As the new year begins to settle itself in, we often find ourselves consumed by an new, overwhelming amount of resolutions, goals and the whole “new year, new me” gimmick. While all of these ideas can potentially be effective, most of the time they end up getting pushed aside and forgotten, leaving the maker in a real heavy slump. I’ve found that it’s really hard to change yourself over the course of a single night and that changing your old calendar out rarely helps do the trick. However, there is hope for all of us wishing to create a better, more-this-less-that version of ourselves and it’s a lot easier than you’d expect.
The key is to reflect, reflect, reflect.
Chances are that, within the time span of the last 365 days, you have changed and grown as a person, but the only way to fully recognize this progress (whether it be good or bad) is to reflect back on it. We live in such a “move forward” culture that we often fail to see how we’ve gotten to where we are today and knowing those foundations is one of the most fundamental concepts in the process of growth. Thankfully, for you, I’m here today to help you jump-start your reflections and, hopefully, help you see that 2015 (and every year prior) has helped shaped you into the magnificent person you are today!
What I started doing last year (at the end of 2014), was making a list of the things I learned over the course of the year. This allowed me to think about everything that was good and also things that were not-so-good about the year and piece together how they have changed me into the “Hay” that I am today. Trust me, getting to where I am in life at this exact moment was definitely a journey but I’m here to show you that it’s possible. So, without further ado, here’s my list of the “Top 15 Things I Learned in 2015”:
1. It’s OK to be independent
This year, I really opted to become a more independent person. A few things had pushed me to this decision but in the end, I have no regrets about it whatsoever. (PS did I mention that being more independent really boosts your confidence? Because it definitely does!) What I’m getting at is that taking care of yourself and not relying on others will definitely result in a more happy and self-fulfilled version of yourself – both awesome qualities to have!
2. Setting smaller, easier-to-achieve goals is more effective in the long run
I used to write down a large goal at the beginning of the year and hope for the best, which made it super easy to become discouraged when I couldn’t succeed with that goal, but recently I’ve set smaller goals that I can focus on directly. In doing so, I’ve had a much higher success rate and I feel more productive with the way I use my time.
3. LISTS ARE LIFE
This one sort of correlates with the last but a list is pretty much just a compilation of mini-goals. Lists have helped me keep track of my time and to just be more productive in general. It’s also extremely satisfying to cross things of your lists once you’re finished.
4. Don’t get discouraged by failure
I’m the type of person who always wants to succeed at everything I do which is a really destructive way of thinking. The truth is that everyone has to fail a couple times in order to grow and there’s absolutely no way to avoid it. This one is still a little tough for me but I’m really working on helping myself realize that failure is not the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
5. Being a morning person can be life-changing
As awful as waking up early sounds, once you’re up and ready it’s so much easier to be productive and it maximizes your time during the day. I’ve really learned to appreciate my time in the mornings and I hate sleeping in now because it just feels like I’ve waste my whole day.
6. Always make time for yourself
This one is so important. Having at least 20 minutes to do something you enjoy will increase your happiness and decrease your stress levels. No matter how much you have to get done in a day, 20 minutes will hardly affect your productivity and it will actually improve your mental well-being.
7. Having a workout partner makes working out easier
Easier workouts? Er – well, maybe not so much. But having a work out partner definitely makes it easier for you to get up and get your butt to the gym because someone is depending on you to be there for them. Plus, it’s great motivation during the workouts!
8. It is very possible to get an A in a math class (or any other class)
Math has always been the class that I struggle with but spring semester of 2015 was the first time I got an A in a math course (conveniently it was also my last math course). Making a goal to do my best in a class and then doing everything in my power to meet that goal is all it took and I was so proud of myself in the end. You should definitely try it sometime!
9. Taking time to watch a sunset will change your entire day
Sunsets are beautiful because they show you that there’s something to look forward to at the end of each day. No matter how long or stressful your day was, watching a sunset will remind you of how small your problems really are in the grand scheme of things.
10. Paying for experiences is 100x better than paying for material items
Just think, when you are incapable of traveling or living life to the fullest, are you going to remember the 200 dollar pair of shoes you splurged on or the ticket to be front row seeing your favorite all-time singer live?
11. You can’t be your own person when you’re always seeking approval from others
Oh, another one I have a hard time doing. You really can not please everyone in your life and not every one is going to be proud of you. I’ve come to realize that trying to get that approval hinders me from growing and becoming.. well, me. So make yourself proud and if any one tells you you’re wrong for doing so, then they have no purpose being in your life.
12. Time management is essential
Managing your time is the only way that you can maximize it. The night before, make a small list of things you need to do the next day and make sure you finish everything on your list. After that, any free time is your time to either get ahead or binge watch Greys Anatomy (I know what one I’d choose).
13. Always be proud of yourself
Like I said earlier, making yourself proud is really all you need to do because in the end, one of the only people you can depend on is, well yourself. Plus, making yourself proud will definitely boost your confidence and help you drive you more in the direction to success. Remember, it’s not a boastful act to be happy with your own accomplishments.
14. Cherish every moment you get with loved ones
Earlier this month, I lost my grandpa who sort of filled in as a father figure for my siblings and I when my dad was deployed overseas. As hard as it was for my family and I to cope with, I’m so blessed that I can look back on all these beautiful memories I have of him and be thankful for the time I got to spend with him. Please don’t take time for granted, you never know when or if you’ll get to see someone again.
15. & lastly, everything is cuter when it’s monogrammed!
I really hope this one is self explanatory.
Well, there ya have it. All fifteen of these items on my list have played an important role in making me into who I am
on January 1st, 2016 (yes, even the monogram one). I know we are still trying to get to know each other so I really hope this helped speed up the process so we can start focusing on more exciting (and shorter) posts. As always, requests can be commented below and I look forward to hearing from you all.