Another new year means another set of resolutions. But given the kind of 2016 that most of us had, 2017 demands a different sort of resolve. Sure, you can still kick the smoking habit and cut back on the drinking and lose a couple pounds — if those are commitments you want to make for yourself — but we also need to remember to include bigger-picture concepts that keep our lives as a whole cohesive and in a continued pursuit of positivity. Here are six ideas to give you that fresh start we all so desperately need right now.
Organize your personal and professional life. I’m self-employed, and as a result I have the luxury of taking the last week of the year off not only to relax and celebrate the holidays with my family and friends but also to prepare for the year ahead. I make a big list of to-dos right before Christmas of items I’d like to accomplish to get my personal and professional life in order so I can hit the ground running when I’m back at it in January. At home, I like to deep clean and organize the house, which is somewhat chaotic this time of year with all the holiday trimmings, and where work is concerned, I delete unused files on my computer, sift and expunge expired emails, prepare client schedules for the months ahead, and — on a day where I’m feeling particularly patient — organize my taxes so I can cop that refund ASAP. Completing these tasks while I have the extra time during break keeps me just busy enough to not get bored between holidays, but it also makes the transition into a new year that much smoother.
Eliminate the literal and figurative toxicity. There’s no denying that 2016 was a real bear. It took its toll on all of us emotionally and mentally, the genesis for most of which can be blamed on the lead up and subsequent fallout of a highly contentious election year. But that’s all over now, and it’s time to move on. Think positive, and steer clear of any negativity that tries to infiltrate your life — particularly on social media. Maybe a hiatus is order. If that’s what you need to clear your head and start thinking straight again (wink), shut it down and distance yourself until you feel ready to engage. Take it from me that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how freeing the stepping-away experience can be. You may never want to go back.
Focus on your physical, emotional and mental well-being. I wholly believe in living your life at 110 percent. Eat healthy; exercise most days of the week, if only for 30-minute sessions; and stimulate your brain by reading or playing strategy games (yep, mobile games apply), both of which are scientifically proven to enhance your creativity. If you find it difficult to schedule in this “me time” due to a hectic schedule, compromise and do what works for you. Plan a night or two a week, for instance, to make a new recipe, or drop in on a class at your gym to find the fitness motivation that you might not otherwise have on your own. It’s up to you how so long as you’re doing it.
Practice tolerance. It seems like no matter where you turn, the scene is straight-up vitriol. This year, rise above the fray. Don’t let bad attitudes bring you down, and show compassion for those who are having a hard time finding their inner peace. Remember, we don’t all have to agree on everything, but we do need to respect one another. If respect isn’t reciprocal, however, you owe it to yourself to distance yourself from the negativity and focus on brightening your own light. It’s the only one that matters in the end.
Uphold your convictions and fight for your rights. Just when we thought it was safe to be LGBT, along comes a new political regime that, on the surface at least, threatens all we’ve worked to accomplish civilly over the past few decades … which means that 2017 is no time to rest on our laurels. We don’t know yet what’s coming our way, but whatever happens we must be prepared to fight for our rights. Stay proud, stay vigilant, and most importantly stay on the right side of history. Do that, and together we’ll always come out on top.
Set new goals and map out paths to success. I’m a goal setter through and through, and I’ve found that the only way I have success in reaching them is to build an actionable plan around the end game. For example, if you want to increase your savings this year, it’s important to set weekly or monthly savings goals that, little by little, inch toward that larger sum. If you’d like to take a much-needed vacation, start planning ahead by researching what it’ll cost in terms of transportation, lodging, food, activities, shopping and other expenses that you may incur. Whatever your lofty goals are, you’ll have an easier time meeting them when you break down into smaller tasks what it’ll take to get there. The payoff will be that much sweeter as well; you earned it and you deserve it. Happy New Year!
— Mikey Rox