This is the time of year where countless articles tackle the age old topic of New Year’s Resolutions. Familiar “should do’s” spun with a new and improved twist. The well-meaning advice is meant to influence readers to get out and “get moving” in the direction of their personal dreams. Last year you turned left, this year you go right, last year you said yes to all opportunities, this year don’t be afraid to say no.
I am no different. As an etiquette expert, career coach, executive trainer, blogger and a few may say an all around nice girl (smiles!), I really DO want you to succeed. I want you to prosper, to feel emotionally fulfilled, physically healthy and strong beyond your wildest dreams. I want this to be your best year ever. Not only do I hope this for you, I strive for it myself. But, the reality is very few keep their January first commitments. According to a study by the University of Scranton, only 8% achieve their annual goals.
This year, I suggest you let yourself off the hook. If you are one of those people who thrive on a list of resolutions, by all means go for it! If you are like me, often racing out the door before lacing your second tennis shoe, do yourself a favor and listen to your inner voice…the whispers that gently pop into your head and make you stop and think. I am sharing my Three New Year’s Whispers (not resolutions) that may give you inspiration to travel your own path.
Whisper No. 1:
Purge, Cleanse and Shed (shed – a word I have borrowed from Linda Gray after reading her book, The Road to Happiness Is Always Under Construction.) This first motivator was inspired while visiting a friend over the holidays. I could not help but notice her perfectly appointed home. On closer observation, I found a house NOT over-run with random decorations from high-end retail stores, but rather years of memories and stories in the form of pictures, delicate glass and crystal, lovely furniture and well-worn books. No hoarding boxes of “stuff,” no closets crammed to the ceiling with “junk” and no greedy waste. There was no waiting to use her best dishes for the perfect time, with the right people. Whomever she hosts is always the recipient of a warm welcome. The same care is given to her clothes closets and drawers; order and attention to every detail.
I was so inspired I decided to do a personal inventory of my own when I returned home, vowing to keep only what I value, use routinely and can easily access without a struggle. As I started the process I realized I was working on a bigger challenge than a cluttered drawer or closet. I started with my scarf collection. I reminisced over some incredible pieces I had been saving for special occasions that never came to pass, winced at others that were gifts, kept solely out of guilt, and took a harsh look at a few scarves that I had paid to steep a price and seldom used. I put my favorites, those that continue to bring me joy, keep me warm and make me smile every time I reach for them, to one side. I then closed my eyes, reached out my arms and collected the rest. Without another glance, I placed them all in a box and found them another home where they would be appreciated. I felt free.
Life opens doors when we make room for new opportunities. Things and people should be given a chance to go where their worth will be treasured. This holds true for friendships, romantic relationships, careers, clothing (scarves), skates, scooters and family heirlooms.
Whisper No. 2:
The next catalyst was from a friend whose goal is simply to “Be Better.” Not in an egotistic way, rather a respectful, thoughtful, meaningful manner. Who would benefit most if we all were “Better” mates, friends, sons, daughters, employees, community members, neighbors and role models? Ultimately, it’s a win-win when “Better” means the best YOU can offer. Everything you put out comes back to you. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell your mother you love her, call your grandmother who longs to hear from you, hold your wife’s hand at the movies, go to your son’s baseball game rather than happy hour with the guys, stay off your cell phone at the dinner table, treat your dad to a basketball game or give up a vice that is hurting a bond. The list is endless, and you are the writer of your story. What will you choose to be “Better” at this year?
Whisper No. 3:
Believe in Abundance. All you have to do is turn on the news, boot up your computer or check your social media accounts to learn of the latest natural or man-made disasters. It can be easy to get jaded by life. But, your daily conversations don’t have to revolve around doom and destruction. Sharing someone else’s bad news or personal tragedy (a.k.a. gossip) is a poor reflection on you and leaves a film of gloom behind when you walk away. I am a firm believer in positive affirmations. We all have different names for it; Faith, Assurance, Trust, Self Confidence, to mention only a few. Speak positively rather than negatively, persevere rather than think you are entitled, and work hard as hell to deliver on the goods.
Abundance seldom comes to those that are lazy. What do you want to achieve? What do you desire above all else? Write it down. Then live your life intentionally. Keep focused on what you want to accomplish. Prove yourself worthy, strive to be better, and make room for the opportunities that are in your future as you purge, cleanse and shed. You may be surprised that what you get is immeasurably better than what you put down on paper!
Here’s to a great 2016!