When 2010 began, I believed it would end up being my worst year ever: my personal life was in shambles, work was stressful, and my mom had been diagnosed with cancer. Even though I had a several-years-old practice of choosing a word of the year as my focus, with all of the stress in my life, and everything else going on that winter, I couldn’t settle on anything that felt right.
By the time late March rolled around, I felt completely adrift, and was still wordless. One night, after sobbing to one of my closest friends, she lovingly (and firmly) reminded me that every day is an opportunity to start over.
At that point I decided that my new year would begin on April 1st. I chose the word “faith” as my focus. At every challenge that surfaced, I reminded myself that my theme for the year was faith – that I was going to have faith in myself and faith that everything would work out.
2010 may have begun as my most challenging year ever, but it turned out to be an amazing and transformative time in my life. I lost my mom, but I also fell in love and began a life with a man who far surpasses anything I could have dreamed.
It was the year I began falling in love with my life.
So often, people complain that their New Year’s resolutions and big goals rarely make it beyond February. It’s easy to listen to that inner critic when this happens.
What I’ve learned is that sometimes, our lives flow differently from the calendar. We are fast approaching the mid-point of the year, which is a spectacular time to re-assess, re-examine, and re-dedicate your goals and focus. Cut yourself some slack, darling!
You can choose to develop the most amazing year of your life beginning NOW.
And, once you re-fresh yourself and set your sight on some new (or refined) goals, here are some of my own personal tips and tricks to allow your life to develop the way you desire
One: Begin Fresh
Every day is an opportunity to begin fresh. You can adjust your focus, change your words of the year, get back on path, and rededicate yourself to your desires any day. You can choose to begin your year today.
Two: Put the Whip Down
When you are giving yourself a fresh start, or simply reviewing your progress, it can be easy to get distracted to the voice of your inner critic. It’s impossible for love and courage to occupy the same space as fear and castigation, so put the whip down and stop beating yourself up!
I know that the reality of life can sometimes make your dreams seem like the impossible dream, but baby, let me tell you, that just isn’t true!
Three: Give Yourself Permission
Give yourself permission to not be perfect. Those imperfections that you perceive as flaws are what make you, well, so wonderfully you. Remember that you are allowed to change the plans and the rules you set for your life.
It’s your life, and nothing is written in stone.
One of the most proactive things you can do to stay on track is to go within. Creating a meditation or prayer practice is the perfect way to listen to – or rediscover – your inner voice.
Your true inner voice is wisdom.
Five: Eliminate Clutter
Clutter distracts you from living your best. Everything your world has energy, and that includes everything in your home. Clear that pile of magazines off the coffee table, remove all the clothes in your closet that you don’t love, and get rid of all the knick knacks that are gathering dust.
If you don’t love it, chunk it.
Six: Stop Being So Busy
The more “to dos” you try to squeeze into your day the less you actually get done. Give yourself plenty of white space so that you can breathe. If nothing else, eliminate just one thing from your to do list that you don’t delight in.
Busy, my dear, doesn’t equal worth. Don’t buy into the glorification of “busy” as a badge of honor.
Seven: Nourish Your Goals with Routines
Don’t underestimate how supportive nourishing routines can be. While they may seem restrictive, routines are actually about freedom. Routines help you manage your energy effectively so that you can channel it towards your real desires and purpose.
Review your daily routines and adjust them to nourish and support your goals.
Eight: Begin a Weekly Meeting With Yourself
One of the best tools I know to stay on track with your goals is to regularly review them. If you institute a weekly personal review you’ll discover that you stay on top of projects and assignments. It also will provide you a structure to stay on track for those goals!
A weekly review allows you to really sharpen your intuitive focus so that the things that really matter to you don’t fall away in the day-to-day living of life.
Nine: Add Good Food
Take a few moments to plan your meals so that you aren’t tempted to eat drive-through meals. Instead of eating, dine. Sit at a table with plates and real silverware.
You cannot thrive if you fuel your body with high-fat, high-sodium foods.
Ten: Don’t Forget to Hydrate
Dehydration can cause us to lose focus, eat when we aren’t hungry, and feel sluggish. When in doubt, drink more water.
Eleven: Choose Rest
What if you listened to your body and just went to bed when you were tired? In the fast-paced lives that we live, we often forgo sleep in an attempt to get caught up. The fact of the matter is adults need between six and nine hours of sleep a night.
Put your iPhone away, turn off the TV, and just go to bed. Instead of listening to your mind, you need to listen to your body. That’s tuning into your inner wisdom.
Twelve: Release Your Inner Child
When you are feeling overwhelmed or uninspired, release your inner child and play around. Jump rope, grab some crayons and draw a picture, play backgammon with your partner or crank up the music and dance around the house.
When you don’t include regular non-work play in your world, it’s bad for your well-being, and can actually lead to stress, fatigue, and depression.
If you’d asked me, back at the beginning of 2010, what my future would hold, the response I would have given you would have been bleak. By choosing to start over in April of that year, my life changed.
I’m living proof that you can choose to begin fresh at any time of year. Darling, it is never too late to create a life you love.