It’s been another full year, one of growth, gratitude, transformation, and resiliency. 2018 is just a few days away, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it has in store. It feels good to enter the New Year with confidence and anticipation. As it approaches, allow yourself to reflect on your successes of the past year, big and small, and all the ways you continue to grow into the self you desire to be. Think of all the lives you touched, risks you took, goals you achieved, and setbacks you learned from. What stands out to you? Here are some of my most powerful learnings of the past 12 months.
Find joy in where you are. It’s easy to desire more out of life, from your relationships, your work, your home, your belongings, your health, your social standing. But achieving more in one area only leaves you feeling insufficient in others, and cannot fill your need for acceptance, connection, and self-love. Find joy in what you already have, and in where you’re at presently. Our circumstances are continually changing, so if you’re waiting for your next relationship, child, home, job, or hobby to make you happy, you’ll continually feel empty.
Treat yourself. Stop depriving yourself of what you love, and start going for it. Reread a favorite book for the tenth time, buy flowers, sleep in without feeling guilty, subscribe to a magazine you want to read, invest in a hobby, take time to travel. We can always talk ourselves out of doing the things we really want to do, but what does that leave us?
Practice gratitude. The benefits are endless, and once you develop a mindset of being grateful, you’ll start to realize that there’s a lot to be thankful for, even in the midst of your toughest moments. Nothing is too small, or unworthy of your appreciation.
Don’t discount your accomplishments. Even if they’re not ones you were striving for. Sometimes we become so focused on reaching a particular goal, that we ignore each of our smaller successes along the way, or growth in other areas. I like having something to work toward — big goals, small goals, and in-between goals. But I’ve learned that some of my proudest accomplishments weren’t ones I imagined, and that’s ok. They’re no less significant than the large, long-term goals I continue to work toward.
Make friends with time. There won’t ever be enough time to do everything we want, and we’re regularly faced with tough choices around how we spend the valuable minutes of our days. Often, we have little choice, with a set number of hours being dedicated to our work, and the myriad responsibilities we have to keep up with. As our lives become more complex, our free time naturally diminishes. But as short as our days, weeks, and months can feel, we can alleviate some of the pressure we impose upon ourselves to be continually moving. Take small pauses, give yourself breaks throughout the day, stay in when you don’t feel like going out. Relish your idle time.
Related article: The Empty Promise of Productivity and the Art of Slowing Down, featured on DailyGood.org.
Take risks. Sometimes, the best way to get to know yourself better, is to learn what you’re capable of asking for. When things naturally fall into place, we can become dependent on this happening with everything we want. But sometimes we have to ask for things in order to receive them, even if we don’t think we’re going to get them. Be comfortable with asking for what you want, and see what the world delivers.
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