It’s that time of year again where we get to look back on the year that was and resolve to do better and be better in the year(s) to come. While changing for the better is ideally practiced every day and at every possible moment, there is something romantic about doing a yearly ‘one-time-big-time’ exercise of taking stock of our lives and doing a ‘life cleanse’.
Getting rid of physical things
Often, sorting out what’s in our heads can be difficult and overwhelming. What helps me get in the right frame of mind to ‘sort’ life out is physically clearing out my closet, cabinets, boxes, luggage, and getting rid of anything that brings no added value, meaning or joy into my life. I’ve always been averse to owning many things, but for one reason or another, I’m not completely spared from the annoying human habit of inadvertently accumulating all sorts of useless stuff over time.
I actually did it, I threw out more than a dozen trash bags full of old receipts, packaging, useless brochures, ink-less pens, etc.
When it came to clothes, shoes, linens, and the like, I had a simple rule: if I hadn’t used it in a year, it has to go. I also tried to keep only one (max two) of each piece of clothing. I couldn’t believe I had 5 white T-shirts, yet I only used two. Try it: get rid of ‘stuff’. It’s therapeutic. And quite frankly, we really don’t need much to make this life an amazing one.
Reaching out, one-on-one catch-ups
I’m one of those who subscribe to the idea that relationships are at the core of our happiness. The quality of our friendships, close relationships and interactions with people determine the quality of our outlook on life and day-to-day happiness. I also believe in surrounding ourselves with people who inspire, motivate, and push us to be better.
While I can manage a crowd, maybe even thrive, I really prefer sitting down and having a one-on-one catch-up with people I truly care about and whose lives I’m sincerely interested in beyond Facebook updates. One thing I’ve reminded myself to be grateful for after two months of intensive catch-ups is that I have truly amazing family and friends. It makes me so happy to cheer them on in life. And I appreciate every secret and deep thought they entrust me with.
Over the years, I have become a lot more careful about not letting negative people get too close. This is different from the empathy I feel for whatever hardship people may be going through. I listen, try to understand and I really don’t pass judgment. But I can only be there for them to the extent that I can—only to the point where their negativity can’t influence me. It’s only healthy that we, ourselves, are in a position of mental and emotional stability in order to be better listeners, better friends. With people who are really just toxic, I simply don’t have room for them in my life.
Writing it all down
From to-do lists to wishlists, business ideas to prayers, I write them all down. I find it easier to get mental clarity when I can see what’s in my head with my own eyes. I have what I call a dream book, where everything (mostly positive) thoughts go into. Looking back at everything I’ve ever written, I realise that they all come true in one form or another, and they may not necessarily happen exactly when I want them to, but they eventually do happen and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
I think a lot of it has to do with subconsciously conditioning your mind to focus on specific goals, and over time, without even realising it, the decisions you make eventually lead you to the goals you’ve hammered into your subconscious. I do believe in something greater than ourselves (be it God, the Universe, magic, energies or whatever else you prefer to call it), so when our actions lead us onto the path of our heart’s desires, we open ourselves up to opportunities, positive vibes, good fortune, divine intervention, and any other serendipitous eventualities that make our dreams come true.
Acts of consistency vs intensity
Last week, I listened to a Tony Robbins podcast with the author, Simon Sinek, as guest and a lot of what was said on that podcast struck me. In one part, Sinek talked about the difference between acts of consistency vs acts of intensity. It’s not a new idea, it’s something we all know, but summing it up into two concepts made it stick.
Acts of consistency, Sinek said, are more important and even if on their own, these small acts amount to nothing, over time, they spell the difference between positive change and staying stuck. Acts of intensity are nice, but they shouldn’t be taken on their own.
For example, working out for 30 minutes a day will not change your body overnight, but it will obviously yield better results than working out for 4 hours once a month. If your husband tends to forget your birthday or doesn’t plan a massive surprise party, don’t be upset. Think about all the acts of love he does every single day. Isn’t that a better ingredient to a long-lasting and strong relationship? I absolutely agree with Sinek. Knowing myself, I would like to aim for both acts of consistency and intensity, but if I were to prioritise one or the other, acts of consistency are what truly matter in life, relationships and business.
Listen to the podcast below (transcript of topics listed here: https://www.tonyrobbins.com/podcasts/be-the-last-to-speak/.)
Here’s another YouTube video I came across on the topic.
Wishing you all a happy, prosperous, healthy, memorable and blessed 2018!
Do you have other year-end rituals to prep for the new one?