A Few New Stepping Stones

Happynew year!

2016.

A year that holds the promise of …Change. New adventures! Limitless possibilities…

But it is really, just another year, isn’t it? Like all the years before it, the way we signify the new year is simply with the change of the four-digit number on our calendars, computers and smartphones. Sure, it’s fun to celebrate the incoming year with a big bash and all, but by the time we’re mid-way through the first month, we’ll likely have adjusted and forgotten the initial hub-bub.

Though don’t get me wrong, I do love the idea and feeling of the new year as a fresh start. But that fresh start can come at any moment really. We just have to be willing to say today is the day that x stops, I commit to y, and z will happen. That’s why I started my new year’s ‘resolutions’ (if you will) earlier than January 1st. But really, they’re more like steps and new habits to help revamp and reinvigorate my lifestyle. And while they’re not explicitly related to fitness or physical health, I believe they’re necessary for eventually achieving a wholesome life, especially in terms of maintaining mental and emotional health.

I started with some very necessary self-reflection.  You know, thinking about who I am as a person. If I actually act the way I think I act.  I always find that I have the most clarity when I’m home where I grew up. Maybe it’s because I’m with my parents (who, let’s be honest, are my ultimate role models) or maybe it’s the rural atmosphere where I see one of the basic necessities of life (agriculture) occurring firsthand. It’s here where I get away from the metropolis and realize that a lot of what I thought I needed in my life (mostly pushed into my mind by our materialistic society) isn’t necessary at all. I don’t need fancy-anything. I don’t need to impress anybody except myself. I just need to ensure that what I do every day leaves me content and happy so that I’m able to share those positive feelings with others.

Next I moved on to thinking about gratitude and making it an integral part of my daily routine. Each night, I try to thank God for all the things I’m grateful for in my life. And you know what, it’s a really calming practice. Granted, sometimes it makes me a little more emotional, but I do find myself smiling and feeling happier as I fall asleep.

Then came my hopes and dreams.  The latter half of 2015 had me swimming in a sea of ‘O I could do this? Or this! Oh maybe this?’ as I learned about the possible career routes I could take with my masters degree. January, February and March will be spent taking this into deep consideration and making a well-researched, conscious move, hopefully in the right direction.

Now I’m working on developing a plan for a better year than the last. But as it often happens, when I’m faced with a big task like an academic assignment or pivotal decision, I want to do everything else except focus. So I think it’s rather perfect that I was recommended Marie Kondo’s book The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. (The author actually mentions this phenomenon of avoiding the big task at hand…with the sudden urge to tidy-up — which I’m definitely guilty of.)

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I’m only about a third ways through the book right now, but I’m finding it quite useful. Kondo’s method of tidying up – by category rather than by room, and her emphasis on the need to undertake tidying up as a main event, rather than little by little – is profound. And I really think it’ll work. If I can get my living space organized (both in the US now and the UK, once I’m back) I feel I’ll have some much-needed mental clarity, with none of that physical clutter bogging down my subconscious.

And the rest of the plan…well, that’s still in the works. 😉 But I do know that it includes being more decisive and intentional with how I live my life. And that includes how I feel and act day-to-day.

So there you have it. My current, but flexible, ‘stepping-stones’ for a hopefully better life.

Do you have any New Year’s ‘resolutions’?
~ The Healthy Lioness

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