The new year is like a blank canvas awaiting first brush strokes. You have options about how to fill that canvas—the preparation, colors, shading, and picture type. Will you choose a self-portrait with clarity and depth, or one that is a jumble of Picasso-esque forms?
To gain perspective, glance back at last year’s portrait. Are you satisfied with the outcome? Are there things you want to change?
Often, in order to move forward, you have to decide to leave something behind. Following are ten things to consider giving up this year:
Even if you’re not happy with certain aspects of your life, continual self-deprecation sets a negative tone, negates courage, and holds you back. Balance your self-view by noting positives as well as negatives. Work on areas you know need adjustment, but don’t focus on self-critique.
Comparing yourself to others is a pointless endeavor because you rarely see the real life of the person whom you’re measuring yourself against. You are special, created with strengths, gifts, and talents unique to you. Embrace and be thankful for who you are without trying to cram yourself into a mold not designed for you.
- Blaming Others for Your Mistakes
We live in a world where people rarely admit when they are wrong. Mistakes are covered by spinning truth and placing blame on others. This year, decide to take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them.
- Setting Yourself Up to Fail
Many people make resolutions for the new year, but setting unrealistic goals is a sure path to failure. While goal-setting is a good motivator, let those goals be realistic for your stage of life and abilities. Define and implement incremental steps that make your goals reachable.
Many people are professional procrastinators. They’ve been delaying for such a long time, procrastination seems like an acceptable way of functioning. But waiting until the last minute to do everything adds unnecessary stress to your life. Sometimes procrastination is tied to uncertainty, but often the underlying problem is laziness. For a month, try thinking and doing ahead of deadlines. Then, notice how tensions ease.
- Allowing Fear to Make Your Decisions
Fear is one of the greatest deterrents to forward motion. Fear may masquerade as infinite planning with no implementation, never-ending research, or some other form of procrastination. Fear comes in many forms: fear of change, failure, or the unknown, but if you allow fear into the driver’s seat, you limit opportunities and thwart forward motion. If you never risk, you miss out on untold rewards.
- Social Media Venting and Engagement
Living your life on social media is a sure path to frustration and fantasy. While it’s entertaining to occasionally scroll social media, discussing detailed health information, venting your frustrations and viewpoints, or engaging in debate derails forward motion.
Some use social media to gain sympathy and support. Others use it as a soapbox for political views or others issues about which they are passionate. And still others self-promote or create a fantasy life that often is in sharp contrast to what is really going on in their lives.
This year, live more of your life off social. Mute people you don’t really know who make your blood boil. Document your woes in a journal instead of on social media. Discipline yourself not to vent, rant, or engage in debate on social media. In doing so, you experience peace, focus on more important aspects of life, and maintain forward motion.
Structuring your life to please others is like running laps in a cul-de-sac, a never-ending cycle of anticipating, trying, and failing. This year, think about why pleasing others is important to you. Are you basing your self-worth on affirmations from others? Now is a good time to stop.
Have you even known someone for whom worry was a way of life? It’s almost as if they feel useless if they don’t have something on the worry docket. But worrying saps energy and doesn’t change outcomes. Fight worry with faith, trusting God to give you wisdom, resources, and counsel to navigate any challenges you face.
- Spiritual Indifference
Many people totally ignore their spiritual life, but deepening your relationship with God leads to wisdom and peace. This year, make spiritual growth and development a priority. Spend time in prayer. Study the Bible. Express gratitude for blessings and listen for God’s voice. Focusing spiritually could make this year you best yet!
“You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
To receive Candy’s blog, Forward Motion, via email, go to https://candyarrington.com/blog/ and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up.