2014: Reflections & Resolutions

It’s New Year’s Eve, which means (for me on the west coast of the U.S. at least) that it’s time to ring in the New Year, 2015! (Which is so crazy to think that it’s going to be the year 2015).

It also means that you will see many people post, write, and talk about how their year 2014 ended up being and what resolutions or changes they want to achieve in 2015. Which includes myself, although I almost decided not to do a post.

However, after doing a random search yesterday and on Monday for New Year’s Eve and the many things that come with it, I thought it would be interesting to try and combine many of the great advice and reflections that multiple people and articles provided, in addition to giving a little of my own, of course :)

Overall, when I think about my year 2014, I realize it wasn’t the most spectacular. Which is fine. Plenty of good things did happen. I also learned a few good things and made some positive changes. I quit my first job out of college, because it was making me absolutely miserable, but I quickly found my current job, which I absolutely love!

I started to make myself more aware about my health and started to eat better (still working on it haha). I started to work out and just got a personal trainer!

I started to read more. I learned that I still have a lot (and I mean a lot) of things to learn about myself and my faith.

I went back to school. I learned that I need to be a better friend. I learned that I need to bring the positivity back into my life.

2014 wasn’t terrible, but I definitely want to make 2015 even better! So, onto the part about those resolutions.

There are some great sites out there with some well written articles about a variety of topics (some of which I will give links to at the end). There are articles on what resolutions you should actually make, how to make your resolutions stick, and even reasons why our resolutions are wrong or why we can’t stick to them.

Let’s start with that last one: Why Our New Year’s Resolutions are all Wrong (from the site Quartz).

The article makes a good point about how many people go about resolutions all wrong, trying to change the symptoms rather than the actual behaviors that become unhealthy habits. Those unhealthy habits are commonly, though not always, used to distract ourselves from emotions like anger, sadness, boredom, and guilt. A prime example is eating our emotions.

Only when we acknowledge what’s driving us can we make a conscious decision to change a behavior. (Alexcis Lopez – Quartz)

The article outlines three simple yet powerful practices:

1. Practice Emotional Awareness

For many of us, our emotions drive what we do, both our healthy and unhealthy habits. Being aware of what your emotions will help you become more aware of your habits and the driving force behind them.

2. Practice Emotional Refueling

Many of us lead busy and hectic lives, which can lead us exhausted, in many ways. Find something that helps you relax and make sure to find the time to schedule that activity and follow through with doing it.

3. Practice Gratitude

Taking the time to discover things that you are grateful for everyday will help form a path to a happier life. Everyone has blessings in their life :)

This leads me to the second thing: Resolutions You Should Actually Make

Let’s start with a quick list of 15 Things You Don’t Need to (or Shouldn’t) Change in 2015 (from Thought Catalog). I figured 15 things was a lot to list out, so I suggest you click the link and read the list. Some of them I’m not so sure of, but there a few that are good :)

Now for the resolutions that everyone should make or at least think about making. This is a combined list from three different articles, from three different websites: 20 Resolutions Everyone Should Make, 4 Ways to Make 2015 an Even Better Year, and 25 New Year’s Resolutions Every Person Should Actually Make for 2015. (Note: I won’t include everything from each list, because if I did, that would be a really long list!).

1. Release what no longer serves you.

This one is definitely on my list (and probably not just for 2015 either). I worry a lot, about many things, small and big, even things that I know, on some level, isn’t my worry to have.

2. Focus on becoming a better you.

This one I think has become a daily resolution of sorts for me.

3. Live less out of habit and focus on intent.

4. Don’t give up on your life goals.

5. Raise your standards. If you hate your job, quit your job. Repeat after me: THE MONEY IS NOT WORTH IT. Food and shelter are clutch though, so make sure you have another job lined up. If you want someone to commit to you, vocalize it. Don’t settle for being someone’s “f*ck buddy” if that isn’t what you want. “Together” is the waiting period between “talking” and “dating”; purgatory shouldn’t last forever.

6. Look for the good in others instead of focusing on the bad. Stop being so shallow. Next time you find yourself judging someone based on his or her appearance, imagine the person standing in front of you saying, “I’m beautiful.” You’ll start to believe it.

7. Make a difference. Help strangers. “Pay it forward,” do good things for the world — and don’t post a Facebook status about it. Even shopping and eating locally; recognize where your money is going. Consumers control the economy, so visit the mom-and-pop coffee shop down the street instead of Starbucks. Shop at boutiques rather than chains (they aren’t all expensive — trust me). Try Etsy.com instead of retail conglomerates.

