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Happy 2018!! {Fresh New Year}

A fresh new year is here.  Happy 2018!  I truly wish for you your best year yet, filled with all that is most near and dear to your hearts.   

The new year is also the time we dedicate to starting anew, and pursuing our best selves and our best lives.  We make resolutions, we set goals, we make proclamations that begin with ‘from now on…’  Some of those things stick, and some don’t.

This year, I’m not focusing on ‘resolutions,’ or really a list of goals and accomplishments I’m working towards.  Don’t get me wrong – there are definitely things that I’d like to do this year, but I’m approaching it from an angle that connects a little more with my heart.  

I’m a high achieving person, and I sometimes get caught up in it all, and get hung up on the whole ‘accomplishments equal worthiness’ thing.  In truth, I’ve accomplished a lot (most of us have, if we really allow ourselves to admit it), and I’m proud of that.  But there’s always going to be someone who is doing more or ‘better’ than you are, so if you use that to measure your value, you’re going to come up short in some way, at some point.    The happiness you get from achieving a bunch of goals can be pretty great, but it is also fleeting, whereas the happiness you get from living a life that you love every day is everlasting.  Certain moments are amazing and you should enjoy them and everything they stand for (i.e. winning that award, or getting that promotion), but you can’t sustain a full, happy life off of a handful of accomplishments.  

Mitch Albom (who wrote “Tuesdays with Morrie”) said  in an interview with Oprah (you’ll probably want to listen to that Super Soul Podcast…like right now.) that when he met with Morrie, his former college professor, Morrie didn’t ask Mitch about any of his accomplishments.  Instead, he asked, “Are you happy?”  Think about that.    

I have a good life, and I’m generally pretty happy.  But, like a lot of us, I think I get caught up all too often in the daily grind.  It can all be too much, sometimes, and I can get overwhelmed, and focus on the stuff that doesn’t really matter too much in the grand scheme of things.  So, to ‘reset’ this year, I’m focusing on leaning in to the everyday stuff that makes me happy.  Leaning into the things, habits, actions, and connections that make me happy every day, not just ‘when I get these things done’ or ‘after I reach this milestone.’   I’d like to pay much more attention to beauty of the everyday; the magic of the ordinary.  I’m leaning into the things that will be significant in my everyday life and relationships with others, and also help me do things I’ve always wanted to do – because I have wanted to have that experience, and things and experiences that feel like they’re significant and meaningful and can do some good, not just for me, but hopefully for others.  

Don’t get me wrong – I totally believe in the whole SMART-type goals thing (Specific – Measurable – Attainable – Relevant – and Time-Bound).  For something you really need or want to get done, this works.  I also think writing down your goals and hopes and dreams is a good idea, because it makes them seem real, and it puts them ‘out there’ so the universe can do its work.

But I also believe in the less specific practice of leaning into an intention, like ‘I’m going to read more’ or ‘love on my friends’ more.  I saw somewhere that someone’s goal was that they wanted to read 32 books in 2017, and they read 42, so they were an awesome success.  Awesome goal, reading is great.  I have a book club, I think reading is so great.  But I’m left wondering – what did those 42 books mean to you?  What did you learn from them?  How did they change your life?  What if you read 25 books?   Did you fail?  Or what if you read 5 books, but they completely changed your outlook on your situation?  Was that still a success?  

If this kind of goal-setting is your thing, then go for it.  If you have a few of these things on your ‘list’ for 2018, I actually think that can be a good thing.  I have a few things like this in mind for myself this upcoming year, but when I review them, I’m careful to lead with meaning.  Less ‘what,’ more ‘why.’  Like, what would I be trying to do/change/be by reading 32 books in one year?  Don’t quantify everything, or make everything an open check-box.  You don’t want to be the person racing around, checking things off a list for 365 days.  Or maybe you do,  but I know I don’t.  I’ve been that person, and it’s not that fun.  

I’m inviting you to join me this year, this month, this week, or this day – whatever you’d like – in an exercise, journey, or whatever you want to call it, to do a few things to ensure the life you’re living everyday is filled with the things you love most, and your energy is spent doing the things you find most valuable and meaningful.  (Disclaimer:  I know every day can’t be blissfully spent doing things you love to do…if only!!… some stuff just has to get done, as unpleasant as it is; and some seasons are more task-y than others, as that list with the empty checkboxes hangs over our heads, but it’s all about balance; about always circling back to that foundation and heart of your life).

This isn’t going to be a ‘challenge’ kind of thing (I actually hate all the ‘challenges’ we often see all over social media), or a task-list or a ‘to-do’ oriented goal-setting type pursuit at all.  It’s intended to be a more natural, less pressured way of going about things.  And I don’t buy into the whole ‘new year, new you’ type thing at all.  I don’t think it works, and I don’t think you should look to start the new year with the ‘new me’ attitude.  Be the same you that you’ve always been, which is actually the best thing you could strive to be (really being the ‘real’ you…what a concept), and only look to amplify the best aspects of you.  Look to bring the things/people/experiences into your life that will make you better and fill your heart more.  And leave the things that need to be left right there they belong – BEHIND you.  

Love the you that you are.  Accept yourself as you are.  And take it easy on yourself.  Don’t set yourself up against a ridiculously long list of things to do and be because that’s what you think you’re supposed to do.  And don’t compare your life and the life you want to someone else’s.  Like the aforementioned life of chasing checkboxes, I’ve done this, too, and it’s not fun, either.  No one is perfect.  What is perfect?  Just be yourself. The best version of yourself.   Basic stuff.  But – it’s true – the basic stuff is often the hardest.  Actually, if embodying this mindset is the one and only thing you do in 2018, you would be  pretty darn successful.  

So, what now?  Every day in January, I’ll chat about a topic that’s on my mind and in my heart in this pursuit to focus in on what matters most to me, and how I’m working to make my everyday representative of the life I want to live.  That all sounds kind of heavy, but I promise, it’s not going to be!  I’ll cover some things I’ve put in place that take out some of the everyday hassle (so I can focus on the good stuff), and some things I’m working on putting in place.  It can be a ‘take what you want and leave the rest’ kind of thing.  I know there’s power in reading others’ stories, and there’s also power in ‘doing your thing’ alongside someone else who’s doing theirs, each able to offer encouragement when the other might stumble or get off track.  Look to me as someone who’s right alongside you, as someone who’s just trying to do the best with what I have and trying to live my best life.  Monday through Thursday will be new topics, and Friday there will be a recap of the week and a few other quick points to ponder.  

I’m excited for this upcoming month, and what’s to come in 2018!  Let’s do this!!

Image:  Krista Brackin Photography

One response to “Happy 2018!! {Fresh New Year}”

  1. Barbara says:

    I’m with you all the way on this! Your writing inspires me!

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