And so it begins. The new year. A time for new beginnings, new chances – a time to hit the reset button and really buckle down on making your life what you want it to be. Everyone’s getting busy with their resolutions, and they’re all excited about them now and this month will be extremely productive for them! But for many of us after that first month or two we start to fall behind, fall back into old habits, or make excuses for why next year would already be a better time to change.

Today I was looking back on my past New Year’s Eve celebrations (I even made a lovely little collage, as you can see!) and I was struck with all of the changes I have gone through over the years. I’m thinking about all the ways I have grown, have bettered myself, have become more of who I want to be. Looking back at all of these pictures, though, I was also struck with the pieces of me that have stayed the same, remained intact, the pieces of my core that are inherently me. We are all so focused on change, and on “becoming” this or that, which is great! It can bring out the best in us that we never realized, sets goals and standards and drives us forward. But in the process of all this we tend to forget or overlook how far we have come, how wonderful we already are. We don’t give ourselves enough credit. We don’t appreciate the parts of us that have made it possible to get this far, that have stuck with us along the way, the parts that the people alongside us love and cherish.

I don’t remember what my exact 2015 New Year’s resolution was. All I know looking back is that I spent the last year reclaiming myself. And I think I’ve done a pretty damn good job of it. This is my first year out of school, likely for the rest of my life, and as I try to figure out what I want to do next I have people coming at me with talk about 5 year plans, long term goals, short term goals; “where do you see yourself in X number of years?” What do I think about all of this? I think I don’t have a singular place I want to end up or a singular career I want to end up having. I have many things I’m passionate about, many things things I want to do, adventures I want to have, and many things I want to simply be a part of my life. It doesn’t add up to one single plan. A friend of mine gave me a marvelous pep talk that ended saying I could do all of these things, move home, move back, do this, do that, etc., and I could hate it all, decide none of it’s for me, fail at everything, and I’ll still only be 26 years old. WELL then. If that doesn’t put things in perspective I don’t know what does.

So here’s what I have to say about 2016. If you’re where I am and you just have a mess of options, cover your wall with them. Make a dream board. Make a list of what you love about yourself, what others love about you, your strengths. Keep it somewhere you can glance at it and be inspired by it. Make a list of what’s most important to you, what you love to do, what you’re passionate about. Print out pictures of the all the places you want to go. Whatever gets you inspired and motivated and moving, collect it and keep it where you can see it! A mentor of mine said “Do one thing every day that furthers your career.” If you have multiple career options, you can do one small thing for each one every day, or dedicate each day to one career. Just get out of bed and DO something. [But don’t drive yourself into the ground. Remember it is ok to take a day off! Your mental, emotional, and physical health are more important than any bank statement. Your “Do something” for the day could be a luxurious, soul soothing bubble bath, and I would still call that productive!]

So this year I’m not making a specific resolution. I’m choosing a word. My word for this new year is Action. Let’s create. Let’s explore. Let’s inspire.

2014 was rough. 2015 was better. Now let’s kick 2016’s ass.

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