Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

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One year ago, remaining optimistic was difficult, I often compared myself to others and I second-guessed myself — a lot. Yet, at the end of 2015 I still managed to write down my goals and declared that 2016 was going to be a much better year — and it has been.

This year, I felt myself grow tremendously. Having more free time than ever before allowed me to learn more about myself as a person — which, I believe, is an important element in the process of self-development.

I am far from having everything in my life all figured out, but that’s why they call it a journey. It’s a marathon, not a race. I made it a priority to change the way I approach situations in my life and it made a big difference.

Change What You Can, Forget The Rest

Complaining about things that are out of your control is a waste of energy. I realized that being able to apply this principal to everyday life doesn’t happen overnight. Just like anything else, you have to practice it until it becomes a habit. Incorporating this has forced me to breakdown situations and figure out what exactly I’m displeased with. As a result, I have been able to realign my focus and put energy into other areas of my life that need it the most.

Don’t Do Too Much Too Fast

I am the type of the person who wants to always take on so much — whether it’s traveling, starting projects, reading books or trying new restaurants. I think this is a great thing. I’m young and single, I live in a big city and I find myself having a lot more time to use to my advantage. However, I had to take a step back because I was running too far ahead of myself. As a result, I made it a priority to focus on my goals one at at time. Instead of making it a race to check everything off as fast as I could, I was able to devote my energy to each goal individually which helped me complete them faster. I had to learn that it is okay to move at my own speed instead of the pace life was trying to set for me.

As this year comes to a close, I will give myself a pat on the back — and I hope you will do the same for yourself. I am proud of my major accomplishments, day-to-day small wins and claiming what I want as mine. Don’t look back a year from now and realize that you could have achieved more. There are 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes and 31,536,000 seconds in a year. How will you choose to use that time to your advantage?

Here are 5 tips to help you start 2017 on a great note:

1. Set Goals

Write down goals that you want to accomplish for the year and review them often. Make sure they are specific, measurable, realistic and tangible. Personally, I break my goals down into four different categories: health, personal, family and professional. These are four areas of my life that are important to me, so I place a lot of emphasis on them. Make sure you aren’t writing goals down for the sake of checking them off the list. Evaluate the meaning behind them and why you want to accomplish them. It’s important to keep yourself honest.

2. Choose an Accountability Partner

Setting goals is the easy part. Actually taking the step forward to accomplish them is difficult. That’s why I am a strong believer in picking an accountability partner. This person can be your mom, significant other, grandparent or best friend. It should be someone who is honest with you, reminds you of what you’re capable of when times get tough, and someone that is genuinely rooting for you. Again, someone that is genuinely rooting for you. Don’t expect someone to help you reach your goals if they are secretly rooting for your downfall.

3. Decide What You Value Most

If someone asked you right now what you truly value the most in your life, can you tell them? If someone asked you if your decision making is reflective of those values, can you honestly say yes? If you answered no to any of those questions, now is the time to figure that out. Write down the top 10 things you value most. Once you do that, number them from 1–10 in order of importance. Now that you can physically see what matters the most to you, keep them in mind whenever you are making decisions. For example, if flexibility is at the top of your list but that new job offer doesn’t have enough, you may need to re-evaluate that offer.

4. Create a Bucket List

Make a list of things that you have always wanted to do and actually do them. If finances are holding you back from traveling, find new things around your city that you haven’t done. Your bucket list doesn’t have to include off the wall items like sky diving (I mean if that’s what you want to do, definitely go for it!). It can include smaller things such as learning to cook new dishes of a certain cuisine, or trying that new workout class you’ve had your eye on for a while. Whatever the case may be, make sure you are doing things that you are interested in because it may change your life in ways you have never imagined.

5. Leave Fear in 2016

From experience, I know this is easier said than done. Going after your dream is scary. Moving to an unknown city where you don’t know anyone is scary. But, the only way you will be able to actually move forward is if you leave fear behind. I never thought that I would be living in one of my dream cities while having my dream job. Letting go of fear and reminding myself of what I wanted helped me make some tough decisions in 2016. As a result, I was able to check off some of my major goals from the year.

LifestyleKyra Littlejohn