Happy New Year!

If you’re at all like me, then you’re welcoming 2017 by sitting in your comfiest clothes, guilt free, watching as much Netflix as possible before we go back to work or school in a couple days. I’m about to begin my final semester of school, and if it’s anything like the last, the next time I watch TV Mike Ross might have gone to prison a SECOND time.

If you don’t get the reference, note to you: must watch Suits. 

On this day that I’ve dedicated to coffee and the couch, I find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram seeing post after post after post about the “fair share of ups and downs,” and the “in the new year I plan to… ,” or “ready for a fresh start.”

In the past couple of New Years I’ve become skeptical of the New Years’ Resolution; the change of a single number somehow means it’s also the best time to make constructive changes in our lives. If there’s something we want to change for the better, why wait? Why not choose to change right then, in the moment you realize there’s something you’re not happy with?

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s great we have a holiday that highlights the opportunity for constructive change, like breaking a bad habit or letting go of something that no longer serves you. I’m not a cynic — a new year has me feeling optimistic and hopeful about the possibilities in the 365 days ahead.

But when I think of “fresh start,” I think of a clean slate. I think of acknowledging what’s already written on the chalkboard, accepting it — whether you like your previous choice of words or not — and erasing them for a chance to create better, stronger writing.

Since I’ve been in my 20s, personal growth has become invaluable to me. I think you should always be evolving into a humbler, more mature, more worldly version of you. And to achieve those qualities, change is inevitable — the exciting kind and the challenging kind.

I read an article yesterday called 13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful. It says that successful change is about recognizing the big picture and setting long-term goals instead of giving into the temptation of short-term habits’ instant gratification. Achieving your long-term goals is the result of small day-to-day healthy habits. Continual improvement each day will build over time, inching you toward the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you’re like me; I feel overwhelmed when I think about something I want to achieve or change — like working out four times a week — because then I think about the commitment involved in getting from A to B.

If you feel the same way, try approaching your goals this way: small-town actions build on big-city goals. If you have a goal you’d like to achieve by this time next year, one thing that helps me is focusing on it on a day-by-day basis. Adding one piece to the puzzle each day seems tedious (especially if patience isn’t your strong suit— like me), but one day the puzzle will be complete. You’ll surprise yourself.

For me, 2016 was the year of the unexpected, in the best and worst ways. I’ve been a planner by nature my entire life, so when I felt like things weren’t in my control it gave me anxiety. The more I searched for certainty, the more uncertain I felt. So meta, I know.

So, although my Instagram-scrolling reminded me of my New Years’ skepticism, it also connected me to a post that inspired me to believe in the things I want to embrace, enhance, and change this year. The post is from the Married to Crohns blog. It reads:

Avoid certainty. 

Pick yourself.

Postpone gratification. 

Seek joy. 

Embrace generosity. 

Dance without fear. 

Be paranoid about mediocrity. 

See the world as it is. 

Be the boss of you. 

I don’t know what your goals are for 2017, or if you’ve made any resolutions at all. Personally, I haven’t been thinking so much about a particular goal, but more about the mindset I want to approach every day that 2017 brings; a mindset that reflects the words I found through Married to Crohns. They don’t depend on the situation, and they aren’t circumstantial. Even though you’re different from me, you can apply them to your life and ultimately transform your perspective.


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