It’s that time of year where we swear to ourselves that we’ll finally hit the gym, stop eating carbs and spend more time with the family. Unfortunately, our deeply engrained habits often supersede our good intentions, and we fall back into the same old habits within weeks. In fact, studies show that a whopping eight percent of people end up achieving their New Year’s resolutions.
So for the other 92% of you, this year instead of making lofty resolutions, perhaps we can aim to with raise our level of self-consciousness. Let’s reflect and evaluate what is and isn’t working in creating a happy and fulfilling life. As we start fresh this new year, here are some key questions to contemplate:
1. Do you deposit or withdraw energy from others?
Do people generally want your time, or are you usually the one chasing people for their time? You either deposit energy or withdraw. The former attracts people to you. The latter repulses people from you. If you are finding that you fall into the latter camp – wanting more time and attention from others, ask yourself how you’re showing up in such dynamics. Are you complaining, dumping your problems, asking for things, acting needy, judging, and/or interacting in an ego-state? Or are you present, making space to let the other person shine, making the person feel safe, and asking questions with a genuine curiosity to connect? If you make it an intention to leave people feeling more inspired, understood and special after each interaction, you will find that more and more people will gravitate to you because you breathe life into them, versus sucking it out. At the end, the only thing people will remember about you is how you made them feel.
2. Are you attracting the right relationships?
Examine who you’re drawn to, and who you’re attracting – there’s information there waiting for you. We all have a personal vibration – it’s our energy state. Our energy is the currency people transact with us with. If you don’t really love yourself and struggle with your self-worth – that neediness or desperation for validation will manifest, regardless of how perfect you appear. Or perhaps your relationships are short-lived, high on lust but short on depth and duration. It could be that you’re guarded and not giving the opportunity for bonding to occur (a critical part of the process of love that is driven by dopamine and oxytocin). Whatever your situation, if you are not manifesting the relationship you want, there’s a chance that:
A) Your subconscious and conscious mind are not aligned (you say you want one thing, but your wiring makes you act the opposite)
B) You have some work to do in the self-love department
C) You’re unavailable. Your heart and head are not connected, causing you to be guarded and making it difficult to truly connect with someone.
3. Is the decision you are about to make going to feed your ego, or enrich your soul?
Use this question as a filter for future decisions. Our egos have an insatiable appetite – the more you feed it, the more you need it. It’s a lot easier to default to being ego-based versus authenticity-based, but know that one creates light, and the other feeds the dark.
4. Will you accept mediocrity or strive for greatness?
It takes courage to go after what you want, to give your heart fully, to live passionately and dust yourself off after each set back. But I would rather fall a thousand times in my attempt to achieve greatness than to walk unscathed on the road of mediocrity. Nothing great in life has been the result of minimal effort and mediocre company. Raise your bar, but know the difference between the pursuit of excellence and the obsession for perfection. If you don’t dare to expand the parameters of what you think is possible, you will not realize your potential.
5. Will you take a risk?
Indecisiveness is an apathetic habit of our culture. We live in a world of infinite options and consequently a prevailing anxiety of “fear of missing out”. Thus, its tempting to approach life with one foot in, to revel in maybes, constantly hold out for better options, and procrastinate decision making until the last minute. But there is maturity and courage that comes from making a commitment. Commitment takes discipline. Commitment requires integrity for follow through. Commitment takes risk, and with that, the potential for reward.
6. Will you avoid pain, and at what cost?
Life is too short and too full of potential to waste days on average experiences and meaningless interactions. Connect. Give. Go ahead, get your hopes up. Disappointments have trained us to default to a state of cynicism as a way to control our emotions. So we talk ourselves out of being excited about something or someone in an attempt to avoid feeling hurt. But isn’t that what makes life beautiful? To feel? It is the entire spectrum of human emotion – the good, the bad, and the ugly, that colors the chapters of your life with an interesting storyline. If you dull your ability to feel the bad, you dull your ability to feel the good. You become numb. Apathy, to me, is hell.
“If you dull your ability to feel the bad, you dull your ability to feel the good. You become numb. Apathy, to me, is hell.”
7. Will you allow fear to control you?
Why let the bad experiences from the past ruin it for the good experiences ahead? I’d rather live life through a lens that sees the world as one that is beautiful and kind, instead of being in a state of constant defense, layered with armor to protect me from what may, or may not happen, Stop waiting for the other shoe to drop – it is the root cause of much unnecessary anxiety. The stress and negative energy you are creating does nothing for your situation or the world around you. If things fail or fall apart, deal with it then. Give yourself the credit you deserve that in the case of an emergency, you will have the ability, tenacity and strength to deal with the situation at hand – at that moment. So for now, give yourself permission to enjoy the present.
8. Are you surrounded by the right tribe?
Who you surround yourself with, you become. This isn’t just Tony Robbins hocus pocus, the science proves it true. Data suggests that groups of friends ‘infect’ each other, influencing perceptions of socially acceptable behavior and the benchmark of what constitutes normal. Your friends will impact your weight, your chances of smoking – even your chances of cheating.
“Studies show that friends infect each other. In fact, each additional happy friend boosts our levels of happiness by nine percent.”
Visualize the great leader that you are becoming, the big dreams you are creating – do you have the right tribe by your side to manifest this life you want? It’s time to be intentional with your friendships and graciously distance yourself from the people who take your energy or create drama or negativity in your life. Choose your tribe wisely, and when someone is in your inner circle, proactively invest in that relationship. For everyone else, it’s fair to love and care someone from afar, but it does not mean they have to be in your immediate peer group. Time to start filtering…
9. Is your story serving you?
Something we all have in common is that each and every one of us will have some version of an imperfect childhood. Even those fortunate to have doting and loving parents will still grow up with an issue, insecurity or habit that stemmed from their upbringing. The degree or type of issues faced in adulthood is not what separates a person who is happy and one who is not. Rather, it’s the internal narrative that we believe in that does. We are a sum of the stories we choose to believe, and if that story is negative, rooted in insecurity and a place of lack, then that is what we will take out of every experience and person we encounter. We may not be able to change the events of our history, but we can choose to change the story we’ve attached to those events. Ask yourself, what narrative is running your life? Is the story you believe in serving you? When you change the narrative, you change the outcome.
10. Will you be a force of beauty?
Be beautiful. Be a person who acts with grace and integrity even when your emotions are challenged. Make everything you touch beautiful – do this by putting your heart fully in how you do life – your relationships, your work, your hobbies. Approach life from a place of abundance versus a place of scarcity.
11. Love or fear?
When in doubt, choose love. Love wins. Love always wins.