13 things I learned in 2017 for my wellbeing (and yours)
In 2017, I discovered the way I want to live my life going forward with 13 ideals I will take with me into the New Year. None of these realizations came easy but now that I know the cost of ignoring them, I have a responsibility to share this information with each of you. This is my advice - I hope it resonates for a better 2018:
1. Saying no - To protect my energy, it’s okay to say no. For years, I’ve done things out of obligation or to make others happy - even when I really didn’t want to. Unfortunately, the fear of disappointing one of your friends, coworkers or loved ones can often be the reason we agree to do something. But at what cost? Keeping others happy is often at our own expense. Bottom line: if you don’t want to do it, don’t. You’ll feel much happier.
2. Saying yes - This is about perspective and moving from a place of fear to a place of love, opening yourself up to infinite possibility. Are you approaching a situation from a place of “yes” or a place of “no”? In 2018, I’m leaving behind all self-limiting beliefs, stepping away from “why me?” to “why not me?” I’m using the mantra: “I accept abundance into my life” because to get what you want, you need to ask for it. The Universe is always listening.
3. Owning my situation - Each day I make choices. Some are deliberate and others are more passive. The point is, everything in my life is the way it is because I chose it - either deliberately or passively. Whatever is on my plate at any given moment is there because I allowed it to be. Playing the victim in a bad situation means avoiding responsibility and denying the power you have in shaping and creating your life. Your life is yours alone. Own it.
4. Social media detox - It’s hard to be happy when you’re constantly observing other people living their “best life” on social media. Instagram is something I truly enjoy, but it can also be bad for the soul. Not only do I want to reduce the time I spend on social media, I also want to filter what I see while I’m using it. In 2018, I’m also adopting a no phone in the bedroom policy and I’ve turned off all my notifications to reduce the temptation to check my phone.
5. Being present - How present are you when your phone notifications constantly pull you out of reality, when you’re always running through your to-do list in your mind, or when you focus on the destination so much that you forget to appreciate the journey? We pass through the present on the way to something else, and then wind up missing the moment completely. Being present means doing things wholeheartedly and spending less time worrying about the past or thinking about the future.
6. Plant-based diet for the win - Many of the animals we eat in North America are raised in stressful conditions, littered with antibiotics, and then slaughtered. That trauma is left behind in the animal’s body when it dies - and then we eat it. Knowing this, I don’t enjoy eating dead animals. I was raised on meat so I find it hard to eat differently, but in 2018 I’ll continue to experiment with vegan and vegetarian cooking, and eating sustainably sourced meat when I can.
7. Negative people - If someone in your life has a negative attitude, it affects you - it doesn’t matter who it is. You should pick your entourage carefully and surround yourself with people who have a high vibrational energy. Just as laughter and smiles are contagious, so are low vibe emotions like fear, guilt, sadness, cynicism and anger. It’s really that simple. In 2018, I’m consciously choosing to avoid negative people because I know firsthand the effect it can have on my own outlook and attitude.
8. Minimalism - Overindulging is unnecessary. I have a tendency to overdo things, but I don’t actually need much to be happy. And these days, there’s a fine line between need and want. Minimalism is a goal I’m taking into 2018: I’m getting rid of things I don’t need and being more mindful with new purchases all to declutter my space and my mind as a result.
9. Don’t take anything personally - People can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. The truth is that when people act badly, they reveal an unhealed part of themselves. If you decide not to take anything personally, you’ll never be offended and you won’t waste energy worrying about other people’s behaviours and actions. Only concern yourself with what you can control.
10. Stretching time - You only have so much time in a day. We all have the same amount and you can’t get it back once you’ve spent it. To get anything done, you need to make time for it, even when you believe you have none. What a dilemma. This goes hand in hand with saying no to things you don’t want to do. It also goes hand in hand with being present - are you flying through the week to make it to Friday? Use time wisely - there’s no way to know how much of it you have left.
11. Letting go of the past - The past does not dictate what you’re capable of achieving in the present. Whatever happened to you happened for you. Similarly, our mistakes, old habits, shortcomings and behaviours do not need to define us if we choose to let it go. See your past as the learning experience it was meant to be. We all come from different places - and that’s what makes life beautiful - but the path forward is yours to choose.
12. Forgiveness - And by this I mean forgiving myself whenever I slip up. Being hard on yourself is unnecessary and detrimental to success. Of all the scrutiny we endure, the last criticism you should face is your own. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your body when it tells you to do something or not do something. Listen to your heart when it tells you how it feels. But if you don’t, forgive yourself quickly and try to be better next time. Forgiveness is self-love in its truest form.
13. Acceptance. Spiritual growth is a journey not a task. The problem with always wanting to grow and improve is that we are perpetually unhappy with our current state. My biggest focus for 2018 is to be content with things just as they are. That is the true mark of spiritual growth: absolute freedom to be who we are in this very moment, free from the criticism of others and our own. I do not want to struggle to be any different than I am right now. Because I am enough as I am and YOU are enough as you are.
Wishing you all the best for a vibrant 2018!