Welcome to January! I felt this quote was a great way to start a new year. It is kind of like how they say the best major league pitchers have short term memory. You can’t go onto this 2017 year of life if you are still regretting choices made, or not made, in the year 2016. Life happened to you, around you, with and without you. The best you can do, is learn from the lessons and continue to improve making yourself better.
The start of a new year brings about your clean slate. You can look at every year of your life as a volume book in a series. Every month is a new chapter. That means this month is the very first chapter in a new book. What will you write? What will you remember? How can you set yourself up for a happy, healthy, successful year?
We have made it through the holiday blues, but, especially here in the midwest, we still have the grey days. If you feel that the sadness hasn’t lifted enough, maybe it is time to see someone. Everybody needs a therapist, and some people even need medication, that doesn’t make you weak. You are more weak when you are just muddling through life on your own. Sometimes, it is as easy as making yourself do the things that will end in you being happier. Happy is not the opposite of depression, happy is the opposite of unhappy. However, sometimes focusing on being happy and doing things that make us happy, can be enough to bring us through a depression funk. Since I am not a clinical therapist, I focus on what I can help with. And that is the focusing on happy. Have you started a gratitude journal? Set a timer for 5 minutes and really think/visualize about things that you are truly grateful for?
This month is all about new beginnings for me, and that is the message I want to share with all of you too. We can create new beginnings even when our old ending weren’t so bad. I have to say, for me, 2016 was a pretty spectacular year. So I am riding a high heading into a new year. To be honest, it is almost hard to think of this as a new beginning because I am not ready for 2016 to end. I know that more of you are disappointed in how 2016 went, and so I am hoping to help with some ideas to help make your 2017 more like my 2016.
So what made 2016 so great for me? For starters, I set out goals at the beginning of every month. I posted them where I could see them every day. I made a daily plan that included time to work on my goals. If your goal is to declutter the house this year, well, you better plan time decluttering. Maybe split your house into 12 areas/rooms. January is your kitchen. So what will you do week one? Do you have 10 minutes every day, or can you make 30 minutes once a week? I like to start with what can be seen, so I feel accomplished. Then move to the other areas that you see on a daily basis, but your house guests may not notice. What on my counters needs to be kept, donated, or thrown away? The fridge and freezer? My cabinets?
I also journaled, daily, in multiple facets. Writing can be cathartic. It gets the ideas that are clogging your mind out. Gives you space to focus on what is important. And something to look at and decide if your ideas are important. I like to journal first thing in the morning, and I really love the Five Minute Journal app. First thing I write about every day is three things I am grateful for, three things I will do that day, and my affirmations. I find that starting your day with a grateful heart and leading right into what you will accomplish that day, really helps set me up for success. I also have a prayer journal. I pray for specific people and situation, but maybe you want to just journal whatever is on your mind and heart at the time. Along with the gratitude in my first journal, I always include one prayer of thanksgiving. If I always focus on the bad, and what needs to be helped, I will start to not see as much of the good. Sometimes you memories are more about what you chose to remember than what actually happened.
Speaking of your memories, I treat Facebook like the highlight reel I share with friends and family. Sometimes it is funny to share the tantrum video because I can’t help but laugh at the little ones. I have a teenage son, and we have our difficulties. I love my husband, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight. I don’t need to dwell and remember on the bad, so I choose not to share it publicly that way. Find a productive way to talk through your difficulties though, don’t bottle them up and ignore them.
Find accountability! I actually have a couple different groups that hold me accountable to a couple different areas. If that doesn’t work for you, find one group to check in with on a regular basis. I am going to encourage you to find more than one other person for your group. When you have 2 people, and one person slips, the other person doesn’t have that accountability if they are struggling. Also remember that it is a two way street. You need to all check in with each other. The other person cannot just hold your hand and help you through your struggles, unless if you are paying them. Part of the reason I started my new program, The Pocket Trainer, was the accountability factor. There are so many groups out there that help you with work outs and tell you what to eat. I wanted to start a program where you got the workouts and the accountability to do the work outs. Where I share my meal plans, and accountability to write your own plan (and follow the plan).
Spend time every day doing things that fill you up. Do you enjoy reading? Volunteering? Waking up to a clean house? You cannot fill up the cup of others if your cup is empty. My kids know that until 630 AM, it is mommy’s me time. I am a better mommy at 630 when I have had time to myself. To better myself. To put myself in the right frame of mind.
My word for 2016 was Intentional. I was intentional in how I spent my time. I read books on being intentional. I was intentional on how I saved and spent money. My husband and I had weekly conversations on how much money was coming in, how much was going out, and what we were saving for.