It's that time of year where we swear to ourselves that we'll finally hit the gym, reduce our carb intake 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 eventually. In fact, according to studies, a whopping eight percent of people end up achieving their New Year's resolutions.
This year, instead of making lofty resolutions, perhaps instead we should take a pause to look within -- to evaluate what is and isn't working in creating a fulfilled life. In this moment of reflection, we can increase our personal consciousness by asking some of these key questions.
1. What type of human do you want to be?
We devote a lot of time creating strategies for our careers and businesses, but often put little thought in determining the type of human we want to be. What are the values that define you? How do you make people feel? Did you make a deposit of energy or a withdrawal? Because at the end, that is all that really matters. That's the only thing people will ever remember about you - how you made them feel.
2. Will you keep your heart and mind open?
Life can be tough. When you endure loss, face rejection and disappointments on a regular basis, it can be challenging to not let the hardships wear you down. Do not let this world harden you. Remember, the more walls you build around your vulnerability and authenticity, the further away you distance yourself from joy.
3. Is the decision you 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. When we transact with our ego, we deplete our light, and are often left feeling empty, unfulfilled or insecure.
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.
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.
7. Will you allow anxiety to rule 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. 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.
9. 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.
10. Love or fear?
When in doubt, choose love. Love wins. Love always wins.