It’s New Year’s Day and social media streams are full of proclamations about the coming year and resolutions moving forward. It’s an annual day of goal setting – making New Years resolutions for a healthier and happier self.
While I am a big fan of setting goals, I also enjoy the art of reflection – and learning from days passed before setting a plan for moving forward. Sometimes we can learn much about ourselves by looking in the rear view mirror. Looking back, 2018 has been a year full of learning. Here are a few reflections I am taking with me as we step into a new year.
We all have bumps in the road. To quote my favourite song at the moment… “Half your life you’ll struggle, half your life you’ll fly.” It seems we are all susceptible to unexpected twists. While we faced some health challenges in our family this year, I am also aware of those around us who faced significant struggles or loss. It’s amazing how much can change in a year and how many ups and downs we can think of as we reflect back on the year our friends and family have had. No one escapes life unscathed – but it’s the bad days that teach us to appreciate good when we find it. If you are going through tough times, remember you will fly again soon.
Fitness Matters. The older I get the more I realize how much fitness matters. Before 40 I am convinced you can buy some yoga pants, do a few stretches, run one lap and look the part. After 40 it seems that you actually have to work out regularly to stay in shape. This fall I participated in a 90 Day fitness challenge. It was one of my best decisions of the year. While I signed up to get the physical benefits – I love the added bonus of improved sleep, extra energy and feeling positive. The older I get the more I realize how much exercise matters. Get moving – you are worth it!
Self Care Is Not Selfish. This is a hard one for me to explain – because there is some irony to this. I often present on happiness and wellness and I’m the first to offer advice to help others. Despite this, I don’t always put myself first. My naturopath tested my cortisol and adrenal levels and showed me a pretty staggering chart. I was running on empty. Since mid year I have been intentional with self care. Taking time to write, read, sleep more, practice yoga or get outside has made a world of difference. And I’ve discovered my two new favourite things… infrared sauna and reflexology. Find what helps you rejuvenate and do more of that!
Family First. Life goes by at a million miles an hour and it’s easy to get wrapped up in our to do lists. Regardless, family comes first. In the first half of the year I missed some of my son’s appointments at Children’s Hospital thinking it was ok – his dad was with him and I was ‘busy’ working. Don’t get me wrong – everyone who knows me well knows I love to work – but that was the wrong choice. My son having chronic health issues has been hard – and yet his illness has also been my best wake up call to what truly matters. Family always comes first.
Give Back. I was lucky to spend time again in the Downtown Eastside this year helping the homeless. The more time I spend in this community, the more I recognize that happiness does not come from receiving – it comes from finding purpose and giving to others. There is no better way to get out of a rut than to focus on helping someone or giving back to your community. Give someone the gift of your time.
Do What you Love. I began 2018 with a new job opportunity. Looking back, it reminds me of online shoe shopping – I thought I had found the perfect pair – but as the year progressed, I realized I was getting blisters trying to pretend the shoe fit. It just wasn’t the right match for me. Luckily I had the support of an amazing team who offered me a different position. I now have the perfect fit and LOVE my job again. 2018 helped me recognize that having a positive work environment matters. If your job doesn’t bring you joy, don’t be afraid to make a change and try something new.
As you look forward, don’t forget the subtle art of glancing at your rear view mirror before focussing on the road ahead. May 2019 bring you health and happiness and the wisdom to learn from each bump in the road. Happy New Year!