Ways to Own 2017

I don’t know about y’all, but I had a rough 2016. It was full of ups and downs, and while I learned a lot about myself, it wasn’t all sunshine and butterflies. With that being said, I’m a big believer in the new opportunities that a new year can bring us, if we are open to accepting what comes, and taking opportunities when we can. I’ve pulled together a list of ways to help you own 2017 and make it a great year for you.

  1. Start and actually keep an exercise regimen. I’m terrible about this, I start working out, get into it, and then something throws me off track. This is actually really bad for more than just the obvious physical health reasons. Exercise has been proven to help relieve stress, anxiety, and help you to sleep better. It also helps to boost your immune system, and give you a healthy outlet. So yeah, I personally am joining a yoga class, as well as starting a dance class. And this time, I’m sticking with it. If you don’t want to start in on this alone, find a gym buddy. In college, I went to the gym every day because I had friends join me. It makes it more fun, and holds you accountable for actually going.
  2. Let go of the past. I can hold a grudge. Not my finest feature, but it’s a part of who I am. However, I’m trying to learn to let go of things, and letting go of being wronged is a great start. The people who caused the damage aren’t harboring it, so why should I let it continue to affect me? In some cases, it’s something silly like a fight between you and a good friend. Do you really want to hang on to that anger, or do you want to try to mend a fence? I personally have made it a personal goal to forgive those who have wronged me and move forward. We can’t change the past, but we certainly can change the future.
  3. Wake up earlier. Hear me out, ok? Studies have shown that it’s actually healthy to wake up early. You know what else is healthy? Taking that time that you’re awake when you’re usually asleep and having some quiet time. For me, quiet time is sitting on the couch with my cup of coffee, and my cat sitting next to me. I don’t have my phone, and I am not planning my day, I’m just sitting there thinking. I may be having a conversation with God, or going over the blessings in my life, or something else. Either way, it’s helping me handle my stress, and focus on the important things in my life.
  4. Drop the phone. Our attachment to our cell phones is getting downright ridiculous. If I can’t go to lunch with a group of people without having at least two on their phones at some point, we have an issue. Life is lived outside of your phone. You could be missing out on something great because you’re too busy reading and watching what someone else is doing. Not to mention, it’s not the most polite to be glued to your phone when someone is trying to spend time with you. Show them that they matter, and put your phone down. Facebook and Instagram will still be there in a few hours.
  5. Tackle the hard stuff. Each day, when you first wake up, make sure that you tackle the hardest part of your day immediately. It’s extremely tempting to procrastinate and put off that task you’re dreading, but it feels even better to knock it out and enjoy the rest of your day. Once that task is done, it can only get better from there.
  6. Be positive. When it seems like your whole world is going wrong, it can be hard to be positive. Find happiness in the little things. Be positive that life is going to change, and things are going to get better. You’ve survived every bad day so far, so keep it up. Remind yourself that life changes quickly, and storms can blow out just as quickly as they blew in.
  7. Spend time with family. They’re your base, your anchor in this crazy world, and they’re not around forever. Enjoy the time that you have with your family while you have it. We don’t know what life is going to throw at us next, but it’s something that could take us away from that home that we are so used to. So enjoy the time you have together. Visit your grandmother, make time for your little brother, have some family bonding time. Whatever it is, or whoever it’s with, it’ll be good for both of you.
  8. Drink lots of water. This is something I’ve struggled with and am working on. I never drink enough water, I’m not sure why, I just don’t think about it, and then a day passes and I’ve only had one bottle of water all day. Not the healthiest. Drinking water has been shown to help keep your skin young looking, keep you healthier, help your organs and system, etc. There are lots of benefits, so make it a priority.
  9. Pay it forward. Nothing makes you feel better than paying it forward. I’ve had a few situations where some kind stranger has helped me for absolutely no reason other than they wanted to pay it forward. I can tell you that one particular instance was after an extremely hard day last year, and it came at a time when I was overwhelmed with worry and sadness. That little something helped me immensely. I don’t know who it was, but I will always know what she did, and while she may not know what it meant to me, it gave me a ray of light when they were in short supply for me. You never know who you’re going to impact in a positive way.
  10. Save. Save up a little bit from each paycheck. Whether you’re already saving for a new car, that Aruba vacation, or a down payment on a house, save a little bit more. It’s nice to have something stocked away. It gives you added security, and an emergency fund if you need it. At the end of the year, you’ll have a nice little stockpile of cash for whatever you want. Treat yourself to a spa day, donate it to a charity that’s close to your heart. Whatever it is you want to do with it, you’ll have it, and you’ll feel that much better.

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