I’m not one to shy away from planning personal goals months in advance. Strategizing, outlining and checking off boxes is mainly for my own peace of mind more than anything else. However, I’ve learned that telling yourself what tomorrow holds is usually a waste of time. Destiny has a funny — or shall I say amusing — way of taking hold of well-thought ideas and shaking life up like a snow globe.
So, I got to thinking about this past year and the roller coaster ride it has been for many people. The election brought our year to a dramatic close in many ways, but it also made each of us check in with ourselves, our desires, our morals, and our wants and dreams for the future. With that shiny bright number “2017” at the forefront of our minds, I know most of us are ready to start with a clean slate.
Before you start posting about your New Year’s resolutions, booking that trainer, meal prepping, updating your resume or creating that vision board, I challenge you to dive a bit deeper into your soul and think about the word “accountability.”
My experience in moving forward in life has a lot to do with taking accountability for my own actions, life decisions and personal choices. You see, if you look at your life as a blank canvas and yourself as the painter choosing which colors to create the perfect picture, you either consciously choose colors you know will turn out to be beautiful or just randomly start dipping your brush into your palette and hope your abstract motions make sense. Whichever way you go about making your work of art come to life, once you are finished, you must take ownership and hold yourself accountable. This is the same for the choices you’ve made this past year that guided you to where you are today. That is why I want you to focus carefully on your desires moving into 2017 and how you can strive to do better, make wiser decisions and have an even stronger outlook on your life.
This can all be done by taking accountability for your past and owning your decisions for the year ahead. Here are a few suggestions to help guide you on your way:
Start at home. Whether you live by yourself or have a family of four, your home should be a structured sanctuary filled with support and some kind of feeling of peace. Delete any unnecessary chaos or bills that are adding stress to your plate. Work at being a better communicator to your spouse, a more present parent to your children, or a leader when it comes to creating happiness within your home. Tell your family that you plan on doing so, too.
Say sorry. Every day, obstacles often make us react without thinking. Do you know that line, “What were you thinking when you weren’t thinking?” Well, if there is somebody in your life that deserves an apology, I suggest you put your pride to the side and make it happen. It may not have an impact today or tomorrow, but an apology does not have an expiration date. Your kindness and consideration are timeless.
Surround yourself with doers. People within your inner circle should inspire you, encourage you and bring drops of light into your life. Close the door on anyone that makes you feel poorly about yourself, is involved in bad habits or takes jabs at your dreams and sense of self. Furthermore, do your part this year to be a better friend, sister, brother, cousin, etc. Relationships are a two-way street, so treat others how you want to be treated.
Validate. The most important part of taking accountability in life also involves validating others on how your decisions or actions may have affected them. Look them in the eye and take notice of their feelings and emotions. Tell them you hear them, you see them and you will work on being better. In time, your actions will prove that. Validation is equally crucial when something good happens in your life, too. If others have helped you, acknowledge them and say thank you or write a card, but always express gratitude. Being humble and grateful are key steps to moving ahead successfully.
I deeply encourage you to make this upcoming year your most honest. What does an honest year mean? It means always being truthful about how you feel, what you want and what you don’t want. Do your very best to put your integrity stamp on every choice that you make. This year is full of new opportunities. It is your duty to yourself to make it different from all of the rest.
I believe in you and know you can!