As 2014 was in its final countdown, I shared my New Years resolution with two of my friends over peppermint mochas (those can come back any day now). I told them that I wanted to start saying “Yes” more. I can only laugh at myself now because my New Years resolution for 2016 may be to say “No” every once in a while. Now that we are half way through the year full of yesses, new opportunities and new people, I wanted to share what I have learned in these past six months. I’ve made significant changes to my life and I can confidently say that I’ve never been happier! It brings me so much joy when people tell me that they have noticed!
This list could very well change in a couple days but as of right now, here are 15 things that I would like to emphasize. You will have to discover many of these numbered statements yourself but if this list has made you reflect about your life, even a smidgeon, I am content!
- Wake up with a grateful heart. How you start off your morning sets the tone for the entire day. There are too many things to count to be thankful for! Even appreciating one will give you a fresh perspective that will make you wonder how you went without this outlook for so long.
- You cannot do everything, but in everything you do, be all there. I hear the words “spreading myself too thin” almost daily in college. Giving away too much of your time is just as bad as not being fully present in your commitments. Once you find what you want your agenda to be filled with, give it your all.
- Listen to your body. Our bodies are so much smarter than we give them credit for! It will tell you when you need more sleep, need to get moving or simply need to eat a big ol’ slice of cheesecake. Our bodies were made by the hands of perfection so respect it and trust it accordingly.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a single conversation. Whether this is face-to-face, email, text, phone call or how else humans ACTUALLY converse these days, one interaction is all it takes to create something profound. Communication doesn’t require consistency to be truly meaningful.
- Eat breakfast. Have you ever heard a study say, “Eating breakfast is bad for you”. No-o-way-o! There is just something about sitting down to a nice cup of coffee and a wonderfully crafted meal to break the fast and the experts agree. Maybe this looks like Lucky Charms or possibly 7 ingredient toast. Either way, your metabolism will be kick-started, you’ll have increased energy, your brain function will be improved, you will be healthier overall and you will be happier once you rise n’ dine!
- It’s never too late. I am guilty of beating myself up because I thought I passed the optimal time for life events. ‘I can’t make new friends because everyone already has their own, I’m never going to fit in in this organization because they have been doing fine without me, I’m too far behind to catch up to everyone else in my major.’ This is absolute nonsense! The only deadline to these things are ones I placed. It is never ever too late, mate.
- Celebrate the small victories. Life is full of achievements, no matter what the size is! To me, it can sometimes feel awkward to share them with others but you are the only person who has to know. Did you just cut into a perfectly ripe avocado? Celebrate. Did someone sit you down to appreciate what you thought was going unnoticed? Celebrate. Did you just finish an entire chapstick (I don’t have experience on this one)? Celebrate. Life can be a constant dance party if you allow it to be!
- Call people by name. This is the ultimate game changer in greetings and even relationships. Taking, “Hey” to “Hey, Kerigan” is not a baby step of a difference, it is a Buddy the Elf escalator stretch! The more personable you can be, the more you make an individual feel like a someone. Plus, this is the lazy person’s pal because it only takes a couple, possibly one, more syllables.
- Invest in a good cup of coffee. Two words: French. Press. Alleluia. Three words were essential because the invention of the french press is almighty! It is fast, super cheap and makes a great batch every single time. I was explaining how the contraption works to a couple friends and I told them, “Once you go french press, you never go back”. They just laughed at me but it’s true. Alleluia.
- Ask for help. Stop assuming what you will hear because you don’t know anything until you ask. I was interviewing a woman for a class and I asked her what advice she would give to college students. She told me that it is an inherit trait that people want to help, they just don’t know that you need it. It has stuck with me since and has proven to be one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received!
- Stop worrying. Worrying is useless in every single way! It will not change a thing and only causes harm. Everything is taken care of. Literally. God has the best planned for you and will give you the best if you lift your anxiety up to Him. “Cast all your worries on him because he cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:7. Let the burdens fall of your shoulders and laugh while you’re at it.
- Don’t judge how people spend their time. For the longest time, I would question why my friends didn’t want to spend their free time in the same why I did. Well whatdoyaknow THEY ARE NOT ME. Each person has their own talents, enjoy different things and has a distinct plan. With the acknowledgement that there is no one right way to live, individualistic beauty is everywhere. As my sister would tell you, suum cuique (Latin for “to each his own”).
- Guard your heart. We are constant consumers of information. This includes people, music, social media, TV, books, advertisements, etc. The smallest of things we give our attention to can shape us, whether that is uplifting or degrading. You hold the power in what you surround yourself with and don’t let anyone make that decision for you. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23
- Write. You don’t have to create a blog, write a novel or become a poet but write. There is a reason why your teachers have told you to write down your goals throughout your entire life, why people find journaling so effective and why memory jars are the best thing ever! The brain can’t remember every single detail that will mean so much to you later on. Witnessing growth is such an inspiring thing!
- Do something today for a better tomorrow. I think living in the present is far superior than planning for the future (see #11) but a little preparation will make a big difference in your life. Even if this is as simple as mentally planning what you will wear or printing notes for a class the next day, the details count. Collectedness is not accidental.