Over time, I have grown to appreciate the new year more and more. To me, it represents a new start for all of us regardless of where you are. It makes us stop and think just how fragile and precious each year is. Every interaction we have, every decision we make, everything we do matters! I’m realizing the importance of intentionality in everything we do -why are we doing what we’re doing? Who are we serving? Does it benefit you (or anyone else) in the long run? What is your goal? How is this helping you get there?
As we all go into this new year, I write down what we hope to achieve in 2018. But it’s important to look back before we move forward. So I have decided to share with you 17 things I learned in 2017.
Walk with God – I notice a difference when I pray, read my bible, engage in fellowship with people of the same faith and when I don’t. When I do, I’m energized, confident, reassured and equipped. When I don’t I’m run down, easily tainted by the world and discouraged. Every day, I get to choose what I want my day to look like and it’s so much better when I decide to move forward with the Lord on my side.
Make your bed every morning – Your mom probably already told you to do this and like the saying goes “mom’s always right!”. This year, I made it a point (and a habit) to make my bed every morning and I noticed how much better I felt starting my day. Our brain loves accomplishing tasks no matter how small and making our bed is a simple way to get us in the right mindset for the day. Also, your room just looks a lot more put together and inviting when you make your bed!
Suffering produces character – this year was tough to say the least. I lost a loved one this year and it was tough for me to accept it and make myself vulnerable by seeking support. I feel I am a lot stronger and appreciative because of it. We need to learn to embrace suffering in a world that so desperately desires to avoid it. Gold is refined through the fire my friend, stay strong.
Be realistic – as we set our 2018 goals we must keep in mind to be practical. Life throws unexpected situations at us that we need to adjust to. The advice I’ve heard is to prioritize your goals, this way, when you’re stuck in a conundrum you know what achievements are a must and which ones can afford to fall through the cracks. Secondly, set your goal within a realistic time frame – you may not learn all the dialects of twi this year but you could in 3, 4, or 5 years so consider what you can do this year to achieve it. Lastly, set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time sensitive) goals. Consider making them so the goal isn’t so daunting. For example, I will read 3,650 pages of books for leisure in 2018. Instead, the goal can be: I will read 10 pages a day, every day in 2018. Same goal. Different perspective.
Don’t just “be yourself” – this is something I learned towards the end of the year, it really forced me to stop and think how many times I use “that’s just who I am” as an excuse to be complacent about my actions. A lot of the time I use my personality as an excuse for avoiding confrontation, staying in my comfort zone, overreacting, you name it. Whatever it is there’s an excuse
Be intentional with your relationships – Relationships take effort! Whether it be starting one or continuing one, time and commitment are required. Good news is that it’s not as burdensome as we think! If I want to spend more time with my family, I’ll join them as they watch the NBA finals instead of being cooped up in my room, or help my mom in the kitchen. I take time to plan dinner dates, annual friend brunches, or even do something productive with my friends. Even sending a funny text message regularly and asking for advice, and making FaceTime calls where you catch up. These are all simple and practical ways I found, I can be intentional with my relationships. I’d love to hear your ideas too!
This also includes deciding what relationships are worth keeping and what relationships you need to let go of. I’m not a huge fan of cutting people off and I’m not insinuating that we should. But I think we have to realize that certain relationships can’t withstand distance or busyness, etc. and if it doesn’t add value to your life at this point (or won’t in the long run) then we should allow it to naturally take its course.
Be committed – only commit if you’re dedicated to whatever you are doing. I have seen the value of deciding to do something and then have it come to fruition – very rewarding. But this only works if you have decided to keep your eye on the prize regardless of what obstacles you may face.
Be grateful – gratitude is a habit we should all adopt. In a world of “me, me, me, now, now, now” we become so entitled and unsatisfied. I have a gratitude journal where I write down three specific things I am grateful for each day. Sometimes I forget to do this so I set a reminder entitled “gratitude time” on my phone. It serves as a reminder to stop complaining and morning take a moment to be grateful for what God has given me. EVERYONE has something to be grateful for!
Seize opportunities – especially when you’re young! There are so many things that can be thrown our way that can change the course of our life! A way to apply this practically is by always asking -the worst you can get is a no!
Hone and own your skills –there are certain things that we are all good at -our God-given talents. There’s a reason you’re good at them. Channel that, refine it, and own it *snap*.
Find balance -life is more than exercise and food. That’s been something I’ve struggled with for years. I’m not allowing myself to be so restrictive or obsessive about those two things in particular and just allow myself to a live! I’m noticing how rich life can be when I seek to find balance between what I do, what I eat, who I am, and how I manage it all.
Share your struggle –All too often we feel like we are battling things alone, whether it be depression, anxiety, an eating disorder. If you have overcome something (or even are going through it) we should empower others by sharing how we’ve overcome and offer a shoulder to lean. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, so many people are willing to support you, you just have to ask.
Be present -this is something I have a tough time doing. Time goes by so fast! Every moment counts and every moment should be appreciated.
Set an example -this is one of my resolutions this year. Strive to be the kind of person you want to grow up to be. 🙂
I would like to leave you all with a quote:
“You can’t go back and change the beginning but you can start where you are and change the ending.” –C.S. Lewis
Happy New Year!!!