As 2015 is slowly coming to a close, I have been reflecting on what this year has been for me and what I can do in the upcoming 365 days to make it better than the last series of days. While I am not someone believes in the whole “new year, new me” philosophy – what does a mere changing of a number at the end of a date have to do with how we are as human beings? Time is not a real concept, it’s just something that human beings created to measure certain cycles of the sun… Anyway, before I get lost going down that path: I still feel like it is important to try and set up some goals for the upcoming year.
In addition to setting up a series of dos and don’ts for the upcoming year, I feel like it’s important to reflect on what the past year brought you: both good and bad. It’s important to remember the good things because, well, they were good. They were a positive moment in your life that made you happy. And yes, it is also important to reflect on the bad things that happened over the past year. Not because you need to wallow in all the shitty things that happened over the past twelve months, but because there are lessons to come out of the bad things that happened to you. Learn from the bad things that happened so you know how to avoid those situations and create more positive life experiences.
I will not go into detail about everything good and bad that happened to me this past year because, trust me, both lists would be pretty long and, quite frankly, I cannot remember everything. However, here are my dos and don’ts for 2016:
- Don’t be so hard on yourself: you are a human being. You are going to make mistakes, but you are also going to do great things. You are a great person who has many positive qualities about yourself. Pay attention to those, not the negative things.
- Don’t feel like you have to say “yes” to everything: It is nice to help people out and try to do a wide variety of things with your life, but you are one person. You cannot do everything and you are not always able to drop things for other people. Sometimes you are going to have to say “no.” Just don’t be a jerk about it. Also, do not be afraid if you have to do something for yourself first. Keep in mind that there is a fine line between saying “no” to help yourself out and being selfish. It is okay to make some sacrifices.
- Don’t be negative: complain less. Bad things happen in life. People can be a pain in the ass. Don’t dwell on it. Complaining about it or talking negatively is not an attractive quality. In fact, it can be rather annoying. Plus it is not good for your mental health.
- Don’t be afraid: stop second guessing yourself. You do not need to overthink everything. Just do it. Don’t pull the trigger too soon, but don’t wait too long. In addition, there are going to be situations that make you feel uncomfortable: embrace them. Tackle them head-on. You do not need to avoid them.
- Don’t keep negative people around: This one is something that I’ve battled for a long time. If someone is not lifting you up in some way, do not keep them around. Do not try and force a happy outcome out of something that is not happy. The quicker you learn to let go of negative things, the sooner you can reach overall happiness. There are plenty of positive people and interactions around you that you do not need to stress over the negative ones.
- Compliment yourself more: Look in the mirror often and give yourself a compliment. You have a good outfit on today. Your hair looks great today. You have a nice smile. You are smart. You are talented. Little happy thoughts towards yourself make all the difference. The more positive thoughts you have about yourself, the better you will feel. Avoid comparing yourself to others as well. Some people are able to do things better than you. It’s true. But you can do things better than other people. Treat yourself like royalty because you deserve it. Just don’t get too full of yourself.
- Before bed, reflect on the good things that happened that day: you don’t have to climb a mountain every day, but make sure you keep track of all the accomplishments that you did. You got out of bed on time. You did laundry. You worked ahead on homework. You hung out with friends. You had a great practice session. You had a really good lunch. Keep in mind that not every day is going to be a great day. That’s perfectly okay. Not every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows. But don’t let that weigh you down. There are victories to celebrate each day. Make sure you do them. You have great things going for you, remember that.
- Prioritize/Plan: get a finite idea of what your schedule will look like. Make sure you get your work done early instead of pushing it off until the last minute. That YouTube video can be watched after you finish your homework. In addition to making sure you have time to do all your work, make sure you have time to be a person and relax. Create a balance between the two: avoid overworking yourself and being lazy.
- Sleep: you know that you are a college student and sometimes you know that you won’t sleep as much as you would like. But don’t forget how important sleep is to you, including your mental health. Hopefully, if you prioritize/plan well enough, the getting more sleep concept will be easier to accomplish.
- Create: this one is pretty open. I don’t have a definitive definition for this one because it might mean different things throughout the year. Compose a song. Write more blog posts. Learn a new hobby. Make something of and for yourself. Build up your own personal kingdom. Whatever you create, make sure it is something that you are proud of and want to have your name on.
Every day/week/month/year is a journey, make 2016 a great one. Be confident. Be brave. Be the best you that you can be.