It is the beginning of 2017.  I think all of us have high hopes and dreams every time a new year begins.  We make resolutions, have high hopes, we tell ourselves this year will be different.  It will be better, I will be better.

But, after a short time, perhaps only days or weeks, we get discouraged and fall off track.  We succumb to our old ways.  We stay the same –  year after year…. after year.  Only a few fortunate people actually make lasting changes.  I used to call these people the “strong” ones.  They must have a stronger constitution, be more emotionally intelligent, have more energy and motivation than the rest of us.  I realize now though, that I’m not the weak link and we all have this capability to cultivate more for ourselves but we don’t have a plan that is actionable, measurable and holds us accountable.

So here’s what I learned in 2016 after a year of feeling lost, stagnant, stuck, unmotivated, uninspired and unfulfilled.

1 – You MUST believe in yourself.  You have to know that you are worthy of being loved and worthy of living the life of your dreams.

2 – By helping yourself in some positive way, you will automatically start helping others, even without doing anything more than simply helping yourself.

3 – Set goals that are realistic.  Then, outline them and record your progress towards those goals in a specific and measurable way every single day so you can see how you are progressing.  It’s not enough just to have goals.  Reviewing and monitoring them is essential because we tend to lose motivation over time, forget what our original intention was and become so busy in the every day hustle and bustle of life that they no longer seem important.

4 – Be accountable.  But make sure you are accountable to a person that inspires you, that is already working towards a similar goal or further ahead along the path than you are.  I work with a life coach specifically for this reason.  If I asked my husband to hold me accountable on something he has no interest in or has not experienced himself, he may not be able to motivate me or push me to go that extra mile when times get tough.

5 – Practice gratitude daily.  In this keeping up with the Jones world, we can get discouraged comparing ourselves or our progress to others.  I practice gratitude daily because it makes me appreciate what I have in my life, rather than focus on what I don’t have.  I also make it a point to journal one positive experience that happens every single day.  This helps bring my awareness to the present and makes me look for the good in the simple, everyday things.

6 – Take action.  We know deep down in our guts what we are doing that is good for us and what we are doing that harms us.  I think we also instinctively know what we want in our lives, but the message gets fuzzy or we push it aside.  I encourage you to write down all the things that are getting in your way of living a better life – from bad habits, to toxic thoughts or people, lack of time (which is only an excuse by the way, there’s always time if you make it a priority).  Once you have your list, write down some action steps that you can take to move you closer to living a better life.  And then, follow through!  Don’t just sit on the couch.  For an entire year, I did nothing but obsess over what I thought I should be doing but I never had a clear plan with actionable steps.

7 – Stop worrying about what you think you should be doing and allow yourself to open up to life and the possibilities that present themselves.  Live in the present moment and enjoy the process.

8 – Happiness only comes from choosing to be happy.

9 – We are all unique beings with different thoughts, beliefs, values and dreams.  Others may judge, but they judge from a place of ignorance.  Don’t let their judgements define you.

10 – Love is supreme.  Family is everything.  Your career does not define your worth.  On the day of your death, no one will define you based on your career.  They will remember you for who you loved and how you loved.

My wish for you is that 2017 be a year of happiness and love.  Know that you are worthy, unique and your dreams will manifest if you take action on a daily basis in specific and measurable ways.  Be kind, be humble, be authentic but most of all, just be YOU!

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