fall in between and beyond. The person you were a year ago helped you become the person you are now. We can’t shut out those past selves. We should instead be thankful for the purpose they served. We have the opportunity to build upon our past selves in every moment of every day.
That should provide you with a sense of relief. You do not (and should not) want to be a new you. Just be the best version of yourself you can be. Allow yourself to choose happiness, choose love, choose kindness, choose motivation, choose strength — without concern for a time in your life when you chose insecurity or jealousy, judgement or weakness. I’ve struggled with anxiety at various points in my life, but I’m not ashamed of that person who acted out of insecurity or feared others might find out she’s not perfect. Those moments have provided me with perspective in growing into the person I truly am.
THREE. Choose a theme or mantra instead of a resolution.
Resolutions and goals are great, but oftentimes we become discouraged at the slightest misstep. And those missteps are going to happen because life can get messy. Instead of focusing our energy on the details, why not immerse ourselves in a theme or mantra instead. Make decisions with this one sentiment as our largest priority. This allows us to be adaptable and limit feelings of shame or guilt.
Though I see the start of 2017 as a continuation of the growth I’m seeking in my life, I have named a mantra to serve as a reminder of the person I truly am at a soul-level. More of what matters and less of what doesn’t. Sure, it doesn’t pinpoint how many workouts I want to do per week or hours of volunteer time per month or additional loan payments I want to make… but it will guide my decisions. What I’m seeking is to simplify in all areas of my life. When I focus in on what’s most important to me and channel my energy here; I feel more joy and magic surrounds me. It’s not only in the amount of things I own, but the accounts I follow on social media, the activities I choose for my spare time, the television I watch, the news I read, the chores I prioritize. What do I want less of? Fear-based thinking, mindless time wasters, and materialistic nonsense. What do I want more of? Moments of creativity and imagination, joyful living, and intentional consumption and decision-making.
Whatever your hopes are for 2017 and beyond, believe they’re already true– and they will be yours. I wish for you simplicity, a grateful and joy-filled existence, and the courage to live a life authentic to who you truly are.
What mantra do you choose to live by?