So, It’s Almost 2014… And You Know What That Means

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It means that a sizable portion of the human race will be making New Year’s Resolutions.

A new year is great, isn’t it? It’s like having a fresh start all over again, turning over a new leaf. That explains the influx of people in the gym the first couple weeks in January. You feel all pumped as the new year unfolds, totally committed to stick to your resolutions. But as time wears on, life gets busy, your motivation wears thin, and you slowly revert back to your old ways.

Does that sound familiar? I bet it does to some of you. I, too, am guilty of making resolutions in the past and not sticking to them. But you know what? “New Year’s Resolutions” is a rather artificial concept to begin with. Why should you only make resolutions at the start of the year? The notion of time is created by humans. Thus, years are a man-made concept. Why should you base your goals and ambitions around the beginning and end of something so fleeting and intangible?

I counter the infamous “New Years Resolutions” with the proposal that you can change your life whenever YOU want to. Every day is a chance to change your life for the better. If you’re not happy with something, change it. Do something about it. You don’t need to wait until the end of the year is near to turn over a new leaf. This is your life, and it’s happening right now. At any point in time, you have the power to set a goal, to decide that you will accomplish something, to make a resolution.

Now I am not bashing the idea of setting goals for yourself for the upcoming year- I am doing the same thing myself. It’s a good idea to keep yourself focused and accountable. Just don’t feel pressured by the constraints of “a year”. I hear so many people around me that say they are “so ready for 2013 to end”. But why? There are still a few days left. Don’t waste those days waiting around for them to pass. Make the most out of these days. Why should you wait for the new year to start living a good life? Start now.

To pull an example from my own life, last year at this time everything wasn’t so peachy. I was unhappy with a lot of aspects of my life. And like many others, I was “ready for 2012 to end”. But for what? I was no happier on January 1st, or 2nd, or for quite a while to be honest. Everything was the same- the only thing that had changed was that it was now 2013. It wasn’t until that I decided that it didn’t have to be this way, and there were big dreams to be chased, and I saw an ideal version of myself that I could become if I pushed myself. My resolutions and willingness to drive change were innate and genuine. And guess what? It’s been one hell of a ride since then. I have experienced such exponential growth this year, been blessed with great opportunities, and discovered what I was capable of.

And just because the year changes by one numeric value does not mean that suddenly, you are reborn and angels will descend from the skies and sing joyful hymns of praise. No, you are the same person as you were at 11:59pm- but you are the person that YOU decide that you want to be. Start now. Do it now. The world moves too fast for you to not act now.

Perspective: Life Without Regrets

How amazing would it be to live a life free of regrets? Where you don’t look back and beat yourself up for not having done differently? To freely live out the cliche of “you only live once”?

News flash: You can. Despite all the shortcomings, the times you’ve failed, you can live a fulfilled life where you look back and say, ‘I have no regrets’.

To me, it’s all about perspective. I could go walk down memory lane and point at each “mistake” that I made, and say how I could change this and that if given the chance for a do-over. OR I could think of each mistake as a learning experience, and remind myself that if things hadn’t gone the way they had, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am today.

Each life experience has helped shape who I am. Through adversity, I learned how to stay strong and keep my eye on the prize, and to take the high road. I matured and learned to take criticism with both an open ear and a grain of salt. When disagreements arose, I’d always think of what I did wrongly before placing the blame on others.

Through each trial and tribulation, I would constantly try to better myself as a person to make me feel better. I’d pour my heart and soul into things that mattered, such as my studies, work, fitness, and spending time with those I love. And when I emerged from the tough times, I’d always bounce back stronger than before.

To be quite frank, I’m not quite at that stage where I’m happy with every single choice I’ve made in life. Because I’m not. But it’s one thing to beat yourself up for the choices you’ve made, and another to accept your decisions, know that you did the best you could in the circumstance, and label it as a lesson learned. Now you know for next time.

And letting go of regret is the most liberating feeling ever.