For many people, and for a myriad of different reasons, 2016 sucked.
Like, majorly hard.
But I’m not here to tell you why the year sucked; this isn’t a reflection piece on all the bad, or even the loads of good that also happened this year.
Instead, let’s talk about the future—what 2017 holds for us. I’m sure you’re skeptical already, that as we round the corner and leave 2016 behind, someone’s going to clothesline us before we can even catch our breaths. But if we’re mindful in how we approach the new year, I think we’ll manage just fine.
So let’s stop using 2016 as a scapegoat, let’s be more actively optimistic, and let’s love more.
Stop Using 2016 as a Scapegoat
Sure, 2016 sucked, but why are we going to let it win? Why are we acquiescing and allowing 2016 be the scapegoat of all the bad that’s happened? When I wrote How to Welcome 2015, step 1 was self-reflection. Take a look at your past year and see if you can’t point to at least one moment that was at least partly your responsibility.
I know I certainly can.
Being able to reflect and accept responsibility is an important exercise that allows you to grow and learn from your mistakes. This past year, I failed. A lot. But it’s only been very recently that I’ve come to terms with those failures and accepted my share of the blame for them. It’s made me more self-aware, more humble, and more grateful.
Be Actively Optimistic
Remember that blog post I wrote about active optimism last month, When Life Gives You Lemons…? If you haven’t read it, or forgot what I said, go back and read it, then come back here. Don’t worry—I’ll wait for you to finish.
Done? Let’s continue on.
If you apply active optimism to your efforts in 2017, it can’t be a bad year. You won’t let it be a bad year. The year is a blank slate for you to work off of, and what better than to start off on the right foot? Hit the ground running, and no one will be able to slow you down (only if you let them).
If you don’t have any idea on what you want to accomplish for 2017, now’s the time to start. One method is to think ahead to the end of 2017, and imagine who you are and what you’ve accomplished. From there, work backwards; what steps will get you to the ideal end-of-2017 version of you?
For me, by the end of 2017, I’ll have super-compelling writing skills, will have built this blog to something bigger (working on some KPIs to meet for the coming year!), and will be more at peace with myself. Each of these goals will have different plans and steps to achieve them, and in the next few days I’ll be ironing those steps out (with the understanding that plans are ever-changing).
In making 2017 better, let’s not just focus on what we can do for ourselves, but also what we can do for others. I think that’s a very key element to living prosperously that we sometimes overlook.
When I say, “love more”, I don’t mean that you need to hug people more often or shower people with gifts to show your appreciation of them. When I say, “love more”, I mean showing your friends, family, and even strangers, that you care. Say your pleases and thank yous. Wish people a nice day. Strike up small talk with the intention of getting someone, even a stranger, to smile.
It’s about the little interactions that we have each day with one another that make life a little sweeter and a little more bearable.
When you wake up on January 1st, 2017, I’m confident you’re going to have an awesome head start to conquering the year. It’s not going to be all sunshine and rainbows, but how you deal with those rainy days will add to your character.
And hey, even if 2017 ends up being shitty, at least you’ll know you gave it your all.
Happy New Year, everyone.
Until next year,