Photo courtesy of anacostiayoga.com
And before you know it, it's that one time of the year everyone looks forward to celebrating: New Year's Day. You have your sparkling black on, you watch the ball drop, read your facebook posts and like pictures, take more pictures for others to like, and last but definitely far from least, you make your resolutions for the year. You "forget" about the fact that for the last ten years, you have made the same resolutions- the same resolutions that, you recall with simple shake of the head, barely lasted until that first Thursday of January when your ex rang your bell and you buzzed him in, or when you took a bite out of that dulce de leche donut from your favorite pastry spot. No judgment here, folks. Resolutions and promises are definitely one in the same: easy to make and hard to keep. However, the whole logic behind resolutions is to grow, to build on what was previously there. We are naturally inclined to grow, and with each new year, our natural desire is to grow. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them," and as people, our ultimate goal is to simply be happy. Mary J. Blige happy. Coca Cola commercial happy. If the words of Emerson ring true, then we must set our own conditions to achieve our own sense of "happy." If we have no resolutions, then here are some things to bid farewell and leave in '12 in order to set conditions for our journey to happy in 2013:
Franklin D. Roosevelt was on to something when he said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Fear- fear of rejection, failure, death, even loneliness- can sometimes be the biggest factor in our hesitance and failure to carry out decisions in everyday dilemmas and situations. Fear of rejection keeps you from walking up to the guy who works on the floor above you and asking for his number. Fear of failure keeps you from applying to the grad school of your dreams. What if he laughs at me, tells me he is engaged? What if they don't accept me, tell me that I'm not good enough for them? These probing questions are the determining factors in our decisions. You continue to stare at his back on the elevator, paralyzed by your "what if." You log out of the school website and search for the perfect pair of shoes to quiet your spirit, which is steady telling you to apply. We fight ourselves, because we are our harshest critics. We are our own worst enemies.
How do we leave fear in 2012? One trick I have when approaching a scary situation is think "worst case scenario." What is the worst that could happen if I approach this guy? He could turn me down, but I'm still breathing. My heart is still intact, and waiting for the man who is meant to take care of it. Poor coworker is simply not it. His loss, my lesson. What works with "worst case scenario" is that it minimizes the mystery in the possibility. We fear what we don't know. The minute we allow ourselves to explore it, we are not very fearful of it anymore.
That guy/girl who just can't seem to get it together.
Relationships, romantic or platonic, that are not working and have not worked in '12 need to be buried in '12. Again, this is hard, because there is the unknown. He is all I know. What if I don't find someone else? If he or she wasn't doing what you wanted him or her to regarding you in 2012, what makes you think that because the calendar has shifted things will change? No one changes because we want them to change. They have to want to change for themselves. If that change is not happening and you are still shedding those 2012 tears, take your 2012 shovel and bury the 2012 heartache. Worst case scenario? You get to date yourself. That doesn't sound so bad! Dating yourself would start the process of self-loving, which is actually helpful, because it allows you to decide what you will and will not accept in future relationships. Don't be afraid to change that status if being that status is making you unhappy. Set your own conditions, remember?
This goes for friendships as well. Friendships are just as important as romantic relationships. If your hunnygirl or boy spends more time talking about you to others or envying your position in your life, from your career to your style, then it may be time bring out his or her casket as well. No need in taking your one-sided relationship to 2013. Leave the envy and double-talking in '12.
Debt. Yeah, I said it.
It is time to stop running. If your voicemail has more 888-callback requests and your phone receives enough private calls a day to put a hotline to shame, it is time to stop the games. Trust me, this is hard. I still have debt from college that I am not proud of. However, scared money don't make money. Order your credit report, double-check it for any errors or fallacies in your name, and call up those debtors you've been avoiding. Make a goal-tracking sheet of what you can take care of, and set your budget so that it doesn't interfere with your living expenses. Visit www.thebudgetcalculator.com or www.mappingyourfuture.org for further assistance.
Stress. It's time to "ohm."
Stress is the leading factor in high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes. Whether it is the boss, the children, the boo, or the mother, we all experience stress and it is detrimental to progress. Is it the actual situation that stresses us out? Not really- it is our reaction to stressful situations that leads to us pulling our hair out and losing sleep.
How do we fight stress? We simply breathe. Breathing deeply is a proven antidote to the stress problem. Breathing deeply and counting down from 10 is highly effective in slowing the heart rate, reducing headache, and allowing us to think before we act. Sometimes, we don't allow ourselves the time to just breathe. For the sake of our health, this habit should die with 2012.
What else can we do? Meditate. Meditating consistently allows us to spend time away from thoughts, annoying people, painful reality, even fear, and tune into the most important people in all of these situations- ourselves. Set out a time early in the morning before work, before kids and breakfast and getting dressed, to simply sit and blot out your thinking. Clear your mind and just focus on your breathing. For some of us religious folk, read the Bible and just let God speak in His still voice. It makes the difference.
And lastly...say goodbye to baggage.
2012 should be like Vegas-whatever happened there should stay there. If there is a beef between you and someone else, bury it in 2012. Whatever setbacks and challenges you've encountered and dealt with in 2012, leave it there. If you have chosen to forgive someone, leave the reason in 2012. Simply forgive and move on. If you have any regrets, keep it where? That's right, in 2012.
And so, my dear, we part ways...
Resolutions are feeble and easy to break. It becomes a crutch for a fool, but breaking it can easily shut one down for the rest of the year. Why experience that? Instead of making a list of resolutions, create a bucket list for 2013. Things that you must do. List no more than 5-6 things, and each of the to-do items must be tangible. With the bucket list, saying goodbye to fear, stress, debt, bad relationships, and baggage would be possible. Notice I didn't say easy, just possible.
Let's set our own conditions for our happiness in 2013. Let's set the tone for the year with a positive outlook and simple plan: to leave what harmed us behind. It will take tears, failure, maybe even anger, but it ultimately leads us to our "happy." Happy New Year's readers, toast to the mystery of 2013 and the memory of 2012! On that note, I'm out for now. I have some egg nog to attack and a book to calm me down. Peace and party safely!