We made it! We’re at the end of another year. In a few hours there will be fireworks, ball-dropping, and bottle-popping, all meant to celebrate the long-awaited end to the dumpster fire that was 2016.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that 2016 was hard on us. Between the hurricanes, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, the contentious and frustrating election, and the dead gorilla, not to mention the deaths of many beloved celebrities, so many of us are just ready for this thing to be over. Each day seemed to bring with it a new and unwanted surprise, which left us all wondering how much more we could take.
I personally had my own challenges to contend with, all of which have made me more excited that this day has finally arrived. When I wake up tomorrow, a new year will have started and I will have been given a fresh start.
Now, in spite of the challenges that I’m sure many of us have all had, this year wasn’t 100% disappointing. If we sit back and reminisce for a while, we can all find things that made 2016 worthwhile. For me, this was the year that I finished law school, got accepted into the Peace Corps, got in better shape, and met some wonderful people. The good experiences of the year managed to salvage my sanity and maintain a glimmer of hope that there is something better for the future.
This would’ve been the point where I go on about my New Year’s resolutions. I actually had a long-winded post prepared about what I resolved to do in 2017 and how we can all find ways to stick to our goals. But, honestly, there’s already so many articles and blog posts on that subject, plenty of them are really helpful. Instead, I’m just gonna tell you what steps I’m taking to make 2017 great and hope that they’re helpful to you too.
In order to have a good year, I need to focus on making changes within myself. To do that I’m just going to concentrate on a few concepts that I think are important, rather than making sweeping resolutions. Here are the four things that I will be focusing on this year.
Discipline. In order to meet the goals that I have set for myself, I need to make sure that I am disciplined. This means paying less attention to distractions, no matter how attractive, and sticking to the plans that I have made, no matter how boring. If my goal is to get out of debt in 2017, then I can’t go buy a pair of jeans at the Gap every time they go on sale just because I look cute in them. Meeting a goal must be more important than the smaller things that sidetrack me.
Patience. I need to realize that things won’t happen overnight and I need to be patient and work hard consistently in order to make them work. I started this blog because I want to write. I admire so many bloggers who have made a name for themselves and the one thing they all have in common is that they didn’t pop up overnight. They kept writing even when nobody knew they existed. And because they were patient, they have become successful. If I’m going to meet my goals, then I need to practice patience and understand that good things take time. When people say “Good things happen to those who wait,” they’re not lying.
Curiosity. Life is better when you ask questions and explore. I have spent my entire life playing it safe. Being more curious about the world around me is a surefire way to learn something new and grow as a person. Curiosity provides a necessary spark for creativity. I mean, yes curiosity killed the cat, but the cat had nine lives anyway.
Kindness. I just happen to think that a little kindness never hurt anybody. Everyone is on their own journey with its own challenges. Treating one with kindness is a good way of generating positive energy. Also, when you are kind to others they are likely to return the favor.
This may not seem like much, but I think that looking back on the events of 2016 that weren’t so great, there was a lot of kindness, discipline, patience, and curiosity that was lacking. If I put a special focus on these things, I can see positive changes in 2017. And any positive change, no matter how small, will be a welcome one.
So, yes, 2016 absolutely sucked, but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t still celebrate it. A wise man once said “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” and if we survived the year then we can surely hope for something better in 2017.