8. Be OK with not being OK. Cry; when you’re happy and when you’re sad; embrace your emotions as they come.

If you’re one of my close friends or have read most of my posts, this is a huge one for me. Goes with the whole stop worrying over things I can’t completely control. I think I need to work on consistently owning up to my emotions instead of keeping them in.

9. Look in the mirror and like what you see. Stop beating yourself up for skipping the gym on days you truly didn’t have time. But also, stop skipping the gym on days you had plenty of time to go. Stop hating yourself for eating dessert. A piece of birthday cake is a right, not a privilege.

10. Be kind to yourself when you’re learning something new.

11. Be OK with not knowing. Learn to love the journey.

Again, this is one is key for me. I believe that I have gotten better in the last year, but I think this is something that will be a work in progress for a while. Though, I think I also need to add doing things that will create an awesome journey and will hopefully lead to knowing something.

12. Stop apologizing.

13. Let love guide you. Love everything around you. Strengthen relationships with family members; blood is thicker than water. Rid yourself of enemies; apologize for what you did wrong and forgive those who have wronged you. Rid yourself of “frenemies.” Don’t spend 2015 surrounded by people you secretly despise.

I really, really want this to be a big one for me and not necessarily in terms of ending up in a relationship with someone. I want to explore restaurants, music, nearby places … and I want to find those that I love!

14. Stop rushing things that need time to grow.

15. Know the difference between giving up and knowing when you’ve had enough. Let enough be enough.

16. Travel to that place you keep thinking about. It’s in your heart for a reason. Leave the country. If you don’t have money, look into doing charity work abroad. Some programs will sponsor you.

Oh to travel wherever and whenever! By April/May of 2015, I will have a good amount of vacation time and I definitely plan on using some of it! I already have three trips planned or in the process: Phoenix in mid-March with a friend to go visit another friend, Lake Tahoe in August for a family vacation, and Portland in September for a wedding. I would love to go out of the country, Tokyo and Chile were on my list, but for various reasons were taken off. Now, I’m hoping I can do Vancouver, Canada to visit another friend in either June or maybe October, so we’ll see! :)

17. Trust yourself more. Conquer a fear or step out of your comfort zone a little. Cross something off your bucket list. Sky dive, bungee jump, scuba dive, etc. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t accomplish something, and check out.

18. Let go of who you think you are so you become who you want to be.

19. Be thankful for today. Relish in the moment; turn off your smartphone at dinner or any meal really, especially when you’re with family or friends.

20. Don’t worry about how your life looks. Instead, focus on how it feels. Stop caring about how many people “like” your Instagram photos. If you like the photo enough to post it, what else matters? Social media anxiety is a waste of time.

21. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be something you use daily, but documenting your experiences is incredibly important. You’ll appreciate it later.

I want to do this. I know I have this blog, but I don’t put everything on here. I also have my poetry, which has been a huge outlet, but I don’t always have the right juices flowing for that. I think journaling would be a good habit to get into.

22. Invite your inner child out to play daily.

23. Let yourself be you.

24. Stop trying so hard to get to where you think you should be and see you are exactly where you need to be.

25. Be healthy; Be happy.

I’m leaving this one broad and general for a reason. Healthy and being happy means, looks, and feels different to different people. I want to figure out what all that is for me. I have an idea, but I think they will also most likely change and I think I need to learn to be flexible.

So, there’s the list. I also want to point out that many people have made a good point about how you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to make a change. If there’s something you want to change, do so and change it. Stop making excuses.

I would love to hear feedback, especially on what you think about resolutions and what yours are! Below I have links to some other articles that I liked that I think are related.

Have an awesome, wonderful, and safe New Year’s Eve and I hope your 2015 will be amazing!

Other Links to Check Out:

49 New Year’s Resolutions Twentysomethings Should Consider

We Are Always Beginning Again

10 Things to Help Us Grow into the New Year

Instead of Making a New Year’s Resolution, Try This

How Visualization Can Lead to Positive Change

6 Things We Need to Stop Obsessing Over

4 Ways to Make Your New year’s Resolutions Stick in 2015

15 Ideas For Setting Goals In The New Year

The Surprising Reason We Make New Year’s Resolutions

17 Ways to Make a New Year’s Resolution You’ll Actually Keep

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