Last year at this time, I declared to my husband that this would be The Year of Me. He responded with an unsure and nervous “Ok.” Instead of declaring a list of goals for the year, I decided on a more general goal for the year: To surround myself with things that would make me happier. I would pay attention to how things make me feel, and I would act accordingly.
And I can honestly report that this was the happiest year of my life. That doesn’t mean it was easy or that only good things happened. There were many challenges this past year. But challenges don’t make us unhappy…on the contrary, challenges can bring happiness provided that we rise up to meet them. It’s the struggle—as we look back—that is the best part.
So, what did I do to make this The Year of Me?
First, I decided to do only the chair projects that I wanted to do. This meant that my whole heart was in them. It’s rare that I have a client that is difficult, but I’ve had a few, and I wanted to omit that from my life. Nothing is worth the money if it makes you unhappy to do it. (Listen to this fellow upholsterers…you don’t need the money that bad. Let those opportunities pass you by. It will work out financially, I promise.) As a result, I had the most amazing clients this past year. Their patience, their kindness, and their willingness to take risks with me was so satisfying as a creative.
Second, I decided that I would consciously surround myself with positivity. I listened to podcasts (while I worked) that informed and encouraged me to live better. This included Happier with Gretchen Rubin and How I Built This with Guy Raz. I read books that encouraged personal growth. Some of my favorites were Designing Your Life by Burnett & Evans, The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, and Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins.
Third, I recognized that there’s a time and place to interact with news. There were many tragedies this past year, and the news likes to cover every inch of it. I don’t need to watch “every inch” in order to be informed. I don’t have trouble watching documentaries, especially sad ones, if it can spur me to act for the better of society and to make a difference where I can. That’s empowerment!
I paid attention to how I felt as I engaged on social media, and I turned it off when it did not make me happy. Enough said about that.
Finally, I sought out friends and relationships with people who I admired. I made time here and there for coffee, lunch meet ups, and drinks with people who made me a better person. It was encouraging to be with other like-minded individuals. I need more of that in my life. I’m an example to my own girls, and I’ve got to do it right…their happiness depends on it. I sought out mentors who graciously took the time to talk to me and help me where they could.
The result of these intentions paid off in a big way. Making it The Year of Me did not mean I left my family behind. On the contrary, my happiness resulted in a happier home for all of them. The Year of Me did not mean I neglected my work—I worked much more this year, and my gratitude for the work was through the roof. Because I was paying attention to how things made me feel, I noticed and rejoiced when I saw others experiencing happiness.
So, I guess it’s no surprise that my goals for 2018 are going to be the same with one addition. There’s always room for more improvement, right? I’m going to make a conscious effort to laugh every day. So here’s to 2018! What are your intentions for this coming year? I would love to hear about them in the comments section.