New Year: Looking Back and Looking Forward
I started the first week of 2016 on a plane to India, reeling with excitement and not really knowing what to expect - apart from the images I'd seen of dizzying bright colors and incomprehensibly large crowds. After a couple weeks of living outside my comfort zone, I set resolutions to live more simply, save money more wisely, and to continue to stay close to the things and the people who challenge me to grow. The resolutions ebbed and flowed in progress, but nonetheless remained a part of my now inherent values.
Flash forward to this morning. I spent most of my time trying to practice gratitude for the highlights of the year; travel opportunities, more responsibilities at work, time with loved ones and bravery to try new things (even when I wasn't ready to make the leap). I've worked hard to keep gratitude at the are of my brain amidst a year of much personal grief. Losing people became an all too common theme for the last half of 2016 and broke a part of me that probably won’t ever be pieced back together as it once was.
My personal turmoil seemed to matched public discourse, as Americans harshly divided themselves showing equal ugliness on both sides of the election. While I started the year thinking people were inherently good, that notion was continually tested as hate speech became normalized and values exchanged for gossip. For the record, I still do believe people are inherently good. Perhaps out of exhaustion, I’m working on how to better communicate with those I disagree with, not to convince them (two very different things) because I wholeheartedly believe communication heals.
Now, on January 1st of 2017, I sit in a coffee shop with my brain jumping to all the things I want to accomplish, change or do better at in 2017. I’m happy to put 2016 behind me and happy to have the hope that comes with a new year. With that said, here are a few of my resolutions. *Note: I won't bore you all with the step-by-step details, but I've found it's really valuable to break down actual steps regarding HOW you plan to meet your goals. That way, you don't run out of ideas and give up halfway through the year.
I plan to consistently prioritize exercise (in whatever forms make me happy), take time for myself when I need it (without guilt), and spend more time doing what I love if only just because I love it.
Read 50 Books
I started my habit of regularly reading again last year and it has absolutely changed my life for the better. I recently watched a Ted talk at my company meeting that talked about replacing the expression “I don’t have time for ___” with “That’s not a priority for me right now”. Saying something isn’t a priority makes it a bit harsher and really puts how you choose to spend your time into perspective. I’ve replaced many moments of randomly browsing on my phone with reading a book and the result? I feel more inspired and calmer than I have in quite some time. 50 books is a lofty goal, but at my current reading pace, I feel fairly confident and excited to take it on.
For those that know me well, I have a heart for travel and a resistance to staying too still. I’m currently trying to figure out travel plans and can’t wait to explore new cities (and hopefully a new country or two!).
Take a Step Forward in My Career
I want to feel more confident in various skills and now seems as good a time as any to work on that. I’m looking into programs, free online courses, and ending this month at a blogging conference in Palm Springs. I hope to stay open to opportunities and taking risks -- whatever they may be.
What are your resolutions for 2017?