A new year of opportunity is upon us. We have 12 new months of possibility ahead of us, and a long list of New Year’s resolutions we’d like to accomplish. As you look to set priorities, make commitments and take a step forward, there are 12 things worth doing in 2017 that we’d be remiss not to acknowledge.
1. Take the trip you’ve always dreamed of. Or any trip at all.
Of the many millions in the world that have unearthed a deep and unrelenting passion for travel, it seems as though most have a difficult time explaining why. I think Cesare Pavese said it best when he said,
“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.
You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
Finding a reprieve from daily demands of planning, scheduling, presenting, measuring, delivering, posting, and reporting is essential. Find time to travel this year. Whether to a close destination or one on the other side of the world, make time for it. It offers experiences, clarity, and restoration like nothing else.
2. Take a big risk at work.
So often, we spend our time at work holding our breath and doubting ideas, concerned that we’ll be ridiculed or rejected. It can take years to learn to trust your instincts – even after you’ve done the research. It can take even longer to get comfortable with the idea of risk. But by taking them, we learn far more than we do when we play it safe.
Choose to speak up. Choose to make an impact, and to do your best work. Your name will always be the one that’s on it, after all. Take chances that will make you proud of it.
3. Forgive someone.
Whether for a small injustice, a snap judgment, or hurtful words, choose to let it go. Things beyond your control that eat away at your own peace of mind and happiness have no business being harbored. Holding onto resentments tears away at relationships in ways that are often far more damaging than the injustice itself.
4. Forgive yourself.
Most of us are our own harshest critics. We tend to be far more forgiving of others than we are of ourselves. We judge ourselves harshly and rarely let ourselves off the hook for big mistakes. Accept the fact that you’re human, too. Learn from it. Let it go. Move on. There are many other places where your energy will be better spent.
5. Make a decision you’ve been avoiding.
It’s all too easy to put big decisions on the back burner, letting work and personal responsibilities take priority. But the pull of the avoided decision eventually builds up, causing unnecessary stress and lost sleep.
However long you’ve been mulling it over, consciously choosing to make a decision – and committing to giving yourself the time and space to really figure it out – might be the key in actually making one.
6. Spend time alone.
Make an effort to spend time with your own thoughts. There are a million distractions present every day that can cloud our interpretation of our priorities, induce stress, and get us down. Make time to get away from all of it – your phone, email, social media, TV, and even people you love spending time with. There is so much to be found when you give yourself the time and space you need to clear away all the noise.
Let yourself rely on quiet moments and blank journal pages to work things out.
7. Choose to be positive.
“Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” -marcandangel
8. Invest in yourself.
Accomplishments come from investments in things worth doing; projects, relationship, skills. Many of us have goals for self-improvement, and it can be easy to get discouraged when it feels like we’re not changing or growing fast enough.
Carving time out to invest in yourself seems to be the biggest struggle for most of us. We’re all busy and have many demands on our plates that help us justify why we don’t. Well, it’s time to break the cycle. Choose to invest in yourself and all the things you want to improve on – especially those things that you know will bring greater peace and clarity to your life.
9. Help someone else feel appreciated.
There are likely several people in your life that work hard, sacrifice often, and think of others way before they think of themselves. Show appreciation with a thank you note, a thoughtful gift, time, and words of kindness. They often go further than we think in brightening someone’s day.
10. Make clear communication a priority.
Between work life and home life, there’s no shortage of opportunities for miscommunication. Hasty emails, rushed messages, short conversations, and scattered minds can cause disconnects that take a lot of time and effort to resolve. Choose to put being present, to being attentive, to listening more carefully, and to communicating as clearly as possible on your list of things worth doing this year. It not only helps prevent problems down the road but helps each individual involved feel valued.
11. Don’t take no for an answer.
If it keeps you up at night, go after it – at all costs and in spite of the opposition you’re sure to experience along the way.
12. Explore a new hobby that brings you joy.
Routines are comfortable, but settling in too deeply can exclude us from valuable experiences and growth. Choose to do something outside of your normal routine regularly. You just might find something that brings you remarkable joy.