Happy new year, all you beautiful people out there! It’s 2017 and I couldn’t be more excited…as they say, every new year brings with it 365 opportunities. Every day we wake up is a gift, and we would have a much better world if we all started acting like it!
It has always been a tradition for me to start the year with a list of resolutions—and yes, as corny as it sounds I do try my best to actually check them off. I’d like to think this practice has made me a better person, because articulating my goals has made me more aware of what it is I’m really trying to do. It is very important to choose your goals well, because they will then shape your thoughts and behavior. This year though, instead of a to-do list, I decided to make a list of principles I’d like to live by. Have a look at this and see what you can come up with for yourself this year:
- Quality always trumps quantity. This one applies to everything! It is better to keep a smaller group of true friends who have your back come hell or high water rather than a large number of fair-weather friends who are nice to you one day but gossip about you the next. It is better to have fewer clothes, bags, shoes or jewelry as long as the quality is impeccable, none of it is fake, and they can last years, decades, even generations without falling apart or going out of style. So this year, instead of having a mindset of amassing more, be more mindful about who you spend your time with, and what things you spend your hard earned money on. You deserve only the best.
- Low risk, low return. I first learned this principle in finance, but quickly realized it translates to many things in life as well. Sometimes, you really need to take bigger risks and step out of your comfort zone in order to get what you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s leaving your predictable 9 to 5 job to start a new business, shifting careers, moving to a new country, pursuing a passion, or even falling in love, there comes a time in your life when you need to go beyond the safe confines of what you know. It doesn’t always work out, but the experience will teach you much more than you could have learned if you never tried. And—there’s that small encouraging voice that whispers—what if it does?
- Health is wealth. You never really value your health until something goes wrong. What’s worse is if the damage is irreversible and you get stuck with a medical condition for the rest of your life. There is nothing more important than ensuring your wellness because it affects, well– everything, especially your disposition. So make this the year you are finally going to get healthy, not just to look good but to feel good too. Get active, be it through dance, running, spinning or yoga, and make an effort to eliminate junk and eat only fresh, nutritious food.
- Be authentic. Stop living your life according to the expectations, opinions and standards of other people. It doesn’t matter what they say. What’s important is you do what makes you happy. Say what’s on your mind instead of what you think people want to hear. Act on how you feel. Accept your mistakes and shortcomings. Live your truth. Be at peace with yourself. Remember it is your life, not anybody else’s, and you only get one shot at it. Make it your best one.
- If you could choose to be anything, be kind. You can be driven, successful, brilliant, whatever, but if you are not kind, it doesn’t count much. When your life is over, you cannot take your money, belongings, titles, or achievements with you. What will be left behind is the memory others have of you– how you lived your life, whether you spoke compassionate words, found ways to help those in need, or smiled often, or did your best to make others happy. If you could leave a legacy in this world, make it one of kindness, because that’s the only way it can become a better place.
- Happiness is a choice. An important realization is that you alone are responsible for your own happiness and contentment, regardless of your circumstance. Whether you are single, married, employed, unemployed, rich, poor, popular, or not, you can choose to be happy. You can choose to appreciate what you have, to count your blessings instead of complaining about your burdens. You can’t make anyone responsible for your happiness—be it your family, your friends, your boss, or your spouse. It is all a mindset, there a people with so much less who are so happy. So wake up with a smile, don’t sweat the small stuff, and carpe diem.
- Change is the only constant. That’s the thing about life, it doesn’t run out of surprises. Be prepared for change, and buckle up for all the twists and turns that are bound to come your way. Nothing lasts forever, you will not always be high and mighty, and you will not always be downtrodden. Trials are unavoidable but for as long as you’ve done your best to live your life right, you should emerge from them not only unscathed but even better than before. And only then do you realize that this is what makes life beautiful.
- No expectations, no comparisons. The quickest killer of happiness is expectation. It should be like this, it should be like that. I deserve this, I deserve that. She has this, so I should also have that. Why can’t we all just chill out and let things be? Appreciate things and people for what they are instead of whatever you think they should be or do. If you learn to see everything as a gift instead of something that the universe owes you, not only will you be happier, you will also be more grateful. And if for some reason you don’t get what you want—maybe that in itself is a blessing too.
- Life is not a race. Success is relative to a person. Not everybody is cut out to be at the top of the corporate ladder, or married with kids, or loaded with money and expensive things. That’s just the way it is. There’s no guarantee that if you have all of that, you will automatically be happy. So base your success on what truly makes your life meaningful instead of the standard, cookie-cutter criteria, and know that you are where you are for a reason. There’s no need to compete with others because we are all on a different journey.
- There is always room for improvement. That said, never stop growing, find ways to keep learning, explore new places, do new things, and stretch yourself to the very best of your potential. That’s the least we can do with the talents and abilities we’ve been given! Make 2017 your year of positive transformation and share your gift with others.
Here’s to another fabulous, colorful, adventure-filled year ahead with all of you.