Another year had come and gone. I know many people were excited to say goodbye to 2016, but asides from some of the current events that took place, 2016 was a really great year for me in many ways. I feel like I grew significantly in my personal and professional life, and it started with my 2016 New Year’s theme.
Since 2015, every year I pick a theme for my year and a word to represent it. For 2016 my theme was mindfulness. As someone that deals with anxiety, I wanted to make it a point to find ways to help me cope with my emotions. In my quest to be more mindful I learned a lot about myself and the things that I’m passionate about. I discovered my love for yoga, meditation, kale, moon-bathing, and a great group of people that share these same interests.
My new appreciation for a zen-centered lifestyle helped me have a great year in 2016. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of tough moments for me, but my new approach to handling things helped me get through them. Honestly, I think 2016 was a really great year for me because instead of focusing on the negative, I learned to appreciate the good things in my life. This new mental practice helped me make positive changes from within, which then lead to many great things all around me.
A few of my best moments of 2016 include:
- Getting my first writing job as a contributor for Style Blazer.
- Winning first place in my first body painting competition.
- Moving to Seattle (and the awesome cross-country road trip to get here).
- Making new friends that share the same ideals and passions as I do.
- Getting married to my other half! Being the untraditional people that we are we decided to elope a few months ago! I haven’t talked about on the blog until now because I actually just told my family and friends a week ago.
2016 was simply amazing, but I’m determined to make 2017 and even better year. In fact, I’m setting the intentions to make 2017 one of the best years of my life. This year I’m continuing to expand on my mindfulness year and my theme is explore more. I want to learn more about myself and my passion while exploring this beautiful world.
I’ve rounded up a few of my strategies that I’m implementing into my life to make the most of my year of exploration and I want to share them with you. I hope that these steps can help you with achieving all of your goals in the New Year.
7 Ways to Make This Year The Best Year Ever
Let It Go
Seriously– let it go. Let go of all of your anger, resentment, hate, and anything that is holding you back from being a better version of yourself. Back when I was in my early 20s my friends and I would write all of our troubles on a balloon and set it free. Nowdays I know the negative effects that releasing a balloon has on the environment, so instead I suggest that you write down all of your troubles on a piece of paper and throw the paper away. Say goodbye and move on!
Create a Mind Map
I learned about mind mapping while I was in college. It’s a creative strategy that helps to organize thoughts and ideas, but I recently read an article about how you can apply this organization method to your real life. The new year is an opportunity to make changes, but sometimes it’s hard to align those thoughts. This method helps you visualize all of your ideas, as well as how to connect the dots between all of your ideas to give you a clear picture.
It took me 30 years to learn to “be here now” and it’s something I have to continuously work on every day. Reminding yourself to not dwell on the past or worry about the future is not easy, especially if you are someone that deals with anxiety. Enjoying moments as they are happening really makes you feel alive. Make it a point every day to authentically enjoy the things you are doing. Take the time to truly listen to those standing in front of you. Engage in meaningful conversations. Get involved in a cause that is close to your heart. Listen to the sounds of nature when you are outside. These are all ways to start living in the moment.
Life is all about perspective. You can chose to dwell on negativity or combat it with positivity. I encourage you to start to paying close attention to your thoughts and words. Make it a point to avoid people and environments that are negative. Remember, you attract what you put out. I know this can be hard at first, but when you learn to be conscious of your actions and thoughts, it will become easier to not allow yourself to fall down a negative black hole. Your vibe will become your tribe. An easy way to keep yourself focused on positivity each day is by starting the day reading inspiring quotes that relate to where you are at in your life. You can look up quotes boards on Pinterest (here’s mine) or create your own positive mood board.
We all have things to be grateful for. Even in our lowest moments, there are things around us that are truly blessings. Learn to recognize and appreciate the small (and big) things in life by journaling every day. Gratitude journaling has been life changing for me and I actually wrote a piece about how gratitude journaling changed my life. Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood faster than looking back through the pages of my gratitude journal.
I find that I’ve learned the most about myself and the world around me through my travels. I didn’t have to backpack Europe (although that’s on my bucket list!) find experiences to learn from. In fact, many of my local hikes and travels in the Pacific Northwest have been some of the most inspiring. This year I’m making it a point to travel somewhere new (even if it’s an hour from my home) to explore more and find inspiration.
This is one of the hardest things for me to do. As a millennial, I have lived most of my life with my phone no more than a foot away from me and the idea of not checking my social media gives me anxiety. But, I also remember how simple my life was before I felt the need to be connected all of the time. I miss that feeling and I’ve started to change my relationship with technology. In November I took a two-week vacation from Facebook and it was one of the best things I have done. I’m making a conscious effort to expand on my technology purge and I’ve decided to put my phone away in social situations, on trips, and after a certain time in the evenings.
Photos by Esther Lee Photo
What do you think of these tips for making 2017 the best year ever? Will you be trying any of these? Do you have any tips you would like to share with me? Let me know by commenting below!