How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. -Annie Dillard
With the New Year we welcome a complete set of 365 days of possibilities. Anything can happen…the real question is: How do you want to spend your 2017?
Now’s the time to start planning and taking action, but before we do that, let’s all talk about lessons learned this past year, and make sure we hold onto them this 2017.
1. SEARCH FOR CHANGE
Change is a beautiful thing. Sometimes it’s unwanted and forced upon, some other times it’s expected and cherished when it comes; but truth be told, it always surprises us with a positive outcome. Whether it inspires us or challenges us, it always spikes our lives with adventure. So seek change. Believe me, that’s the secret tonic to creativity.
2. STAY HEALTHY
Eating well and exercising goes a long way, focus on maintaining good habits, and see how easy you’ll fall into a pattern and search for healthy options. You’ll soon find yourself feeling better, thinking better, and simply living better.
3. IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, SAY IT
Forget about fearing to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, what about not saying the right thing at the right time? There’s a quote in one of Emeli Sandé’s songs I love called: Read all about it that says:
You’ve got a heart as loud as lions,
so why let your voice be tamed?
If there’s something you’ve got to say this 2017, don’t keep quiet.
Just remember that without voicing out our thoughts, to the universe, our thoughts are irrelevant.
4. DON’T STRESS OVER THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER
Such a tricky one for those of us who seek perfection.
News flash: Perfection’s not worth it. It’s even boring. Everything that’s beautiful is flawed in some way, and that makes it unique and perfect in its own way. What sucks is stress, so this 2017 make it your goal to stress less, especially over those things that really don’t matter.
5. WRITE TO-DO LISTS
My favorite! It does not matter if you do them daily or weekly, but do them! It keeps stuff off your mind, and it improves your efficiency when complying with them. I think this is because it’s so rewarding to cross off chores from it. Anyway, writing stuff down has been super helpful for me.
6. SET PRIORITIES
As important as it is what we do, we can’t ignore the importance of when we do it. Whether we have deadlines or not, set priorities according to the amount of work or effort, stress it causes, or its value, and then start with the first thing on the list, working your way down. As soon as you get the big stuff off your chest, you’ll be free to continue with the small stuff.
7. DON’T PROCRASTINATE
If you’re going to do something, get straight to it. If you feel like you don’t want to do something just that second, decide on it, and then choose do something else that’s equally useful that you’re in the mood for. Otherwise you’re just there killing time, prolonging the ‘suffering’ of doing something.
8. MAKE TIME TO REFLECT (THAT’S HOW CREATIVE IDEAS FLOW)
Dedicate some time to thinking, sitting alone drinking a cup of coffee or tea (or your choice of drink really) and simply listening to how your thoughts move from idea to idea. I would be lying if I told you I never did this. Truth is, the best ideas, the most inspiring, and unique ones come when your mind is clear to receive them.
9. FOCUS ON LIVING A BALANCED LIFE
There’s a really smart guy we all know by name who wrote:
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. -Albert Einstein
His quote reinforces the ideal of not stopping, because as long as we’re living, life won’t stop for anybody. So in order to keep moving we must live in balance, otherwise the bicycle we’re riding will end up losing its balance and making us fall.
Another quote on the subject is this:
Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance. -Epicurus
A little bit of everything creates the perfect balance. So this 2017, make it your goal to be moderate. Share your time with your family, your friends, yourself, your work, and your hobbies. Living in balance will create harmony and happiness.
10. VISIT NEW PLACES
Travelling to new destinations is as refreshing as a really good rest. Every year I make it a goal to visit new places; as many as my heart, time, and wallet can manage. Experiencing new surroundings, gives us perspective to understand new contexts, and by doing so, we grow and learn a lot more than we expect we will before we go out. So this year look into destinations you haven’t been to, as much as we sometimes wish to go back to places we’ve loved in the past, sometimes there’re new ones waiting for us to love them, too.
11. DON’T COMPLAIN, COMMUNICATE
When things go south, try staying positive. Some times we make a big deal out of things, and react badly before we even really think about them, and figure out ways to solve things. After we do, more often than not, we realise things weren’t as bad as they were on our minds. Therefore, try fixing things with words. Communicate before you complain. Express your point of view and be calm. Just about anything can be solved with effective communication.
12. LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT TO REPLY
Another communication problem has to do with listening. Next time you find yourself in an argument, actually listen to the counterpart. Hear what they have to say to understand their point of view, not only listen to find a good reply.
13. MAKE SURE YOUR ACTIONS ALIGN WITH YOUR BELIEFS
If you want inner peace, making sure your actions represent your beliefs is key. Otherwise you end up being blank irrelevant. Be honest, authentic, and true to yourself. The right people will come to your life when you’re aware of who you are, and are sure that your actions are aligned with your thoughts.
14. BE KIND
The world is full of nice people. If you can’t find one, be one. -Nishan Panwar
If there’s something I learnt this year while travelling, is the world’s full with kind people, and this brings so much happiness to my life. I saw people reaching out for others, helping out when it was clear someone needed an extra hand, and the most beautiful thing is this was done to strangers, out in the street or public places. Be kind to others, to the environment, and to yourself.
15. TRY SAYING ‘NO’ MORE OFTEN
Again, for those of us who want to put everyone else first, try saying ‘no’ when you know it’s complicated. In the long run you spare yourself from rushing or stressing over projects or activities you really have no time for.
16. EVERY PROBLEM IS AN OPPORTUNITY
An opportunity to challenge yourself, to learn, to grow, to change, to shine…the list can really go on. A problem is not that bad after all. Our lives now wouldn’t be this way if it weren’t for obstacles. So fear them not! They’re disguised as the biggest chances you’ll have at times.
17. MAKE ‘BEING HAPPY’ A DAILY GOAL
From the moment you wake up, and until the moment you go back to bed, focus on making yourself happy. Some days will be easier than others, but keeping this daily goal in mind will significantly make you aware of the thousands of little things that you bump into in one day, that can make you happier.
I hope you all have a wonderful new year!
Have any lessons you’d like to share? Feel free to write them on the comments!