Listen on the Go!
Happy 2017! Can you believe it's that time of year again?! Time to dust yourself off from the year you've left behind, feel proud of everything you've accomplished, and especially all the wonderful moments lived. What is it about transitions that gets us pumped and ready to reboot and change whatever needs changing? It happens on Mondays, after our birthday, after the summer is over, when seasons change, but mostly after the ball drops on New Year's. We feel life has given us yet another chance to do it right this time around. We make promises when it comes to health, exercise, getting more organized, being more present, saving more money, improving relationships, getting outside more, having a better work-life balance.
As a teacher, I've always asked my students this time of year what their resolutions are, what they want to change or accomplish this year. For the kids, it's almost always something related to making their parents happier, things like behaving better, getting better grades at school, not getting into so much trouble, getting more organized with homework and not leaving everything until the last minute. They never doubt themselves when it comes to food or exercise, they never need reminders to spend more time with friends and family, in fact, their entire wish for their new year is having their parents be proud of them. That and the desire for the latest electronic device (sigh...).
For the ones in their 20s it's all about finding their identity, finding what they love and who they'll love. For the ones in their 30s, they almost always have to do with money, increasing their savings, finding a purpose or a job that fulfills them, reaching a milestone or goals at work, feeling more stable and traveling more. For those in their 40s and 50s, it's always about being more present and finding balance between work and the people they love. For those in their 60s and 70s, resolutions are less about doing, there's less pressure to accomplish, and it's all about the realization that life is supposed to be easy, simpler, they want time to read more, relax and take walks outside, time to simply observe and be present, spend time with the people they love, do something they've been waiting for years to do but didn't have time for, like learn a new musical instrument or a new language (yup! you'd be surprised how frequent these two are at this age!).
I love hearing these stories and finding common patterns, I can clearly see how life changes as we get older, and what the important things really are.
I also love New Year's resolutions, especially when they're not only about dropping 5 lbs or saving X amount of money, but when they have to do with changing something in ourselves that will help all our other dreams and wishes come into place slowly and easily, with patience. Resolutions should include small specific goals like being more organized to reduce stress, or for example, exercising more (and being very specific really helps, i.e "exercising 3 times a week for 45 minutes" is better than "I'll do more exercise this year"), but in my opinion, the most powerful ones are the ones that target your mindset. The mindset you need to have in order to achieve those smaller specific milestones.
Last year I made resolutions that included amping up my exercise routine, improving my posture, getting clear on my expenses, saving more and spending less, using my phone less (this one was HARD!), eating more mindfully, and all these were great, but the best one was the last one I made on my list. It had to do with mindset. I promised myself I would do all my work, by focusing on what I loved about it, being present through the process, and forgetting about the outcome.
It changed everything!
Every blog post I wrote, every recipe I created, every video we shot, every class I taught, every exercise routine I did, every errand I had to run, I focused on why I loved it, even if I didn't love everything about it. I focused on enjoying as many of the little things I could while I was doing them, and I tried to forget about the outcome, this was the most important part. I tried to not think of whether or not a post would go viral, or a video would be a huge success, or whether we would sell a course, or I would get ripped abs with the tabata workout I did. I just did. I just worked and played (often both at the same time which took lots of creativity!). Out of all my resolutions this was the one I focused on the most. It was essential, since it had to do with the mindset I would have to work on the smaller specific goals I set for myself.
There was no longer that annoying voice in my head that made the work come out with a bit of fear attached to it, or a bit of anxiety. I even found myself easing Carlos down from the ledge a few times, which is crazy since he's the sanest one in our household (dogs and myself included).
This year, although I have my list of specific resolutions mapped out and on paper as usual (don't keep this in your head, write them down where you'll constantly see them), I'm following this huge lesson I learned last year: mindset is everything. It's the pre-cursor to both productivity and willpower, not to mention joy. So you can laugh at yourself dancing zumba while you sweat it out, or listen to a great record while you try to finish a hard task at work. It's all in the little things.
This year my mindset resolution is a little bit different though. It has to do with living simpler, and adding a much needed dose of ease to everything I do. Hard for an overachiever like myself, a trait I learned from my mamma but that always gets me into trouble since my natural rhythm is a little bit different. I need to have breathing room, space for cuddles on the floor with my dogs, time to walk outside and sit down for a bit even if my runkeeper app is on. I want to simplify, to be present at everything I do, and make things easier on myself rather than harder on myself, and of course, I'm carrying on with the beautiful lesson last year taught me, on how to enjoy the moment without worrying about the outcome. That's my wish for me, and maybe, also a little bit for you.