A Happier New Year

Many of us are setting New Years Resolutions right now. Some of us will keep them, some of us won't. Some of us are avoiding resolutions altogether! Should you set resolutions? Is it even worth the trouble? Should you write them in list form, or organize goals by month?

We're all going to approach this differently, but the one thing that I think everyone will agree on is that we want to be happy.

I'm talking about being a better, happier person on the inside, no matter where you are, or what the year brings. Do you want that? Me too. It's been on my mind a lot these past few weeks.

I don't like goal setting, honestly. And I stopped writing out a list of resolutions years ago. But I strongly believe in the importance of mindset and direction. I think they are essential for everyone. And as this year draws to an end, I'm thinking about these few things, to help me reach for a better, and happier year to come:

I am thinking about......

Expecting less of myself.

I take myself much too seriously. I feel tremendous guilt over the tiniest things. I compare my work - my beginner steps - to professionals who've had years of practice. I stop doing things because I can't do them perfectly.

The real problem, of course, is that I'm expecting the wrong things of myself. I need to give myself a break.

Of course we should strive for more! Of course we should challenge ourselves! Of course we should aim to grow! But every time you catch yourself attaching your worth to something you do (or don't do), you are in trouble.

One way you can recognize that you are doing this when you compare yourself to an ideal, and it makes you feel shame, weakness, and loss of hope. That's when you know you have placed the wrong expectation on yourself, and you've misplaced your worth. Don't expect these things of yourself.

Expecting more of myself.

This seems to contradict my last point, but it doesn't. It just applies to different things.

I can actually read books, finish projects, write more, wear cuter clothes, and so many more things. The comparison game I play here is a little different than I mentioned before. Instead of believing myself to be accountable for more than is appropriate, I believe it necessary to play smaller than I want to, deep down inside, just to fit in with other people.

"Most moms with young kids don't shower every day or wear cute clothes! I guess I just won't worry about it."

"Nobody has time to read! I mean, come on! Life is just busy!"

Saying these things to myself isn't helpful. And it doesn't matter what everyone else does or says. What matters is whether or not I'm being honest about my life, and what makes me happy.

You can recognize when you're not expecting enough of yourself when your comparisons cause you to reach for less, to put yourself on the same field as everyone else, when your heart wants more.

Doing something I enjoy.

This is something I always strive to do, because I believe in it so much! Do something enjoyable, just because you enjoy it! We don't need a "better" reason than that.

Do you believe that? We usually don't require a better reason to do something for our loved ones - we just want them to be happy! What makes you different? I'm asking a very legitimate question. What makes you different?

I think this one is a very big deal. If you don't include this one in your list of priorities, you won't live the life you were intended to live.

Being honest about what makes me tick.

Have you noticed that not everyone thrives in the same environment? Not everyone learns the same way? Not everyone likes the same things? Not everyone hates the same things?

Of course you have.

We run into a lot of trouble when we ignore our own nature and work against it, instead of harnessing the strengths and weaknesses that are naturally given to us!

Personally, I don't work well with structured programs. I operate best when I have freedom to do things my own way. So I don't follow exercise plans or diet plans, and I don't schedule out my time in advance (when I can possibly help it.) And you know what? When I embrace this about myself, I'm more productive - every time! Because I'm not fighting anymore.

Working with our own nature saves a lot of time and energy!

Do you thrive when you have structured accountability? Stop ignoring the fact, and set some up! Do you hate going to the gym, but keep trying to get yourself there? Stop it! There are plenty of other ways to exercise! Do you love DIY projects, but keep using your free time trying to force yourself to enjoy reading? Do yourself a favor and switch to DIY projects!

Be honest with yourself about who you are. Even parts of yourself that frustrate you sometimes! You aren't actually a mistake, and you are never meant to be someone else.

And remember - every moment you spend trying to become someone else is a moment you choose to not build yourself into a better *you.*