As 2019 draws to a close and we begin thinking of a New Year it is typically the time for reflection on the past year and setting new goals and intentions for the year. In the past I have shared my word or intention for the new year. I have loved doing this and the opportunity it provides for making me actually sit, think and ponder what I want or need to take hold of for the upcoming year. This year, however, I am intentionally not following this practice. To be honest, the only word that comes to mind when I look back on 2019 is “hard”. With it came a lot of change and growth but let’s just say I think I’ll say peace out to 2019 and put it to bed.
Rather than set a specific intention for 2020, I am looking forward to intentionally being open to what unfolds. With just a little caveat. . .
Since I am a self-professed self-improvement junkie, I can’t help but reflect on the past year and realize that I did create some habits that I believe had a big impact on helping me weather the ups and downs of the year. I don’t think these FIVE HABITS I created are limited to a hard year or any specific season of life. I look at these as lifestyle and will continue to carry them forward into 2020.
FIVE HABITS TO CREATE IN 2020
1. Create the Habit of taking Care of Yourself
Self-care is such a buzz word these days. If you think self-care is indulging in massages, manacures and facials, then let’s broaden our view. While all of these things are great and are wonderful forms of taking care of yourself, I’m talking about actually doing what you need to do to really take care of yourself. Taking and making the time to rest when you need rest, move your body, eat foods that make you feel good, be with people that lift you up, engage in activities that bring you happiness or peace or energy.
Being the one who does everything may bring some sort of badge of honor. But it can also bring a whole lot of resentment. And bitterness. And other negative emotions that might just come spewing out one day like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. (I’m speaking from experience here, so just learn from my mistakes).
If you are not taking care of yourself, then how are you going to take care of all of those around you? Think of all of the things you do on a daily basis. That list is pretty exhausting I imagine. Who makes all of those things possible? You. So. . . create a habit of taking care of you.
2. Create the Habit of Being Positive.
Being positive is one of my superpowers. But it does take some work at times. This may be really hard for some people. Some people are just by nature more cynical, negative or even realistic. But I do believe that how you look at things is totally a choice you have. You can choose to look at every little inconvenience (and these days with technology, traffic and other rude folks breathing the same air, chances are they will come across your path on a daily basis) as an opportunity to ruin your mood, your day, and those around you, or you can use it as an opportunity to learn to breathe, gain patience, give another person the benefit of the doubt, or show empathy. I promise, if you begin creating the habit of being positive, and making the choice to find even a smidgeon of good, you will eventually begin to see good. You will eventually realize that not all bad things are actually that bad. Not all hills are mountains, and if they are, chances are there is a way down on the other side.
3. Create the Habit of Hard Work
I have always said that I do not believe in luck. Ask any of my boys what I say to them right before a test, a big game or even sports practice. I say “work hard”. I really belive there is not much that we cannot accomplish without just getting to it and working hard. Some things require a whole lot of hard work, but rarely have I ever seen it not pay off in the end. Whatever it is you are doing, whether cleaning out your bathroom cabinet, which is reltively easy, or just started your first job in the real world, just work hard.
Get up and get at it. Move forward. Work hard. The best of all things require we put in the work – whether it is keeping that friendship strong, a great job, playing a new song on the piano, hosting a fabulous dinner party, creating a strong marriage, family relationship, disciplined children, just about anything on the list. . .
4. Create the Habit of Being Nice.
This one. Just think if we all had this habit how much more enjoyable so many of our days would be! Take a second to think how it feels whe someone is actually nice to you. Sometimes it can come as such a surprise that we don’t even know how to feel. Letting someone go in front of you in the check out line at Target, taking someone’s grocery cart from the parking lot, giving someone a compliment, sending a nice email, note or picking up the phone. Just a little niceness can go a long way to give someone joy, a warm fuzzy feeling and the gift of knowing that we do live in a beautiful world.
Over the past year I have often been blown away by others’ kindness. Random folks have just been incredibly nice to me. Sometimes it is even those smallest of gestures that have turned my day around. I try to remember that feeling, especially on those days when I might not be feeling like being a nice person. In the end, it’s about how you make others feel. Just being nice goes a long way.
5. Create the Habit of Tunnel Vision
I’m here to tell you that this one might just be your game changer. It was for me.
Put your blinders on to what is important to you. Only you. No one else. Keep the distractions and loud mouths from telling you what you “should” be doing, what your children “should” be doing, and what “everyone else” is doing.
Stop the noise, put on your blinders and create the habit of following your own gut, your own arrow, your own star or whatever it is that YOU and only YOU know is right for you (and your people) and simply move on knowing you are doing what you know is best and it will be okay. That’s it. Nothing more.
These are five things that I have worked to create in my own life and will continue to cultivate. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. However, I look at these as more than “habits”. Habits seem to instill an ending. There is no ending here. These are meant to simply begin as a habit but morph into a part of your lifestyle and being. If these seem to be a good fit for you, work on creating them so that they become a part of you. If not, find your own things that help you create your new best parts and new lifestyle so that when 2020 comes to a close you can look back and say, “wow”, I did this. I created something that pushed me forward, made my year better and made me better.
I’d love to hear your own habits you are creating!