2020 has been a whirlwind of new challenges and hardship. In a year that has been filled with sad, dark, and at times depressing days we need a resolution remix for 2021.
Below are some new takes on an old tradition to help kick start the new year off right.
- Kick deprivation to the curb. Many of us have tried strict dieting in the past, and it’s no secret that this is unsustainable. It’s about moderation. The world will not end if you eat that scrumptious cupcake that’s staring at you in the bakery window. It’s also important to put things into perspective. In 2020 millions of people were faced with the possibility of their own mortality. Do a thought experiment. If you were to die tomorrow, what would you really want to do? Or say? Or feel? Think about that as we slide into 2021 and take charge of your life.
- Don’t take it personally. There are some people in our lives that can really mess with our positive vibes. Remember that when negative people try to bring you down. It’s not about you, it’s about THEM. Take it with a grain of salt and keep on moving. You cannot control others, you can only control how you react to them. Make the choice not to buy into the negativity.
- Be kind to yourself. Sometimes the things we say to ourselves are things we would NEVER dream of saying to other people we care about. Words are so powerful and can influence the way we view and feel about ourselves. It is important to mind your words and your language because contrary to popular belief, words can hurt immensely.
- If you had a breakup this year, enjoy being single. Unplug. Especially from social media. It is human nature to want to see what your ex is up to after a break up. However, ask yourself the question… is looking at their photos, comments, likes, friends they added, etc. going to be helpful? Probably not. Enjoy being single. Relationships, especially difficult ones can take up a lot of time and energy. Break ups are a way to let go of a relationship that no longer serves your best interests. Sometimes being single is better than being in an unhappy relationship. Now is the time to focus on you and what makes you happy.
- Focus on the positive. Thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are all closely linked and thus influence each other. In other words, your emotions can change based on what you choose to focus on. One effective way to break out of a negative space (ie. much of 2020) is by choosing to focus on something positive. For example, is the glass half-empty or half-full? Well, that depends on how you choose to view it.
- Invite gratitude in. Gratitude is a purposeful practice of thinking about what you have in your life right now. Practicing gratitude teaches us that despite our missteps or mistakes, there are still people in our lives who love and care for us, and things in our lives that we can look forward to. Journaling, creating a gratitude box or jar, and meditation can go a very long way toward tapping into the power of positivity and a happier new year.
- Shape your environment. Our environment has a very big impact on our mental health. While there are many things in our immediate environment that we are not able to control, there are some things that we can. One of the best first steps you can take is one small act in the morning. Admiral William H. McRaven author of Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World is based on a 2014 graduation speech he gave at the University of Texas that went viral. In that famous speech he discussed the importance of your environment. He said,
“if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that’s made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”
- Take care of your physical and mental health. Staying hydrated, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercise helps you manage the ups and downs of life. It is much harder to stay positive if you’re sick, tired, stressed or in pain. We all need help sometimes and maybe finding a therapist is a great way to kick start 2021. Talking to someone who is an objective party can help with creation of coping skills, provide extra support, and can also assist with identification of negative thought patterns that may be adversely affecting you. With the expansion of telemedicine, it’s possible to find a therapist online if you don’t feel comfortable going to an office. And you can see them in the comfort of your own home.
- Dream big. Goals and dreams are success in its infancy. What better way to start 2021 than to keep your eye on a new prize at all times. Goals and dreams give you purpose and help invoke drive, motivation, and many other emotions that inspire you to get to work.
Always remember that it’s about progress, not perfection. The above strategies are just suggestions to get you started. You have everything you need in you to live a more happy and peaceful life. It is not possible or expected that we be positive 24/7 365, the goal is to try to allow more positivity to shine through even in the darkest of days.
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