As 2017 gears up, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming about how to make this year one to remember – and one that feels damn good. I wrote about what I learned in 2016 earlier this week and I clearly grew and learned a lot, but I started thinking more about the components that can lead to 2017 being the best yet – because who doesn’t want to live their best year? Of course I have some personal goals and ideas that might contribute to me having the best year of my life, but I wanted to share the general things I thought might work for a lot of people – like you guys! I hope that most of these ideas are relevant in your life to some degree. Either way, I hope they add to some sense of happiness and fulfillment for you in 2017!
Touch base with yourself
This is the most important point on this list, hence why it’s first up, and it’s also necessary to cross off before moving onto the next steps. And I’m gonna get a little deep with y’all for a minute, OK?
We spend so much of our time comparing our lives to others through social media, relationships, TV, careers, what we read, etc., and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in what our lives are supposed to look like or what will make us happy. Being similar to others makes a lot of people comfortable, and that’s why comparison is such an easy thing to fall back on, but have you ever stopped to think if what you’re envying or comparing yourself to is truly what makes you feel good?
Touching base with yourself and where you’re at is key for that matter. Take some time to brain dump what makes you – like really YOU and not someone you follow on Instagram – happy. When are you most comfortable? When do you get down on yourself or not feel your best? What’s missing from your life? (And don’t answer ‘yoga’ if you really don’t think you’d like yoga.) What from your 2016 goals didn’t you accomplish? What from 2016 do you want to bring into this new year?
Another way to do this is to go on your Pinterest boards, or to see which shows you constantly watch or podcasts you listen to, or even the photos you’ve liked on social media. What about those things do you love? Noticing the small things that bring you joy is a great place to start when analyzing your soul. Sounds deep and heavy, but it’s true!
Get my drift? I totally suffer from thinking I need to be doing certain things only to realize that I actually don’t like that activity or idea at all. The key is to find ways that make you uniquely happy or unhappy and designing your life around those facts.
Plan a trip
Have you ever heard that the anticipation of a trip is sometimes what makes people happier than actually being on the trip? Kinda crazy, but it’s a theory a lot of studies show.
Planning something to look forward to – and then enjoy – is a sure way to add motivation and joy to your life. And it doesn’t have to be a 2-week trip to Europe. Even a couple small weekends away is enough, maybe even better!
OK, so this one isn’t the most exciting on the list, but decluttering your home, office, car, etc. is a key to happiness for most people! Living in tidy spaces increases mood, decreases stress, helps you sleep, promotes productivity, and leads to a happier life. Think about it. Walking into an office or bedroom that is a mess is just stressful.
The problem is cleaning kinda sucks, right? But it’s necessary.
First up, you have to make a decision: dedicate big chunks occasionally or small chunks frequently. It really depends on how you work as a person. And remember I’m not talking about normal cleaning – decluttering is totally different. It involves getting rid of clothes in your closet, junk mail and paperwork, beauty products, old food, etc.
For big chunks: Schedule 2 days over the next month (as in a calendar invite to yourself) to declutter. Go through each room at a time, blare some music, and get to work. Deciding which charities you’re donating to first may help motivate you to get rid of more and to keep the process going. Give yourself ample breaks to still enjoy part of your day. Schedule another 2 days six months from now to do this process again.
For small chunks: Dedicate 15 minutes a day – and the same time of day so it becomes a habit. Conquer one shelf, drawer, or section at a time, and promise to leave it after that. Have a go-to area of your house for donations and drop things off every couple weeks. Having simple systems to get through the decluttering is crazy helpful.
This isn’t exciting, but having a more minimalist area to live and work in is a somewhat simple way to improve several aspects of your life and lead to your best year yet. And tell me staring at a streamlined pantry or closet isn’t refreshing! Plus, I always find forgotten gems when I remove clutter, so in the end it saves me a bunch of money (hellllooo old sweater that was shoved away or delicious pasta sauce that I haven’t used).
Set small health goals
Let’s face it, being healthy is crucial for happiness for most of us. Not only does it help with confidence and the vain-ness that most of us have (not a bad thing!), but it’s also incredibly smart. You want to feel good, and having a body and mind that are healthy and can let you feel good as you age is key.
But grand health goals and resolutions can be depressing, especially once they start not happening (like by January 15th). Instead, start small. Whether that’s stretching for 5 minutes before bed, parking far from the store, meditating, walking instead of driving, replacing your bagel with a smoothie, taking 10 minutes for yourself to unwind, switching to whole wheat bread and pasta, having hot lemon water before coffee, or keeping your brain strong with crossword puzzles, the key is consistency. Little things add up when they are often! Find small ways to make each day healthier, and I guarantee you’ll make this year stand out.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
This is similar to step one because it involves checking in with yourself and holding yourself accountable, but it’s different. Have you ever taken the time to list out what you are really good vs. what you’re not?
For some reason this has taken me decades, but doing so has been such an eye-opening and helpful practice. Of course I knew I was better at some things than others, but actually taking action based on the list is the what’s key.
For example, say you’re a small business owner like myself. Taking ownership of things you excel at (for me that’s planning outfits, the money side of things, and overall vision of the site), and start finding ways to delegate what you’re not so great at (for me that’s organization and planning, so I’ve grown the BTD team to help with those areas). Do what you have to do to find the money to delegate, or even work with other small business owners slash friends to swap tasks you’re both good at.
Or say you’re in a relationship or live with roommates. If you’re great at money, start handling the bills. If you aren’t the best at laundry, see if you can delegate that task to your partner or roommate, or even hire help.
We only have so much brain power and energy each day, and focusing on the areas that you kill is how you’ll get the most out of each day.
Also, by making a list, you can see areas of your life that you might want to improve. If you aren’t great at writing but want to get better because you’re actually interested in it, you can sign up for a writing class or find a way to improve that specific skill.
Make mundane tasks enjoyable
I actually love this tip so much, and plan to do a lot of this in 2017. Life is full of mundane tasks – from dishes to making your bed to getting your oil changed – so why not make them fun? I once had a friend who told me every time she goes to the dry cleaners, she takes her dog to a nearby park. Something as small as that can add a little sunshine to your day (literally and figuratively). Or how about every time you have to do the dishes, you get to listen to a podcast you save specifically for that time. Getting gas could be the night you treat yourself to takeout sushi. I’m in!
I know this is a popular tip in the wellness world lately, and it’s such a good one. We’re all way too busy, and the whole “say yes to everything” approach has left us totally drained. To have your best year, say ‘no’ to things you don’t like. You don’t have to lead the PTA to be a great mom, or go to every baseball game your nephew has to be a wonderful aunt. You don’t have to help someone move to be a good friend or always pick the restaurant you’ll eat at to be a good date. You also don’t have to hang out with every friend you’ve ever met just because you used to relate in the past. Choosing who you spend your precious time with is invaluable. Say ‘no’ if that friend doesn’t bring positive vibes to your life.
Also, this study shows that planning LESS and leaving more room for spontaneous plans can make the exact same plan much happier. Find the activities that feel good, and say no more often to ones that stress you out or get in the way of living your best year.
Ready for 2017 now, y’all??
Outfit Details: Bp Black tank ($25! it’s the BEST! – wearing size XS) // BB Dakota drape front trench (wearing size XS) // Citizens of Humanity Rocket Jeans (OBSESSED y’all!! Seriously! amazing!) // Dee Keller Pumps // Dior So real Sunglasses // Valentino Bag