Every article I’ve read lately about the New Year starts with a sentence about how horrible 2016 was. I find this so disheartening. Every year has its good and bad, its sadness and joy, its low moments and bright spots. It is a very personal thing as well — some people may have had a much harder year than others depending on where they live in the world or their current life situation. But whether you claim the year to have been good or bad, everyone can agree to have learned something. Many things, most likely, but at least something. Rather than end the year shouting “good riddance!”, why don’t we instead take some time to reflect on our experiences in 2016 and start planning and dreaming for 2017?
Here are 7 ways to make your 2017 amazing:
1. Celebrate all the goodness you experienced in 2016. After a long stretch of very difficult and sad years, 2016 was full of happy surprises, love and adventure (both personally and professionally) for me.
I turned 40, got married, grew our team at BRIKA, moved, had a beautiful little girl and proceeded to shuttle her around to our five (five!) BRIKA stores for holiday. My year was jam-packed and full of blessings. Take a few minutes to write down all the happy moments, blessings and gifts you experienced and received this past year. Get specific about trips you took, what you accomplished, new things you tried, compliments you received, etc.
2. Purposefully identify your Most Important Things. These days most of us are on autopilot. We are guided by our inbox, the news and social media feeds. We check our phones first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. We aren’t choosing what to think about or care about…it is being dictated for us by whatever pops up first in our email/Instagram/news feed. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to think about what really matters to us and how we want to feel this year. Then work on building your life around that starting with your choices.
3. Set some boundaries around your news intake. For a long time, because of personal issues, I stayed completely away from the news. I wasn’t informed about what was happening in my backyard, let alone around the world. This year I’ve crawled out from under my rock and have started paying attention. The events happening in the world are scary and confusing and complicated (as they always have been). But it is important NOT to hide from it and to be informed and question and debate and try to understand. Just protect your own psyche while processing it all. You can’t make your positive contribution or affect positive change in the world if you’re bogged down with the weight of it.
4. Identify what your most common excuses are. We all have them. What are your excuses for not giving your Most Important Things attention? I’m too busy, I have to clean the house, I’ll start when x,y or z. Pull your excuses out from under the bed, sweep them up and throw them out. If something is really important to you, there is NO excuse!
5. Commit to connecting more offline. Cyber-bullying and trolling online peaked in 2016 (I hope). It is so easy to be mean, hurtful and aggressive when typing at your computer at @anon3460 than when sitting across from someone at a table. Social media is an amazing way to connect with others beyond our immediate vicinity, share ideas, have healthy debates and learn others points of view. But humans are a social species — we need to belong, to truly connect to one another through a smile, a handshake, a kind word or a deep conversation. Take a minute to ask the barista how their day is going before rushing out with your coffee, agree to even a no-phone hour with your family where you connect with one another or even just be quiet together. Keep your phone in your bag when with a colleague or friend. Find ways to disconnect and more importantly, truly connect every day.
6. Make a “fun stuff” list. Wear bright lipstick, find a new perfume, do a Motown tour of Detroit, learn to crochet, redecorate bedroom, create a perfect bar….make a list of all the fun things you’d love to do/try this year. Keep it somewhere handy and when life starts to feel a little routine or mundane, pull out your list and cross something off!
7. Don’t suppress that desire to change. It is common at the beginning of the new year to feel an itch or a burning desire to make changes. Run with that feeling! Take out a new journal and a good pen and write down all your dreams and desires for yourself, your family, your community, your world. Build working towards those dreams into your daily to do’s and refer back to your original list once a month (set a time in the calendar so you don’t forget!) It might not result in a brand new you, but it will result in a changed, improved version of you!
This article was written by BRIKA Co-Founder & Crafter of Brand, Kena Paranjape.