If you’re anything like anyone, right about now you’re working on a list of New Year’s Resolutions that likely has a number of repeats from years prior. Still haven’t stood up to your boss? Gained weight instead of lost it? Have yet to write that book you’ve been talking about since you were eleven *coughBELLEcough*? More than likely you start the year with great intentions, but fizzle out by March. That’s what happens. A year is a long time and a lot happens during all those moon cycles.
Maybe the problem isn’t you and your level of discipline; maybe the problem is with resolutions.
What is a resolution?
A quick search in a separate tab lists the definitions of resolution as “a firm decision to do or not do something” and “the action of solving a problem”. This suggests that there is something wrong with us and our lives and therefore we must fix it.
Personally, here at TwoFeelsWrite, we had a bit of an issue with the ever so popular NYR to lose weight. Yes, yes, some people really do need to lose weight and some want to and that’s their life and their decision and you go Glenn Cocoa! But focusing too much on losing weight can lead to investing on a really expensive treadmill (a.k.a. coat hanger), or spending too much on a gym membership that you probably used in January, but now it’s June and you still haven’t cancelled the automatic withdrawal. One of the biggest issues with wanting to lose weight is that it can lead to dangerous fad diets or have too much focus on a number.
Resolutions are often firm and narrow, with clear success and failure. It’s hard to stick to something like that for twelve months when you obviously haven’t been working on it in the past (hence why it’s on your resolution list!). Maybe it’s time to try something else.
What is a mantra?
One more definition search: a mantra is “a statement or slogan repeated frequently” and/or “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation”. But what does it really mean?
To us, it means a new focus, putting the emphasis on growth rather than problem. A mantra is something positive that you aim to incorporate in your daily life as a reminder towards success and happiness. There is success and there is failure, but maybe not as severely as with resolutions.
Take a look at the six mantras we’re going to be living in 2018.
1. Be Healthier
Bet ya saw that one coming a mile away. Nevertheless, it deserves to be here.
Belle: A big thing for me is my mental health, which has taken a beating in the last two years. I want to go to the gym and do yoga so that I’m physically healthy and stronger (and to look good naked, because #real), but also so that I have more energy and focus. I’m working on transitioning from coffee to tea so that I can cut out sugary creamers from my diet and keep my anxiety under control. There’s also drinking more water, not eating as much sugar, and overall healthy habits that I want to incorporate as best I can.
Elena: When I start something, I’m not always driven to finish it. The problem with being healthy is that it is never ending. My “cheat days” become my daily routine and healthy meals become less frequent. I want to work on balance, eating things that make me feel good more often: less junk food, no fast food, no soda, less alcohol and smaller portions. With the help of Pinterest, there are thousands of yummy recipes that are healthier. I received a yoga kit as a corporate gift from my company, so I have everything I could need. I just need the drive and be able to stick with it and make it a routine to be comfortable in my skin again and feel good.
2. Complain Less
In this day of climate change, political and economic disaster, and countless articles on how Millennials are killing this and another five killed in a terrorist attack, it’s hard to stay positive. But it’s important to keep some optimism and happiness in our lives.
Belle: I was really inspired by a kid’s speech at a high school speech and debate tournament where he had this great “give yourself a hand” spiel. More or less it went something like this: “for every negative thing you focus on, point on five positives. Give naysayers and doubts the middle finger. Make a commitment to growth and a pinky promise to always keep trying. And every day give yourself a thumbs up because you did it.” That’s the sort of cheesy stuff I want to do this year. Focus on my successes more than my short comings, celebrate the little things, redirect conversations away from Negative Nancy and towards Polly Positive, and take control to change the things I complain about the most.
Elena: It’s so easy to find things to complain about on the daily: my back aches, there goes another $200 on medical bills, another misfortune to the car I’m stuck in a lease with for the next two years… I noticed when I wasn’t living in America and I was in school (not working) I was so much happier. But, I was also racking up a lot of debt. So to even the playing field, I need to find fun things to do in moderation so that I can still pay my bills, but also have a fun day out. Not just that, I find comfort in reading, writing and going to church or volunteering. When I think about people less fortunate than me, it’s easier to stop complaining.
3. Establish Sustainable Balance
This might be the biggest thing we (this time meaning our generation at large) struggle with the most. In college, there was the classic triangle of “grades, sleep, and social life: pick two”, and we’re shocked and terrified that, instead of going away, it’s grown into the hectic heptagon of “work, health, house, hobbies, sleep, social life, self care: pick two”. A lot of things fall by the wayside, and we’re still figuring out how to do it all.
