by Renee Franklin
We again set the course as we traverse the path toward our ultimate self— the best versions of us, the kindest, healthiest, most productive us we can possibly be. After all, isn’t that what the new year is about? But, what if your best self isn’t any of these things? What if, instead, it’s the HAPPIEST you? As you align your purpose and set your goals, bear in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the odyssey to self-fulfillment is a lifelong one. Here are several tools to pack in your luggage as you embark on the next 12 months of your journey.
As you walk the exciting road of self-improvement, you will inevitably stumble, whether it be over a new challenge or an old habit— and that’s OK! The only way to pick yourself back up and keep going is with good old-fashioned self-forgiveness. Examining what is behind past errors, current tumbles and recurrent mistakes starts with forgiveness. Bestow the same absolution on yourself as you would a good friend.
“You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company.” — Diane Von Furstenberg
Allowing yourself to fulfill your latent desires is essential to living a full life and finding lasting joy. No matter how strong your desire, it takes courage to do something you have never done before. Make a short list of things you have always wanted to do, but that time or self-doubt haven’t allowed. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn how to play the piano, develop photographs, make pasta from scratch, waltz or take a foreign language course—whatever it is, find your inner bravery and take the leap to start exploring your unrealized passions!
Growing pains are inherent with growth, and it takes perseverance to remain steadfast as you confront the tendencies that are hindering your ability to live your best life. Perhaps you’re quick to anger, lean toward self-doubt or struggle with procrastination; shedding these behaviors requires one to commit to modifying them as they surface. This isn’t a one-and-done game — old habits die hard and take diligence to break and replace with healthy ones.
Openness is one of the most valuable tools to arm yourself with as you embark on your journey to become the person you want to be. Open your mind and heart to unfamiliar places and fresh perspectives, and new opportunities, friendships and paths will follow.
Renee Franklin is a writer and sumo wrestling enthusiast from Grand Rapids. When she isn’t living it up and enjoying everything the city has to offer, she can be found traveling the world in search of the perfect bánh mì.