The New Year is upon us, friends! Are you waving your planner in the air like you really do care or are you avoiding those ‘New Year New Me’ people like Walmart on Black Friday?
I get it. The New Year can do crazy things to people. It can cause anxiety, dread, and guilt; it can inspire, motivate, and provide heaps of hope.
Would you believe me if I told you that you get to choose?
I’m a big fan of looking forward to the year ahead. I hope you dream, set goals, and plan for your future like a boss! But before we do that, let’s look back and reflect. When we do, it helps us set realistic, real-life aspirations based on what we’ve previously learned.
What worked well?
What would you do differently?
Why did certain things unfold the way they did?
I’ve got pages upon pages of these reflections and I wanted to share a whole mess of lessons with you, but when I started to review everything 2018 taught me, I saw a reoccurring theme…
My choices dictated my destiny.
This might sound a bit dramatic and grandiose but I promise you that nothing impacted my year more than the power of choice. In my year dedicated to getting “Back to Health” these were the most important takeaways I never saw coming.
It’s MY Choice
My world changed when this simple truth permeated my soul. I get to make my own decisions. No one else gets to decide what happens to me, how I respond, or how I feel. I get to choose what happens in my life; life does not happen to me. I am not a victim. I cannot always control my circumstances and I can never control others, but I can control the way I behave. When I finally began practicing this, I found that more times than not, the outcomes changed. People responded more positively. Struggles didn’t weigh me down. My emotional peace didn’t waver. It’s one of the most empowering revelations I’ve ever had.
Most Choices are Subconscious
The power of the subconscious mind is incredibly fascinating. The connection between our subconscious and the actions we put out into the world is mind-blowing. I wish I had the time to site all of the research, books, and the wisdom from motivational speakers I’ve been immersing myself in this past year, but the evidence is clear- what we think is who and what we become. And guess what- your mind can be changed! By YOU! Although our subconscious was formed by a complex combination of genetics, childhood and adult experiences, spiritual beliefs and more, it is malleable, mold-able and CAPABLE OF GROWTH. This means that if it’s your desire to be different, to change your life and your circumstances, you CAN! You do not have to be who you’ve always been! And it starts in your mind.
Once this little tidbit socked me in the gut, I became much more intentional about what I let into my brain space. I chose my music more carefully, I limited my conversations with negative people, I dug deeper into what God said about me and my life. I set limits with social media. I paid attention to my self-talk after watching certain television shows or movies. I nourished my mind with positive podcasts, educational books, and encouraging relationships.
And it works. My subconscious is changing with each choice I make. Tony Robbins agrees, “Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.”
Best. Relationship. Ever.
I eluded to this above, but recognizing the power of my choices has produced so much freedom in my relationships. When I remember that someone else’s words or actions only affect me if I let it, it actually produces a relationship that is healthy, empowering, and two-sided. It it so freeing to know that no matter what is said or done between two people, it is up to me how I react and respond. It is equally relieving to know that even if (and when) I say or do something hurtful, unintentionally or not, the other person gets to choose how to handle the situation and how they behave. It’s important to state that this isn’t being cold-hearted. It’s actually being incredibly present, loving, and aware of both the person in the mirror as well as the one standing before you. It is recognizing and accepting one another’s faults, while honoring and respecting yourself and the other person. By taking ownership of your feelings and actions and allowing the other person to do so as well, you are demonstrating belief and confidence that both of you are empowered, willing, and fully committed individuals to the relationship you share.
This has also been a shining example of how our God loves and relates to us. Free will is a precious gift that actually draws us closer to Him, deepens our respect and gratitude for Him, while still allowing us to fall, grow, and freely choose. That’s true love and the best relationship ever.
The Healthiest Choice
It wouldn’t be a New Year’s post if we didn’t talk about health and wellness, eh? The most important thing I learned to do last year before I made any choice about my health whatsoever was to ask myself why?
Why did I set that goal? Why did I believe that thing about my body? Why did I make that food choice? Why did I set that timeline? Why did I think those specific thoughts? Why did I move my body?
Once I dug deep and truly answer each question, the choices became easy. The motivation was lasting. The source became empowering. I was making the choices, therefore I was in control of the outcome.
Real talk for one moment– our bodies are not a separate entity working against us. They ARE us. They need specific and individualized care and attention just like our feelings, hobbies, careers, and relationships. This might mean that the “diet” that works for your neighbor might not work for you. This means that you have to be your own advocate, educate yourself, and become the expert on YOU. It might mean that in order to feel your best you’ll have to try several different approaches (giving each one ample time to be effective!) and really be in tune with your body instead of a number on a scale. It might mean letting go of a timeline and embracing a life time life-style. It might mean breaking the victim and blame-mentality and embracing the fact that YOU get to make every single choice related to your health. It means not giving up on yourself. It means making the choice to own every step of the journey.
I needed to have this pep-talk with myself. I never realized how often I blamed my body, my circumstances or even other people for how I felt! I was shocked at how frequently I told myself that I was the exception to the rule, that I couldn’t achieve the health and fitness level I desired because of blah blah blah. Unconsciously, I made the choice to accept defeat. Isn’t that crazy?! Embracing this power of choice was one of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made.
Without reflecting on 2018, I couldn’t properly and thoroughly formulate my goals and plans for the New Year. Forging ahead, the power of choice will empower my career, relationships, health, and so much more. I hope this has inspired you to reflect on your 2018 and to embrace a new beginning. You choose!
Live Life on Purpose,