Make 2017 the Year of Resilience and Courage

2017 is here. Last year’s whirlwind of political drama, celebrity deaths, and scandals is over. Though the world is going to be undergoing some new changes in terms of leadership and policy, all of us have the opportunity to reshape our own lives on a smaller level. We can’t control Donald Trump, Brexit, or any other of the world problems, struggles, or social issues, but we can control how we rise up to meet the challenge of this year. Are we going to be negative about life and challenges or meet them with positivity and courage? Are we going to push ourselves to dream, achieve, and succeed? Are we going to take chances on new people, places, and experiences? It’s up to you and me alone to decide. Below I have listed different tips for starting the year off right in terms of happiness, health, and relationships. The overall theme for me this year is courage and resilience, so those themes will pop up throughout each list.

Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties” while Courage can be defined as “the quality of mind of a person to face difficulty, danger, and fear with bravery.”

2017 in Health

It’s easy to make plenty of resolutions about eating better and working out without actually going through with them. As an athlete who is experienced in season and off season training, I’ve found that the hardest part about working out is just starting. The first practice or trip to the gym is going to hurt. But you keep going. By the third or fourth time, you’re a pro. You get better each time you finish a workout.

As for eating healthy or starting a fitness routine, don’t back up your reasons for doing so with negativity. If you tell yourself, I’m so fat I need to go on a diet or work out every day, or I’m so ugly I need to look better, you are likely going to fail. You are going to fail because your reasons for self-improvement are rooted in fixing some kind of imperfection you see within yourself. Tearing yourself down as motivation for building yourself up never works completely. Instead, set reasonable goals and set out to meet or surpass them. It’s about being healthy, not perfect. 

Try This:

  • Set a daily workout plan–Decide what you need in terms of strength and cardio and the time you have to work out in those areas. Working out benefits both the body and the mind, and it’s extremely important to exercise most days. Grab a friend and design your own work out plan, or use resources at your local gym or the internet as a starting point.
  • Get outside–Fresh air is always good for you. If you can’t do a structured workout, take a walk or run. You could even go to a park or take a hike.
  • Identify what you need/don’t need in your diet. If you have trouble with sweets or sodas, limit yourself to one treat a day. If you decide you need more calcium, drink a glass of milk a day. More vegetables and fruits needed? Plan meals with them in it. It’s all about being proactive and making a plan for your needs.
  • Do yoga. One of the best ways to become healthier is to stretch and do yoga. It has endless benefits for your mind and body. Even if you can’t do yoga every day, try stretching and deep breathing when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed.
  • Whatever you start, finish. This is my motto at the gym. If I start a rep of push ups, I will finish them no matter what. It doesn’t matter how much it hurts, I will finish the rep or the mile, and then I can decide to do something else. Finishing what you start is a huge sign of resilience. Breaking down mental barriers one by one is how you gain confidence and strength.

2017 in Happiness 

Happiness is not something that randomly happens to you one day. You have to make a life for yourself that feels good before it looks good. For me, this means following my gut in all of my decisions and working to spend my time in activities and interests that are fulfilling. Happiness is a positive attitude and the courage to keep trying to better yourself.

Try This:

  • Take a break from social media. One thing that has sometimes zapped positivity in my life is checking social media. By locking our eyes on everyone else’s highlight reels and perfect photos, it opens the door for ugly comparisons and insecure thoughts. Plus, living offline is living in the moment and enjoying the people and places you’re experiencing without having to document them.
  • Have courage to try new things. Don’t do the same thing every day. Try new foods. Discover new music. Read a new book. Meet new people. Travel. Do it all–it will expand your horizons and teach you to get out of your comfort zone.
  • Reaffirm who you are. If you’re feeling lost about who you are, grab a piece of paper and write down your best traits and things you’d like to work on. Then on the other side of the paper, write down the person you’d like to be, including commentary on how you’d like to think, act, and feel about yourself. Remember the amazing qualities that make you you. Then, work on expanding those parts of yourself and brightening up any areas that are negative.
  • Write down 3 things you’re grateful for everyday. If you can take the time to find three good things about the day, you can never call it a “bad day.” Finding the good and bright each day will make you feel happier to be alive and realize how truly amazing life is.
  • Don’t be afraid of change. Things are not going to stay the same, no matter how hard you try to keep them that way. Instead, embrace uncertainty. Follow your gut and make the hard decisions with trust that you’ll be okay no matter what path in life you make. Whether you’re deciding to quit a sport, break off a relationship, or change your career, know that life can throw so many beautiful things and people in your path that you would have never known if you had never made a change in the first place.
  • Get help when you need it. No matter what you’re facing, there’s no shame in asking for help. Call a friend, talk to a family member, or even see a counselor. In this age, there are so many resources available in all areas. It would be silly to ignore them and try to face hard things alone. It takes strength to ask for help, not weakness.

2017 in Relationships

Whether it’s family, friendship, or love, the people you surround yourself with are going to affect you. Find people who celebrate the good times with you and support you in the hard times. Spend time with people who make you feel happier and more enthusiastic about life. Don’t give your time or power to people who don’t make you laugh or smile while you’re in their presence.

Try This:

  • Make family a priority. Make an effort to talk to your parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Family is a support system of people life has given you by chance. Now, it’s your turn to choose them. However, family isn’t just by blood. You can also choose friends and other special people to become like family to you.
  • Don’t rely on someone else to make you whole. A significant other or even a friend should not be your “other half.” Love is not seeking another person to fix you or make you “complete” again. Love is being whole in yourself and then finding another whole person who you can be happy with.
  • Let new people into your life. Even if old friends seem like the safest option, take the time to strike up a conversation with someone new. Closing yourself off to new people is the surest way to feel miserable and bored with your life. There are seven billion people on this planet, and meeting a new one on a given day is a wonderful thing.
  • What others think of you is none of your business. Instead of focusing on or worrying about what others think of you, decide that your own opinion of yourself is more valuable. Loving yourself doesn’t start from outside validation. The more authentic you are, the easier it is to ignore society’s opinion of you.

To conclude, 2017 can be amazing if you take the time to bring courage, resilience, positivity and more into the different areas of your life. Set new goals for yourself and finish them. Take whatever life throws at you and make it beautiful. How 2017 and life in general go is completely up to you.

MC

Mary Claire is a 17 year old student and writer who loves politics, campfire smores, traveling, classic movies, and new music.

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