It’s already a couple of weeks into 2019 and maybe you already realize it’s not a new you but you still have time to be a better version of you. Resolutions are not grand goals, they are things you resolve to do. Resolve to live by these words in 2019.
Courage over comfort, says Brene Brown, and anything she says pretty much goes. Dare might conjure up images of diving off cliffs or tightrope walking between skyscrapers but being courageous or daring is not fearlessness. Fear drives us all; fear of failure, irrelevance, rejection or judgment are just some that we might contend with almost on a daily basis. Courage can simply be about doing the thing that is not comfortable, the thing that makes you cringe, or your heart palpitate a million miles a minute, or is just plain hard.Think of the times you stand up to speak in front of a room when your heart is in your stomach and your palms are sweaty, or you make yourself vulnerable in a moment where you just want to hide. Maybe you make a mistake and have to own up to it, or reach out to someone even when you are worried about facing rejection. Those are all acts of courage; let’s dare to have more of these moments in the year ahead.
In a world where attention spans are so low and information overload is an understatement, commitment is a rare commodity. Before you commitment- phobes stop reading this, let’s start small.
Commit to being here right now; put your phone down, even if you are reading this on the phone. Commit attention to the things that matter; multitasking is not a skill, it’s an avoidance tactic. Commit to truly listening to the person in front of you, commit to telling someone something you really don’t want to tell them. Commit to closing out all but one browser window on your laptop. Commit to returning your mother’s phone call every week. Commit to finishing something you started. If you don’t see something through, you will never know how it turns out.
Literally no one likes change; that’s a fact of life. Change brings unknown and we can’t control for all of its consequences. This year, don’t commit to changing everything; actually don’t even try to change anything big. Just change one small thing you do everyday. One very seemingly small thing. But it has to be something you do 365 days.
Maybe it’s waking up 30 minutes earlier in the morning; maybe it’s skipping your morning coffee; maybe it’s putting away your phone at least an hour before you go to bed. Maybe it’s reading for 20 minutes, or spending 10 minutes journaling every morning. Maybe it’s just making your bed after you get out of it.
Why you ask? The psychology of habit building tells us that if you change one small habit, it pervades into other things. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy in that it fuels your confidence and belief that you can also change other things you want to in your life.
It’s all well and good to learn something new but you have to make space for it. Make space for the life you want to live but letting go of the things that no longer serve you. We are all overstressed and overworked because we keep adding things to our plates without taking anything off. No wonder we all come home everyday exhausted out of our minds wanting to do nothing but Netflix and chill. It’s almost like we need to numb our brains for a few hours so we can get up and do it all over again. How miserable does that sound?
Let go of something; unlearn something. Maybe it is your Netflix habit. Maybe it’s how you never pay your bills on time. Maybe it’s how you spiral into a celeb gossip binge-fest. Maybe it’s how you bottle up everything you feel or how you sit with terrible posture at your desk. Unlearn the things that don’t serve you so you can welcome something intentional into that void.
Dance like nobody’s watching, sing like you are Mariah Carey, laugh enough to get an ab workout. That’s the only way to live. If you are not doing these on a regular basis, you are taking things too seriously. Might I add, don’t depend on alcohol or drugs to fuel play; play with presence. Play just because. Play because adulting is hard enough without making time to be a kid. And because adulting doesn’t mean you have to stop being a kid.
Acceptance is not conceding defeat; it’s acknowledgement of what’s real and what isn’t. At times of greatest turmoil, when we are at our most overwhelmed, the simple act of writing down a list of what is bothering us can lead us to accept what we can and cannot control. This is also true about our relationship with others; can we accept the truth of who someone is, or isn’t? With acceptance comes the possibility for change because we can focus on the things we can impact. Accept that the feedback your boss is giving you is hurtful but there are some things in there you can work on. Accept that your eating habits are leading to you feeling unhealthy. Accept that everyday you remain in a toxic relationship, you are losing a bit of yourself that may not come back for a long time.
Is there a friend you haven’t talked to in a decade who you used to be close to? Are you still obsessing over how your ex treated you? Do you need closure on a relationship? Is your relationship with your father strained? Unresolved emotional baggage never goes away; it’s like lava that fills every crevice and crack in your body and explodes when you least expect it. Accept your emotional state (see above) and confront it. It won’t be easy, it might even hurt you more, but you will start to slowly mend the seams of the ruptures that have happened over time. Healing ourselves requires mending the frays in our lifelines.
Reveal more of yourself this year. To the world, to your loved ones, to yourself. We are often wearing masks out in this world; they are our armor for self preservation. Sometimes we still leave these masks on when no one is watching because we want to maintain certain illusions even with ourselves. Taken them off. This show of vulnerability is crucial to connection; vocalizing the unsaid gives words to our experiences, our human-ness, and gives us ground to build bridges on.
Can you show up tomorrow with your guard a little lower? Can you be vulnerable when it’s the last thing you want to do? Can you let someone in more than is comfortable? Put it out there; dare to reveal.