Happy New Year! We’re currently five days into the new year and for me, it’s been off to a rather tumultuous start. Coupled with the malfunctioning/breaking of certain household appliances (i.e. heater, garbage disposal, water heater, and washer), it’s been a challenge to stay positive and ultimately convinced this year will be a sweet one. That being said, I decided that to keep in line with the affectionate nickname of 2016 as “Sweet 16,” I would compile a list of 16 goals/aspirations for this new year. They are simply what I’d like to adhere to or keep my focus on for these next 12 months, or ideally, permanently. So without further adieu, I give you:
16 goals for a “Sweet 16”
- Remind myself it’s okay to be where I am in life right now. There is no need to compare myself to where other people my age are in their lives. It’s like the well-known quote says, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Someone else my age who is married, a mother, and has a fulfilling career might have already weathered something significant I have yet to encounter. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense, or benefit me in any way to compare myself to someone else’s current life situation. We all have our own experiences, situations, sentiments and relationships that color and shape where we currently are in our lives; it’s what makes us unique and gives us a story to tell.
- Remain as calm as possible even when live seems to be in disarray. This sentiment applies to when I experience technology issues (such as my laptop malfunctioning, iPhone issues, and beyond). It’s quick and easy for me to react with worry, fear and anxiety and the immediate, “IT NEEDS TO BE FIXED NOW,” train of thought. Rather than react immediately, I’ll try to take a step back and reframe what it is going on, then plan accordingly. Getting myself worked up and upset will only make me ineffective in dealing with the situation and drains me of my energy and strength.
- Pursue all that is important to me, no matter how far-fetched, or out-of-my reach it seems and feels. Helping others, writing and someday owning my own business are goals and accomplishments I’d love to someday meet and feel would complete a void once filled by volunteering and contributing to the community.
- Travel more, even if it is a day trip to somewhere minutes away. Sometimes our greatest discoveries and destinations can be only a short distance from our homes and we never once realized they existed.
- Be patient with myself. It’s easy for me to leave a situation or experience when it becomes uncomfortable, so this year, I’d like to feel those uncomfortable emotions and stay. Of course, this is within reason, but includes learning new technology and allowing myself be vulnerable in meeting others and taking chances. Allow myself the chance to ask questions, make mistakes and learn from them. It’s okay to need extra help, especially when learning something new. There is no shame in asking for clarification or for someone to simply lend a helpful hand or watchful eye.
- Stay in the moment. So often, I’ve looked back on experiences I’ve had and wished I would have been solely there, instead of envisioning where I would be in 10 minutes, or next year. The present moment is where I need to stay. If I am constantly looking towards the next moment, then I miss out on what the current one has to offer or might teach me.
- Eat an ice cream cone coated in sprinkles in the summer, while my hair flows around me in its natural form, unbrushed and unstyled. How freeing it would be, to allow myself to enjoy something as simple as an ice cream cone without worrying about how my hair looks or whether or not I’ve managed to smooth out every wave. It’s time to be kind to myself and realize my wavy, thick hair is not a curse, but just part of my DNA and what I was meant to have.
- Publicly sing again, whether it is through karaoke, or some other form. When I was younger, I was convinced I would pursue singing as a career. In short, I loved everything about belting the latest songs, singing in the school choirs, and thinking about what song I’d sing next. I’d like to take the chance this year, to sing in public and do so without regret or harshly judging myself.
- Start to write down all the thoughts for books that freely circulate within my mind. So often, ideas for novels will pop into my train of thought and I’ve let countless concepts slip away into oblivion, because of my fear in getting started. Instead of procrastinating and fearing “it won’t sound good,” take a chance and freely write, accepting whatever surfaces, no matter how “wordy,” it may be.
- Spend more time outside, enjoying nature. So often, I’ve watched the most beautiful of days slip away in favor of staying in, typing on my laptop, or reading. Instead of doing this indoors, why not read outside, or take a couple minutes to take a leisurely stroll and breathe in the fresh air?
- Reach out to someone, if I am thinking of them. Countless times through the week, I’ll think of someone I haven’t spoken to in awhile and have the urge to write to them and instead of taking a chance and acting on my feeling, I overthink it and opt not to.
- Buy fresh flowers in the spring and summer and display them.
- Go strawberry picking in the spring. The only fruit I’ve ever picked are apples and it’s always been a wish of mine to pick something else and create homemade recipes with them.
- Visit the beach and simply relax. It’s been years since I visited the beach, but this year, I’m determined to take a trip.
- Most importantly, reduce my negative “self-talk,” – too often, I find myself talking down to myself or about myself, chastising myself for things I did or didn’t do, instead of accepting mistakes I’ve made and learning from them. Let this year be the year I become a friend not only to others, but also myself.
Happy New Year! May this year be one filled with happiness, success and love.