Well I'm going to start off by being a negative Nancy and hopefully close on a more positive note. Did anyone else have an awful 2017 or was it just me?
It has not escaped me that there's always lots to be grateful for and I'm certainly cognizant of that, but I'm nursing a 2017 "hangover" and sure hoping for an exponentially better 2018.
With all bad things there is usually a promise of something better and maybe that's why we love the New Year so much. I'm not a typical New Year’s resolution setter, but I look forward to turning over a new leaf. The strategy that's worked well for me is to form a sentence, or pick a word to be my theme of the year and roll with that instead of creating complex and unrealistic goals. Much like people create daily affirmations or intentions, I set one for my year. I'm not looking to be a whole new person, but just an "upgraded" version of myself. I've been doing this since high school probably but I'll give you a brief re-cap.
In 2014 I made my word "diligent". At 24 I had a lot of work responsibilities and found myself being more of a space cadet than usual and felt I wasn't doing as good of a job as I could have been. So I started making meticulous to-do lists with check boxes that I still do and am way too proud of. I allowed myself to set small goals for each day rather than impossibly long lists and "diligently" followed through on those small goals. I organized each month into what had to be completed and gave myself adequate time to do those. I attached myself to my agenda and didn't commit to things I couldn't possibly do. I was "diligent" in meal planning, doing yoga, cleaning my house and whatever else needed problem solving I looked after with that word ringing through my mind. 2014 was my favorite personal development year and the habits I acquired have carried on into future years. I of course am more human than I like to admit, but happy I took the time to establish those habits.
2015 I set my goal to relax. Not like the "have a bath and get massages relax" but like "stop obsessing over the little things". I was somewhat successful with the exception of a few minor breakdowns. I stopped losing my mind when shelves weren't organized the way I wanted, and I started examining the possibility that maybe my way wasn't the only way to do things (shocking, right!). And in 2015 I got my biggest lesson from life to remind me I have only a small amount of control with the very early arrival of my son (12 weeks early, 1 pound 13oz). No amount of prenatal care, exercise, financial planning, or to-do lists could have ever stopped that from happening. Life will be what it will be, and more importantly than anything in the three months we waited for him to come home, we learned that a lot of love, strength and a positive mindset will carry you through those moments where life asserts itself as the boss.
2016 I made my goal for the year to "let go of my ego", because those who had to work with me for a decade sure knew all about that. Let's just say it's a work in progress. But, little did I know that would be the best possible affirmation with a newborn, and I'll tell you why. Ask me anything about vitamins and I might have an answer for you. Ask me how to solve all your problems and I'll have your five year plan made up. Try to prove me wrong and I will spend an unreasonable amount of time trying to figure out how I can be right (always room in the agenda for that!). I'm alright admitting I'm wrong but I'm sure going to put in the effort to be wrong as little as possible. Ask me about how to deal with a newborn: absolutely, 100% clueless. I finally found something I didn't have an answer to and what a wake-up call. Here I am holding this crying, non-stop reflux, supremely tiny baby at 2am thinking I finally don't have an answer, and I hated it. Fast forward to him being 2 and I have even fewer answers. When I finally stopped trying to be "right" and the only person who could know what to do, I listened. I took advice. I could not let my ego get in the way of seeking help and admitting I was lost. Holding onto my ego would have been a hindrance to the health of my son, and quite frankly irresponsible. That has been one of the most freeing things I have ever done. Help is okay, not knowing is okay, and there is comfort from people you would least expect. And admitting to your mother that she was right all those years is strangely liberating as well.
You know what I did for 2017? Nothing! Seriously. The New Year went by and life circumstances had taken a tremendous spin, and I had a one year old and thought to myself my goal was just to survive, but I found myself done with the year by July. I forgot all about my positive attitude and the lessons I had learned in previous years. I stopped reflecting and trying to change my perception of my situation. So I guess in hindsight 2017 wasn't my problem it was me, but I like blaming the year better so I'm sticking with that.
So here's what I've decided: my yearly affirmations work because the ONE year I skip them I had a year I'm not in love with. There is nothing naive or pathetic about trying to be a better version of yourself. There is no shame in trying to grow as a person. With that being said you would be absolutely right if you guessed I had a new affirmation on my to-do list with a check box for 2018.
It's to LAUGH more. To stop being so serious about things and look forward to getting out, and having fun and being social instead of approaching those situations with trepidation. To be silly with my 2 year old. To surround myself with hilarious people and watch funny movies all the time. My 28th birthday has past and I thought I was turning 29 so I just gave myself an extra year by not being skilled at math, and I'm not going to waste it by being boring. I'm certainly not rushing time but I'm looking forward to seeing what a year's worth of laughing does for 2019.
Do you set resolutions or affirmations? Or, with respect to the fact that some resolutions are personal, do you have any strategies you employ to get things going? If so, and if you would like to share, comment on this post below. I did say I have let go of my ego but I didn't say I don't like being bossy: if you don't have any personal development goals for 2018, maybe this is your year to try!! It’s not too late. Everyone knows the New Year doesn’t officially begin until the middle of January anyway ;) Happy New Year everyone, and the staff and I at Grove Health wish you all happiness and health in 2018.