New Year, New Me . . . Is Up to Me

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As another new year begins, you may find yourself thinking, This will be the year I’m going to turn over a new leaf. 2019 will be the best year yet! New year - new me!

Ok, that may be a little dramatic, but we all want to come out winning this year. We want to spend more time enjoying the things and people we love, and less time worrying about the things that stress us out. But why does that seem so much easier said than done?

Don’t get me wrong - I realize some things are just outright inescapable. We can’t dodge every difficult circumstance that comes our way, but we can learn to avoid the avoidable stress.

Here’s how to do that well in 2019:

First, identify the things in life that cause you the most stress. I know, I’m sorry. This step may hurt a little (or a lot), but we’re going there so you can experience the happiness you are hoping for. So, start by considering these categories:

●     Finances

●     Profession

●     Relationships

●     Physical health

●     Mental health

Second (and this is the hard part), do something about it. Things won’t change unless you do. So, maybe it’s your finances. Have the courage to make some changes. It can be hard to say no to dinner with friends or to that new car or new house you have your eye on. But what impact will that yes have in one year? You don’t want to end up living in that car! If it’s time to figure out how to manage your money better, try this free online resource. Trust me, there wouldn’t be so many resources if you were alone in this struggle.

What if it’s your career? There’s nothing more comfortable than a well-paying job. But while it may cover your expenses, does it let you exercise your creative side? Have you hit a ceiling? Do you believe in the work you’re doing? If work is sucking the life out of you, maybe it’s time to hop on LinkedIn or Indeed.

Now, I’m not meddling, but maybe you need to assess your relationships. Did you know we are literally made for community? With that in mind, ask yourself if the people you’re spending time with challenge you to be the best version of yourself. If the answer is no, let those negative influences go. (You know who I’m talking about.) And if a relationship with a family member is on the rocks, be the first to pick up the phone.

What if it’s your health (physical or mental) that could use some attention? According to Statista, two of the most common New Year’s resolutions are to eat better and get more exercise. Shocking, right? You know this: Your health is the easiest thing to put on the back burner. Still, your body is a machine, and how you treat it affects the way you function every single day. Diet and exercise not only benefit your physical health, but your mental health, too. So, do not let another vacation day go to waste. In this life category, you have to be your first priority.

Life will throw a lot at us this year. Let’s not allow circumstances to bring us stress we can control. This could be the year to find the courage to make the decisions you’ve avoided for a while. I realize this can be a lot for one person to handle, but don’t lose focus come February when it’s easier not to make the change. Begin to take the steps you need to take now, and this can be the year for the new (less stressed) you.

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