New Year’s Resolutions

It almost feels as if I just blinked and suddenly a brand new year is upon us. Time sure flies fast when you’re having fun! 2011 was an amazing year for me—I learned the value of being a better friend, broadened my horizons at work, explored a couple of new countries, dealt with changes and got to know myself better. And from the looks of things, 2012 will be even more awesome because I’ve already checked off a major item in my bucket list from the get go! So I am excited to start a new chapter with a clean slate and a light heart, and I know you all feel the same way.

Normally I write an article on Kikay resolutions to open the year, but since you can read a lot of those everywhere anyway, I thought of sharing with you a list of my own resolutions that may hopefully help all of us become better people. Here it is:

1. Do what inspires you. I’ve come across too many disillusioned people barely scraping by day after day, all because they feel they are stuck in a dead end situation. So enough with this ‘settling’. Do what makes you happy, do what makes you feel alive, like you are fulfilling a greater purpose and you are doing what you are meant to do. Switch careers if you must, but in many cases you don’t even have to—just find a way to incorporate doing what you love in your life. Make time to dabble in art, try your hand in music, teach others, send an orphan through school, start an environmental or animal protection advocacy, travel, declare your feelings for a loved one…whatever you want! The possibilities are endless and life is too short to be spent in limbo. In fact, try making a bucket list of 25 things you want to do before you die and work on crossing out at least two of them this year.  

2. Conquer your fears. Declare that the time has come to stop being afraid. If fears have kept you from achieving something, work on overcoming them. Look for ways to get over your fear of public speaking, quit your bad habits, stop shortchanging yourself, live independently, speak up at work, and don’t be afraid to shine. And if you fail the first time, dust yourself off and try again. Nothing worth having is ever easy after all, and if you quit without even trying, you’ll never know how far you can go…and you’ll never win. No pain, no gain right?  

3. Listen to your conscience. Oh you know it’s there. It’s that little voice in your head that makes you feel guilty when you know you’re making a bad choice. Too many times, people hesitate and decide to just ignore that voice so we can do what we want, what’s cool, what’s fun, what’s exciting, what feeds our ego. But as my wise friend Nancy just told me over lunch today, there are some wrong choices that just cannot be undone, and the consequences reverberate for years to come and cause us misery anyway. So the next time you’re conflicted over something, try and do what you know is the right thing. It might not be the easiest or most pleasant route, but it is well worth it in the long run.

4. Find reasons to be grateful. I find it so draining to be around people who just find everything wrong with anything. The ones who just can’t get their heads above their latest crisis (be it a guy or a job or a family issue) to realize that we are all so blessed in so many ways, every single day. We all have our bad days, days when we feel unworthy, angry or upset. But some people tend to wallow in misfortune rather than celebrate their blessings. I try and count my blessings at night—even the most random things like a soft pillows ,my puppy barking, the diploma hanging on my wall, my favorite ice cream in the ref, or my mom’s laugh—and it’s enough to make me feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  

5. Work on Version 2.0. This means try and improve in little ways and be the best version of yourself as often as you can. Take better care of your health, work harder on your projects, always be put together and prepared, look polished and professional, read up on current events and various literature, take up further studies, keep practicing your skills. Expand your world, change your paradigms, be nicer to people. We all have areas to improve, so take a good look at yourself and zero in on what would make you a better person and work on that—be it controlling your temper, being more thoughtful and considerate, or communicating better. One baby step at a time can mean a transformed you by the time the year ends.  

6. Appreciate others. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in ourselves that we forget that we share this planet with billions of other people. It really wouldn’t kill you to look people in the eye and smile. I find this especially true when dealing with service staff- household help, restaurant staff, bank tellers, utility servicemen, guards and janitors. Sometimes we forget they’re even there. But these people have dreams and families and futures, and we are really all the same (except maybe born in different circumstances). So be kind. As for friends , family members and colleagues, the same thing applies. People aren’t perfect—they have problems and hurts too, so a little more patience and understanding would go a long way. Treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself, do random good deeds and pay it forward. Before you know it, you’ll have changed the world.

7. Cultivate your spiritual life. Do you ever feel as though we are living such shallow lives, problematizing things like bad hair days and breakups, delayed flights, Facebook drama or a botched up report at work? And we cope by doing random mundane things like having a drink or watching a movie or going shopping. I find that it helps for a while to amuse myself, but the feeling of something being missing persists after the novelty wears off. That’s because people seem to be forgetting we need to feed our souls. In this day and age of all the social networking and gadgets, we hardly have long talks or write long letters, keep journals, go on retreats, meditate or pray anymore. And without a spiritual life, the well will always feel dry. No amount of Christian Louboutin stilettos or Chanel bags can fix that.  

8. Be honest. This works for yourself and for others. When you’re honest with yourself, you don’t need to pretend to be someone you’re not, you don’t need to make little white lies to feel validated or accepted, you don’t need to be defensive and rush to blame others when you make a mistake. And when you’re honest with others, they will truly appreciate you better.

Here’s to a 2012 brimming with magic and fulfilled dreams. Love and light, everyone!

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