It’s a new year—and a new decade!
If you feel inspired to use the new year to help you reset or change habits, that’s great; but next time you resolve to work on the “new you,” remember that the “old you” has survived every hard thing, every tragic circumstance and any despair you have ever felt. The old you is a fighter, and that’s worth celebrating.
This year is your chance to be kind to yourself, practice gratitude and live your life on purpose. Here are five habits you can proactively cultivate to embrace your past, learn from your mistakes and bask in the triumph of just how tough you really are:
1. Stop listening to your negative inner voice.
That voice. You know, the one that’s always playing in the background of your mind. The one that says, What is wrong with me? or Why did I say that? or How come I’m not moving ahead faster in my career? It’s time to give it a name (I named mine Helga). Why? Because if we don’t realize that that voice is not the truth, then we just start operating as if it is. We end up defaulting to what has become our habit. Once you name it, you take some of that power away and you can start paying attention to whether it’s really the truth or just that little voice playing dirty tricks on you.
Here’s the thing: You are enough. And it doesn’t matter what that voice says because you have a choice of whether you listen to it or not.
2. Practice Mind Over Moment.
Mind Over Moment is a science-based tool that utilizes the idea of mindfulness to help you become aware of your thoughts, feelings, habits and behaviors in the moment, in order to steer yourself toward better responses and outcomes. It means being proactive and deliberate about the choices you make and the habits you practice, throughout your day, your week, your month and your life. It is deliberately choosing what you want to achieve and creating a path to get there.
Practicing mindfulness restores our connection to the present moment and reminds us that we are alive and in charge of the choices we make. Remember, this is called a “practice” for a reason and there is no perfect. All you can do is take one day at a time, giving yourself grace to do the best you can, and forgiving yourself when you fall short. All you can do is all you can do (that’s one of my favorite mantras).
3. Build resilience proactively.
When we first go through something horrible, it seems like we’ll never be able to bounce back. We are overwhelmed with grief, fear or some other emotion. Slowly it dawns on us that there’s no going back. We must find the strength and the will to go forward. We may not be able to make big strides at first, but we begin taking small steps to work toward a solution and find ways to carry on.
I used to think resilience was in your genetics, like skinny thighs. You either have it or you don’t. But what I’ve come to appreciate is that resilience is a set of habits and skills that can be cultivated, practiced and honed, so that we cannot only make it through hard times, but become stronger as a result. You are full of strengths, accomplishments and goodness. You are strong and capable of handling anything that is thrown your way. You have done it before and you will do it again.
4. Don’t waste failure.
I don’t know any highly successful people who haven’t suffered setbacks throughout their life and career. All of them, including me, can name numerous failures. It’s a fact. Successful people fail more than unsuccessful people. Successful people take risks, they view failure as a learning tool, and they practice resilience. They have their initial feelings, process them, and then look at the problem and say, “What is this teaching me? What can I learn from this?” They choose to use failure and adversity as learning opportunities.
Recently I was reading an interview with J.K. Rowling, author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed Harry Potter series, in Time magazine, and she said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something. Unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all. In which case, you fail by default.” She was rejected by 12 publishers and had no idea that her path to failure would one day prove so successful. Failure is scary, but recovering from failure (and doing it often) accelerates our ability to grow from our experiences.
5. Realize your courage.
So many of us live out fantasies in our heads about good or bad things that might happen—most of which never do. It is said that 95% of what we’re afraid of never even happens, and the other 5% are things we can’t control. We spend an inordinate amount of energy focusing on the what ifs. Have you ever paid attention to how much time you spend worrying about things that might happen?
There have been multiple studies about the emotional and physical health benefits of mindfulness; that is, living very consciously in what’s really happening right now. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is being afraid and working through the discomfort. Courage means you allow challenge and adversity to be a catalyst to help you grow strong enough to face whatever life throws at you.
You’ve got everything it takes to make this year everything you want it to be and more. Celebrate everything that you’ve already accomplished and believe in the person that you are capable of becoming.
Make this the year you realize that you are courageous, you are resilient, and you are strong enough!
This article originally appeared on AnneGradyGroup.com.
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