I suppose most of this reflection is thanks to my dear old pal Travis who I ran into this past week. I'm not sure how he always manages to say just what I didn't even know I wanted to hear but he never ceases to amaze me and it just so happened to coincide with the start of a goal making new year! I went home feeling motivated, energized, and pretty much given a whole new optimistic lease on life and boy oh boy do I ever hope to keep this up! If you told me a week ago that one simple sit down for coffee would leave me feeling this blissful and confident I certainly would have doubted you, but now that it has happened I figure I will just roll with it. Okay, so I sort of feel like I'm raving about one of those scam-y goal making seminars or self help books but I think Travis mostly just helped me realize what is most important to me in my life and made me really want to do whatever I can to keep that in mind while moving forward. Sounds logical right? A little reevaluation does wonders since I was already in the resolution making mood I figure I might as well make a blog post about the whole thing in case any of you had some input to share too.
I'm naturally a pretty high stress person. I like to take on more than I can handle, I thrive with challenges and massive to do lists, and ultimately try to finish every little task perfectly in a timely and responsible manner. I get ridiculously enthused about pretty much everything in this wonderful world we live in and often get so caught up in the moment that my once approachable list of tasks becomes much too overwhelming. Throw in a hefty handful of health problems that like to put a giant kink in things and you've got my life in a nutshell. I'm always coming up with more goals and tasks to add to that endless "what kate needs to do with her life" list but what I feel I really need to do is take a step back and shorten that list into one word. Happiness. Above all else I really just want spend my life being happy. Of course that can encompass loads of other little subtopics and sounds entirely too simple, but it is that simple. I'm always loosing sight of what's most important to me in life and it comes down to happiness. I don't really care about impressing anyone with material possessions or accomplishments and would much rather just be content with my life just how it is and never look back. Life is what you make it, so as far as I'm concerned I'm going to make it a fun and happy one!
I'm determined to lower my (mostly self-inflicted) stress level and make a habit of continually increasing happiness. Sounds easy enough right? Here are some of the tactics I've found helpful to keep my life happy:
- Retain a positive outlook. Anyone can point out flaws with pretty much anything so instead look optimistically at each situation and roll with it.
- Keep meaningful relationships. Surrounding yourself with positive people who truly love and care about you makes your feel amazing! Call your mom, have a kitchen dance party with an old friend, or make an effort to sit down for coffee with that fun girl from biochem.
- Treat others exactly as you'd like to be treated. Just like that New Radicals song from the late 90's "You Get What You Give" so be nice and you'd be surprised how far a little kindness can take you.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle. Happiness isn't all about mental wellness, physical wellness is important too! Make good choices towards sticking around on earth for as long as you can. It will be worth it.
- Don't get bogged down with details. Sure life throws all sorts of challenges your way but getting worked up about them isn't going to get you anywhere. Try to stay patient, calm, and positive and remind yourself what you're aiming for in the end. Taking a step back once in a while can give you a lot of perspective on keeping your life happy.
- Enjoy the little things. I know fuzzy kitty pictures sure do wonders for lifting my spirits so find what it is that makes you feel spectacular and keep it up! Make time in your weekly schedule for doing something that makes you happy then go out (or stay in) and really enjoy life! Kittens and sunshine for everyone! (well....for me anyways....)
- Stop worrying what others are thinking about you. If someone is really going to judge you or be mean to you for being yourself then they really aren't worth your time. There will always be negative people out there, but as long as you keep bettering the world with your sunshiny disposition who cares?
- Learn to say "No". This is a big one in my life since I'm always biting off more than I can chew. It doesn't help anyone by making unreachable goals for myself and instead I'm going to focus on committing to being practical and trying my best to lay off being a perfectionist. Everything doesn't have to be perfect, but as long as you're doing your best and staying happy (and sane) that's what matters!
- Make one good choice at a time. Life is just a big long series of decisions you are making to work at making them good ones. No one's perfect, but you'll feel great about making a habit of good choices and you'll be on your way to the road of happiness
- Be happy with who you are. If you struggle with poor self-image, try to make a list of all the things you love about yourself and focus one of those each day. Even if you're having a rough morning, taking a moment - throw on some extra lip balm and glance in that gorgeous smile on the way out the door. Every little bit counts!
Well that quickly turned from "just a few tips" into quite the list, but I'm sticking by it. Each of those strategies have helped me become the person I am today and taking a step back and remembering to focus on happiness is a great way to live my life. It's wonderful to think that all of this happy habit changing loveliness came from one little "where are you at and where are you going?" life evaluation with my friend Travis, but it certainly did and I couldn't be more pleased about it. He did tell me about challenging yourself and others to stick to a resolution at the beginning of each year and I'm certainly ready to resolve any negative elements of my life! The big goals I have for 2013 include:
1) Reconnecting and remaining close to the wonderful, kind, generous, and fun loving people I've met in my life. I often forget how much I appreciate the positive influences that have shaped me and it takes only a moment to let someone know how wonderful they are (and I'm sure they'd love to hear it too)
2) Dropping any self inflicted stress factors. Sure I like a little challenge once in a while but my mental sanity often gets put on the back burner as I fumble to meet personal deadlines and (*gasp* - I'm going there) blog every single day. Happiness is all too important to me and in order to be the best person I can be I'm going to cut back on here and share my geeky enthusiasm about life when I can healthily find the time for it!
3) Keep with my Arthritis Class goals! You only live once and after struggling with chronic illness for the majority of my life I'm ready to take control. I'm going to make smart choices, start saying no once in a while, and really focus on being healthy! Hooray!
Well I don't know about you, but this post has really got me ready for a most wonderful 2013 and since this year is going to be a big one (including all sorts of new crafts, lots of big decisions, and...getting married!!!) I'll be sure to stop in and share them with you along the way. How about you? What are you aiming for this year?