Belle: I’m maybe sorta kinda cheating with this. I found that the biggest obstacle was working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an hour commute each way. So I got rid of it. Now I’m reorganizing my schedule around my needs and when things work best for me. For example, I can focus and get a lot of work done in the middle of the night and overall do better when I wake up later. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m setting little goals and schedules for every day so that the big tasks become little chunks and I’m more likely to have the time, energy, and discipline to do it all.
Elena: Trying to balance out my life is about as hard as trying to win $1,000 on a lottery ticket from the grocery store. I’m really terrible with following through with things: I still have a coffee table I need to stain, I have three crafts in a pile on my bedroom floor, I still need to get sandbags for my car this winter. I’m finding that when I take a moment and write things out, it’s really not that overwhelming, it’s very doable. What I need is more organization (the bullet journal is my savior), less T.V., more time reading or with people and to watch my spending.
Related Reading: 5 Ways To Stay Focused
4. Work On Yourself, For Yourself
This is the age of empowerment and self realization. Don’t admire people that improve themselves: be that person!
Belle: I’m working on a lot of projects this upcoming year because they’re things that I either really enjoy and need to have more of in my life, or because it could be the thing that let’s me do the things I really enjoy. I’m doing away with traditional definitions of success and what’s expected of me in order to do what I believe to be is best for me. No more worrying about what looks good on a resume or what’s going to be put in the family Christmas card: I know me and I’m going to do what’s best for me so that I can be my best for others.
Elena: Sometimes when I’m at work, I look up prices for working visas to different countries or different jobs in the area to get away. Then I come to my senses and make a list of pros and cons of my decisions. I find that the more goals I have set, even if it’s finishing a project by the end of the week, I feel so much better. For this upcoming year, I want to do things for myself; take a vacation with my godmother, go to Canada (because why the hell not, eh?), get rid of the things I don’t need, make a financial plan and stick to it, calculate my BMI to keep track of how my body changes. I want to be a better person, do things for others, work hard and have fun!
Related Reading: 3 Reasons to Love Being Single
5. Build On Successes
This is where the mantra mentality can really take hold. Every day can be another mile stone, can be the “I did five pushups instead of four” and “I only hit snooze twice this morning” and “I made a new network connection today”.
Belle: I’ve been using this philosophy a lot with my gym routine as of late: “it wasn’t my best workout, but I went. I was at the gym, and I tried. I’m still developing the habit.” I’m at the point where it’s turning into a bit of a cop out, but it’s still good to view things positively so that I’m more inclined to do it again. Now I have to learn how to recognize successes and how to turn failures into successes within new business ventures and long-term goals. I can’t afford to let something work once and then not figure out how to make it happen again.
Elena: Successes are all mental, but they come from the people around you the most. My sister lost weight, she looks great and I told her so! My boss thanks me at the end of everyday, even if I feel like I did nothing that day, she always makes me feel appreciated. It’s great to have reassurance on accomplishments, but to feel successful, I need to really invest myself and my time. If I do that, I will feel successful when I leave the gym and my my abs are in pain when I laugh, when I have everything checked off my “to-do” list, or when I have an extra $50 in my savings. Little by little things will grow and change and make me feel more successful.
Related Reading: The Two Step: A Bilateral Move
6. Take Risks
We do not endorse covering yourself in bacon fat and jumping into a pool full of piranhas as positive risky behavior in 2018. But you won’t grow if you stay in your comfort zone, so eventually you have to cross your imaginary line and try something new. Maybe that means making the first move towards the cute guy at the bar or speaking up in work meetings. Maybe it means wearing bright red lipstick or going bungee jumping. That’s for you to decide.
Belle: Oh boy howdy. 2018 is going to be the year where everything changes for me, but it has yet to be determined if it will be for the worse or for the better. I’m starting the year off by quitting my 9-5 and trying the freelance/independent contractor/aspiring student lifestyle. And I know the risks won’t stop there. But I’m excited and I’m determined to make it work.
Elena: This is what I’m looking forward to most! I went crazy when I was abroad in college and it was probably the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m finding that I haven’t met many new people because I haven’t been going out or staying in hostels. I’m always with people I know, so we usually keep to ourselves. But the more people I meet, the more possibilities there are! I’m testing out the Inner Circle (which costs $5/week, but if you create a profile, then try to delete it, they offer you a free trial ;)). Not only is the Inner Circle meant for dating, but also just meeting people in your area. Moral of this mantra: be like Yes Man with no hesitation.
What are your 2018 goals and mantras? What steps will you be taking to achieve them? Let us know in the comments, as well as how we might be able to help!