Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet
Alright, how are we already two plus weeks into 2017? My mama used to wonder out loud where the time went and now I totally get it. Well, actually, I dooonnnn't get it because now I'm wondering the same thing she always seemed to wonder: Where does the time go?! But I do get why she was always asking that question! Oh, adulthood.
Okay, since we are indeed actually seventeen days deep into 2017, let's get right to it.
I have a sneaky feeling (and my feelings are most always right. ask my peeps closest to me.) that this next year is about to be a wild one. It's up to you to sway that wildness in your direction. But I have a few tips on how to ensure you kick this year's bum right on to 2018 (whoa nelly - that just sounds crazy. 2018?!).
PICK ONE WORD - NOT A MILLION 'RESOLUTIONS'
Are you (who are you reading this, by the way?) actually good at setting resolutions and sticking to them for more than eight days? You may actually be, but I bet you're not. Plus, there's something about ten resolutions that are boring and overwhelming. I once 'resolutioned' that I would floss my teeth every day. Do I even need to tell you how long that lasted (my dentist probably could - but I'm not gonna go there)?
Instead, pick one word that you're going to aim to define 2017 by. Last year my husband and I designated 'action' as our word for 2016. And y'all, for real, 2016 was our year of action. That word shaped our year and our daily lives far greater than I ever thought it actually would.
Anytime we were going back and forth on where to go for dinner, one of us (usually the cutie patootie husband) would finally say "That's it! It's Surin Thai (our favorite Thai restaurant in Atlanta) for dinner. Action." And that would be it. Or like the time we decided and booked over coffee and breakfast at J. Christopher's (our favorite breakfast joint in Savannah) a trip to Italy the following month. Action. Or that time I decided to quit my job I had been dreaming of quitting for over a year to launch and live my dream, Verb House. Action. That one word shaped our year into something beautiful and action filled. We will always remember 2016 as the year we did. The year of action.
So for 2017, get your word in place. What do you want this year to be all about? Maybe it's abundance - an abundance of love, of faith, of fun times, of memories and of new friends. Maybe it's time - time to read, time to spend with family and friends, time to work on your passion projects, time to work, time to whatever-your-little-heart-desires. Perhaps it's intention, or action, or family, or discovery, or whatever.
Think hard and intentionally about it, and then pick a word. And then write that word down somewhere where you'll be reminded of it time and time again. Retreat back to it in your mind when you're making decisions. Meditate and manifest on that word and then watch how on January 1, 2018 when you're looking past at this past year, you're amazed at how damn far that one word carried you.
If you need help picking a word, go check out this article for some helpful little tidbits.
USE ALL OF YOUR VACATION DAYS
This one's for all of my friends at what society calls a 'normal' job. If your boss somehow creeps up on you reading this while you're supposed to be working, just show her this bit and let her know you're about to book your first vacay of the year. Or quickly switch to the next tab in your browser and pretend you were actually working. Your choice.
Use all of your vacation days this year, people. All of 'em. All of those sick days and personal days too.
First of all, when you don't take all of your vacation days for whatever excuse you tell yourself, you're just doing a ton of damage to both yourself and the company and people who employ you.
For instance, "employees forfeited 222 million vacation days in 2015. These days could not be rolled over, could not be paid out, were not banked or used for any other benefit - they were purely lost. These days add up to $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits across the workforce." (PJT)
And that's just one smidge of an economic reason you should take all your dang days.
The other reasons include your health, your relationships, your productivity level, your respect and love of your job, and your thirst for life in general.
Take the days. Plan a trip. Rejuvenate yourself. Keep being thirsty for life.
Which brings me to my next tip for making this year your best one yet...
DON'T BURN OUT
When I was in art school, I finally found the place I was meant to be. After struggling through years and years and years (like - twelve to be exact) of traditional schooling and failing math class after math class and only enjoying my english and art classes, it felt so good to finally be in a learning environment where I felt challenged in an intellectual, encouraging, supportive way and not in a "how can you not understand this simple math problem way?"
I became a little bit obsessed with doing well in school. I wanted to prove to myself and to every person around me that I was indeed actually smart, I did actually know what I was doing thank-you-very-much, and I'm good at it too. I worked my ass off to graduate a year early, took more than the advised fifteen-hour workload each quarter and never allowed myself a summer off. I did graduate with honors and I did do it early.
But at the end of my time at school, I was so burnt out. I didn't pick up a camera for almost a year. While my friends were all still in school enjoying college and not yet facing post-graduation life, I found myself resenting my own self for how hard I had worked. Burnout hit me hard then, but it was really only the beginning.
A few years later, I somehow worked myself so hard into the ground that I only got enough gumption to do something about it when I found myself almost hospitalized with pneumonia. If it wasn't for the antibiotic my childhood doctor lovingly prescribed me the week before I dragged my bum to urgent care, the doctor said I would have been in much worse shape in the hospital, and trust me, I have a very healthy imagination and I couldn't have imagined being in any worse shape at that time.
Once I recovered enough to think straight, I finally quit that job that worked me so hard into the ground and vowed that I would never put myself in that position again.
I knew when I launched Verb House that burnout was possible. The life of an entrepreneur isn't a get-rich-quick Ponzi scheme. It requires a hell of a lot of work.
But, so far so good. No burnout here and no burnout in the foreseeable future.
My friend Sarajane Case is on a mission to banish burnout from anyone's business model through her new course Business Bliss. She's wildly passionate about helping all of us small business owners prioritize, set boundaries, and build a business that doesn't leave us hurting or desperate to escape.
If you're serious about making 2017 one of your best years yet, then don't let burnout creep its way into your life this year (or ever, please). Go check out Sarajane's course. Send her an email if you have any questions or want help navigating the crazy that is entrepreneurship.
And bonus bonus bonus just because yall rock: If you decide to take part in Sarajane's course, use code ALLIE for 10% off*. Save that hard earned moola while you save your heart and brain too. Winner winner.
You probably didn't expect this one, huh?
One of the best things I've ever done for myself was making peace with my demons and loving my true self.
If you ever want to love your life or love your partner or appreciate the sun rising in the morning or be a good human being, you have to really, truly, deeply, wildly love yourself.
Most of us never take the time to really do this.
We go through life not really thinking about how we actually really feel about ourselves. We're quick to blame society or our friends or our work for so and so and such and such, but we don't take a Saturday to begin sifting through our heart and figuring out what's really there.
Please do that this year. Please dig deep and peel the facades back one by one. Please ask yourself why you believe this or that or do that one thing that's just a "bad habit." Do you really like Miller Lite (ew) like all of your friends or do you actually prefer a good Cabernet? Or do you not event want to socially drink at all? Why can you not stop biting your nails? It's not a bad habit. It's probably anxiety. How come?
Please question yourself, encourage yourself, talk kindly to yourself and love yourself this year.
If you get anything out of this year, let it be that.
Keep these four things at the forefront and I promise your year is going to be one of growth, love, time, joy and honesty. What more could you want?
Until next time,
*Disclosure: If you purchase anything I recommend in this email, I'll receive some kind of affiliate compensation. As you should already know, I only recommend things that I believe in and have personally experienced.