Congratulations! You survived 2020! Whew! If you are anything like me, it felt touch and go there for a while.
Welcome, 2021! After last year, it will be really easy for you to be better.
But, how can we be better? Better physically? Emotionally? Mentally?
Five days into 2021 and the world was shocked by riots in Washington, DC. I had a few friends reach out in utter dismal disappointment. Five days. That was all it took for them to feel like they had no hope in the world.
I introduced this group of friends, whom I love dearly and have known most of my life, to one of the five practices I will share with you today. That group text went from disappointment and fear to light and edifying.
How can we be the best we can be in 2021? Here are five simple steps I use that may help you.
- Live Loved: Don’t be a slave to emotions. The last year was a roller coaster of emotions – fear, anger, depression, hope, joy, defiance. We have all felt them in such intensity for so long, it is easy to forget the most powerful emotion, word, magic, verb in the world: Love. As Lysa Terkerst so aptly put it, “No one can soar to the place of living loved when it’s a performance-based endeavor.” It is time to stop treating ourselves like we are reacting vessels. It is time to start acting. Time to reclaim the gift you are to the world. You are uniquely and wonderfully made for a purpose for a time such as this. Claim this. Love yourself. Love all the uniqueness that is you. Love the quirks. Love the weaknesses. Love the strengths.
2. Love your body: It took one hour for my inbox to be flooded with weight loss and exercise tips and workout boot camp invitations from when the ball dropped on December 31, 2020, and January 1, 2021. First, let me remind you: the weight loss industry is designed for you to FAIL and they KNOW it. So, ignore that. You know what you should eat and how you should work out. The healthiest thing you can do is start where you are and love your body. I love the above picture – she is so graceful and confident! Find one thing on your body you like and look yourself in the mirror daily and complement it. Eventually, you will come to love it and be able to find more things to love about yourself. When you love yourself, much like when you love a child, you want what is best for yourself. See yourself as the healthier version of you now and you will find you start choosing the healthier food at the store, ignoring the food table at gatherings, and investing in the people you are with more.
3. Speak Life: This past year has brought out the worst in people. Our language has turned against each other – our politics, our friends, even our families have been divided over how we view the state of things. Division is high and our language isn’t helping. Instead of listening to the views of others, we ignore them. Unfollow. Unfriend. We spread hate and insult those who disagree. We speak negativity and hate. But, our words have power. 2021 is a time to take our tongues back. It is time to speak love and life. We are uniquely made, so we have different opinions. That does not make one stupid and the other brilliant. It means our lives are different and the realities of what is happening in them are different. Stop. Listen. Then speak love. When we change our language to love and light we open doors to unity, growth, wonderful friendships, and grand love.
4. Be grateful: If follow me, you know how much I believe in the power of gratitude. There is a change that takes place in the heart when we recognize things we are thankful for. This year, thank you body. Your body does amazing things all day with your consciously thinking about it. Blood cells move to make sure organs work. White blood cells come to fight off bacteria and viruses. You have completely new skin every 27 days! Thank your body. Your family knows the worst of you (you know what I am talking about) and loves you anyway. Thank your family. Your teachers, therapists, and doctors are working diligently (some more than 60 hour weeks) to help ensure a healthy and smart community. Thank them. I practice a discipline of gratitude daily. I attempt to write out 3-5 things daily I am grateful for. This is particularly helpful on those days I am tired or short-tempered. It recenters me.
5. Take Chances: The new year is a great time to evaluate where we are and decide where we are going. What will your path be this year? One of anger and hate? One of love and acceptance? One of accomplishment? One of excuses? Be honest with yourself when you make this evaluation, and start moving those dreams to goals. Dreams are passing thoughts – goals are paths to reality. Goal setting can be easy and fun. So dream big and start making the reality you have always wanted. If you are new to goal setting, pick a small goal. Maybe you want to lose weight and have yo-yo dieted for years. Instead of a diet, set a goal to drink more water daily, or eat less sugar. This is quantifiable and you can it in baby steps. The single change will have a big change. Maybe your goal is to write a book – but you are not sure you’re an author. Set a goal to write 10-15 minutes two days a week. This is measurable and will get you in the practice to write the book later. Whatever the goal, if you survived 2020, you are set up with more grit, strength, and perseverance than you ever had in the past. Claim that and use it as fuel to take chances of making your dreams a reality.
If 2020 taught me anything, it is that I am stronger than I ever knew and able to do great good. I want you to know: you are loved. You are smart. You are important. You can do all you set your mind to. You are uniquely made for such a time as this.
I would love to hear your goals and thoughts on how you are going to make 2021 the best year yet. Drop a comment. If you like what you read, please share. Together, we can make this world a positive one.