With a new year comes a fresh start—a chance to re-invent yourself, another full 365 days of opportunity to be a better you! Don't let it go to waste.
How will you make the most of 2017?
Here are just a few ideas:
1. Take a moment to set honest goals for yourself. Ask yourself your deepest desires. What do you want to do this year? What are things you want to achieve? What bad habits do you want to break? How do you want to change?
Write out everything you hope for in 2017, and then select three bucket list-type items (i.e. ski in Wyoming, PR in the half marathon this summer, climb a 5.11 route) and two long-term goals (i.e. be a better mom/dad, save an extra $5,000, begin training for a 50K), and stick to 'em! (This doesn't mean you can't work on the other intents, but these will be your "priority goals". Too many resolutions can be overwhelming and cause you to quit halfway through the year.)
Your goals don't have to be over-the-top. You may not be able to climb El Cap, compete in a full Ironman and explore all of Europe before December 31, 2017. But while it's important not to overestimate, don't underestimate either! Be realistic, but give yourself a challenge—you don't want to feel like a failure if you can't fulfill all resolutions, but you also don't want to feel unfulfilled if you do! Be honest of what you are capable of and curate resolutions wisely, so even when you know you can, you'll still feel incredibly accomplished when you do!
2. Live healthy. "Healthy" means different things to different people, but recognizing your personal habits is vital in order to live your best year! Cut the Pepsi, limit yourself to one dessert a day, run an extra five minutes in the morning, stretch every Sunday...whatever it is that you feel would help you to be more mentally and physically supreme!
One example would be to cook more and eat out less. After a long day of go-go-go, it's easy to opt for restaurant dining. (Who wouldn't want a meal cooked for them that they don't have to clean afterwards!) That said, this can become a financial issue, as well as a less healthy and less sustainable option. Additionally, cutting back sugar intake and increasing proteins and vitamins can make a world of a difference. You'd be surprised how much more energy you have and how much more efficiently your brain functions when you consume a higher amount of veggies and natural, non-processed foods.
Most importantly, listen to your body: eat when you're hungry and stop eating when you're full; keep exercising if you feel good, and stop if you're in pain. Under-eating and overeating are equally unhealthy! Food is fuel, and when we cut back or overuse fuel, our engines becomes imbalanced and wonky. Similarly, when it comes to exercise, know your limits. Don't beat yourself up if you need a rest day, but don't give up if you're feeling strong and able. At the end of every day, take time to stretch or massage your muscles, relax (meditate, read, paint, whatever you enjoy best) and remember that your mental wellness is always more than your physical prowess.
3. Find balance. It's frightening how easy it is to get so caught up in our work obligations and hectic schedules that we forget to make time for what we love and who we love. One of the most important things you can do to ensure a better year is to balance your life: your schedule, your time, your efforts.
Pour love into your relationships: your family, your significant other, your children, your co-workers, etc. Spend money on experiences rather than material items: take weekend trips, go ice skating, try bowling, camp, travel internationally, etc. Allow at least one hour a day to go towards creative and/or relaxing activities: reading, writing, painting, yoga, meditation, napping, etc. Similarly, allot at least one hour each day to physical activity: running, walking, swimming, whatever you love best. When first making these alterations to your day-to-day life, things might feel even more forced and routine, but over time pursuing passions will become part of your daily regimen. And that's how it should be!
4. Remember that goals don't have to be tangible. While it's great to set goals to run your first marathon, read 75 books, and complete a triathlon, it's important to remember that some resolutions can be abstract. By addressing your shortcomings and personality weaknesses, you can transform your mind in unimaginable ways.
Refocus your energy on positivity. Address your insecurities and doubts. Practice bravery each day. Show more compassion. These are just a few of the ways you can transform into a better you! And these types of personality-related goals are just as important—more important, actually—than whether or not you cross the finish line of an ultra marathon or learn to surf in Costa Rica. To be your best self has nothing to do with how many states you visit or how many medals you receive; it has to do with a change of heart!
5. Try new things. Life goes so quickly, and we find ourselves trapped in boxes we subconsciously form around our lives. We can't remember the last time we did something outlandish, and we start to see our lives becoming more and more...typical...normal...boring.
But don't fear—it's not too late!
Branch out! Meet new people, try new things. Dare yourself. Try skydiving or skiing. Take a pottery workshop, sign up for a dance class, or enroll in an astronomy course. Write a poem at sunrise. Buy yarn and knit yourself a scarf. Do that one thing you've always wanted to try, and don't worry about making a fool of yourself! Take risks every single day. Don't hold back. Time goes much too quickly to not take the reins and seize opportunities.
6. Be patient. Not every day will be your best. There will be ups and downs. You might fall down a few times—no, you will fall down a few times. But you can get back up. One of the most important ways to be a better you is to be patient: with the world around you, with others, with yourself. This new year, 2017, will only be good to you if you allow it to be. Be gentle with the journey.
As Winnie the Pooh says, "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think." Make this a year of bravery. Don't settle. Go above and beyond. Revolve your life around selfless love and happiness. It's time for a metamorphosis.
By Olivia Harlow