I don’t know about you, but I’ve kind of given up on New Year’s resolutions.

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Research shows that about 95% of the promises we make ourselves fail within their first month, and there’s a good reason why. Many goals are focused on starting or stopping something: pick up the weights, ditch the cookie dough, if you know what I mean. The problem is, simply modifying your behavior is only going to take you as far as your willpower. There’s no actual transformation taking place.

Instead of trying to set a tangible goal this year, my goal is to adopt a new mindset, mantra, whatever you’d like to call it—to carry with me into 2016. A shift in perspective allows us to make all of our decisions differently, because there’s been a change of heart. Here are some ideas I think are worth sharing in 2016—feel free to comment some of your own!

Fitness is a self-investment, not a society-induced pressure. As a pageant winner, many people think that I stay fit or eat right simply to compete or fit some “ideal form.” The thing is, I’ve always seen being fit as investing in myself, because the truth is, I just feel better when I live better. Yes, getting off the couch for those first few workouts and learning to say yes to kale and no to cookies was hard, but I’m so proud of where I’ve come and how good I feel. The extra time I take going on a long run or making my own dinner instead of going through the drive-through is an investment for me in myself, both today and in the future.

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Vulnerability is the ultimate strength. I think one of the biggest problems in my generation is that we’re afraid to be real. The whole “ghosting” phenomenon is an example of this—we’re afraid of conflict or uncomfortable conversations, especially when it comes to relationships. The truth is, we want to be accepted and loved, but we’re afraid of disappointment, so we never put ourselves out there. While this may be safe, I’ve got a feeling it’s going to lead to a lot of regret in the future. Never apologize for loving well, even if things don’t work out.

Be all there. Seriously. I’ve become a lot more aware of just how much of our time is devoted to our technology and not our actual lives. It’s really sad and a little scary. Facebook and Instagram will always be there, but this day won’t be. So put down the phone for a second, take a deep breath, and savor the fact that you, just you, have the gift of being here today, in this very moment. Treasure it.

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Maximize your strengths rather than minimizing your weaknesses. This is something I learned from Strengthsfinder and a few leadership classes I’ve taken. So often, we invest so much energy in trying to make things we’re bad at less bad. Here’s the thing: you don’t need to be an all-star basketball player if you’re 5’6”. You don’t need to be a math whiz just because your brother is. Spend your time figuring out what you’re good at, and seek to master those gifts. Yes, there will always be times when you’re called to do things out of your comfort zone, but realizing that you’re not going to be perfect at everything helps you to be humble enough to recognize your need for others who might have different strengths than you.

My personal resolution: have an unshakable spirit, an indestructible sense of self. I hope I’m not alone when I say that so much of my self worth tends to be caught up in my accomplishments or reputation. It’s hard to adjust to the storms of life when you’ve got no anchor. Although I’m sure 2016 will have its share of troubles, my hope is that I’ll be able to develop an indestructible sense of self, an undeniable hope that regardless of what happens, I’ll know who I am and what I stood for.

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Wishing you a year full of growth and promise. Here’s to new beginnings.

Jeanette

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