Last year, I decided I wasn’t going to make resolutions anymore. Not because I don’t believe in making positive changes or giving up vices, but because it’s really hard to live by a set of rules – in life, in dating, in anything. So my mom made a great suggestion: just pick a word.
So, last year, I picked: ‘yes.’
And wow – did I wear that word out! In any situation where I would normally turn my head or turn something down, I decided to jump in. I had one more drink. I went on another trip. I booked another fitness class. I ran another half-marathon. I moved apartments and doubled my rent. I changed jobs so I could be at a company that I truly believed in. I bought that Kate Spade wallet (cough, on sale) that I really, really wanted. I wrote things from my heart that I usually wouldn’t have admitted. I gained weight because I overindulged in mostly anything. More than any of the other years – probably combined – I truly, 100 percent lived.
2014 was really the year I went for it – and in 2015, I’m going to learn to be excited about everything I’ve found, created, mastered, tried and loved the past few years. Generally speaking, I’m a pretty positive person, but just like anyone else, I can get in some really, really bad downward-spiraling-out-of-control ruts where I feel like nothing will ever work out how I so badly want it to. And maybe because of my wild sense of ambition… I’m never really satisfied with where I am.
But I want to be content with today. Right now. This moment. This half-hour that I sit here with coffee, listening to jazz and writing this blog. I want to find peace in the present and … thrilled with all of the things that I’m thankful for.
From friendships and my health to dating and my career, here are the ways I’m going to make ‘happy’ my word of the year for 2015:
A happy body.
As hard as is it is to type this (and thus, making it real to me): I’ve gained nearly 15 pounds in a year. I suppose I’m lucky in the fact that it usually doesn’t show (too much) on me, but I can tell in my clothes. And my face. And in how I feel when I’m standing naked in front of the mirror. I’ve been putting off changing my diet and limiting those late-nights out for fear that it would be impossible to go on dates or be social with my friends, but I made the decision to change my lifestyle for myself. Until I feel healthy and happy about the way I look and feel, I won’t be able to exude confidence like I used to. I’m training for my third half-marathon in April, and I started the Whole30 Food Challenge yesterday, and I’m signed up for 6+ fitness classes this week – wish me luck!
A happy mind.
I’ve made a big effort to focus on gratitude instead of giving energy and attention to the things that I’m missing. For starters, each morning, I say something I’m thankful for out loud. There’s something about hearing it that makes me really value whatever it is (and it helps that the only person who can hear me is my pup!). I’m going to continue to do this, but I’m also going to keep a ‘Happy’ jar in my apartment. Every time something exciting, inspiring, hopeful, incredible or just plain good’ happens – I’m going to write it down and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, it’ll be fun to read everything and look back on all that happened! (Thanks L for the idea!)
A happy heart.
I’m not exactly looking forward to dating this year, but I’m changing the way I talk and think about love – and more importantly, what I believe about the love out there for me. Instead of letting frustrations, complications and annoyances get the best of me when I’m meeting new men – or putting myself down for not being perfect – I’m going to remind myself that I’m enough. And that there is a great love for me, regardless if he shows up this year, next year or whenever he makes his grand appearance. I am already happy without him, and I’m looking forward to being even happier when I’m lucky enough to share my life with him. Like last year, I’m also going to keep looking for love all around me, even if I don’t have it myself, it is so inspiring to see it reflected in those you love – and in strangers.
A happy hand.
I’ve always been really into volunteering and I love doing acts of kindness that I know will brighten someone’s day – so every week, I’m going to make an effort to give back to someone. It could be buying my roommate flowers when I know she’s stressed at work, paying for coffee for the person behind me in line at Starbucks, picking up a little somethin’ that reminds me of a friend, stopping to help someone carry a stroller up the subway steps or writing a hand-written letter to someone. (I have a few friends starting the Letter Writing Campaign, if you want a monthly pen pal, fill out this form.) Regardless of how big or seemingly insignificant a gesture seems, when you bring happiness and love to someone else, you always feel it yourself, too.
What I’m most looking forward to in my ‘year of happy’ – is savoring the things that I usually rush to get to something else. I know that amazing adventures are waiting for me in the days, months and years that I can’t imagine yet – but until they are here, until I can feel them, see them and experience them… I’m going to be happy with the now. After all, isn’t that where all the love is, anyway?
What’s your word of the year? How are you going to live it through your daily choices? Tell me in the comments!