Twenty Seventeen. Despite the fact that we all experience things differently, we have the same feedback to give to every year, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, while still knowing that it was nothing like that the year before. I don’t doubt that your year has been totally bonkers, and I most certainly believe that there have been moments of sheer joy and days of total black. Yet here we are, in the last month of the year. What a ride it has been!
I realise that counting one’s own lifetime is far more productive than fidgeting over the 365 days. However, there’s a certain pleasure in doing so because every year somehow seems to mould us into an entirely different version of ourselves. I mean, let’s go back to the first day of this year and just imagine staring eye to eye with ourselves. It was hard but we endured, now let’s pat us on the back.
During one of my recent exchanges with my friends over a coffee (it was not a coffee), I suddenly went over a series of flashbacks when he said,
“Today is December 1st. The year is almost over. Time is flash, man. I don’t even remember how it went by.”
I somehow remembered most of the days of the year.
I could see myself coming to my room beat up to the core, then quietly snuggle in my bed and scribble in my so-called journal. Just like everyone else, I started this year with a resolution and contrary to popular belief that resolutions are often short-lived, I’m proud to say that I kept it. I had my own journal. There were days when I wrote regularly and there were days when I’d take a week’s off, but my recent self-exploration through my inked pages made me realise that I was on a streak for the past four months. It’s hard not to do it now. Why am I telling you this? You see, we are living in a digital era and gratification is in the palm of our hands. We are so much engrossed in double tapping what someone is eating a hundred kilometres away that we forget to realise the little pleasures of the blandness of life. How many of us wake up and feel grateful for the blanket in this bone-chilling winter, or just the simple fact that we didn’t die in our sleep? It’s scary but the benefits of gratitude will far surpass the benefits of scrolling down our feed the first thing in the morning.
I am but a regular college kid hopelessly trying to put together the bits in an effort to make sense of adulthood and I am not entitled to give you any life advice. Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Many might not agree with the concepts I offer and many might say they found something substantial in this post. Whatever might your opinion be, it is for you to decipher your own patterns and decipher you must. I believe we all have the power to steer our life in the direction we want, and here are some things you could do that could make 2018 your year.
Have a core value
Important principles may, and must. Be inflexible.
Core values are the fundamental beliefs of a person or an organisation. Life offers us many situations when we will have to decide something, and as often as they are easy, they can also be pretty trying to say the least. Having core values can easily help us deal with difficult situations as long as we stick to it. Imagine a situation where your roommate has stolen some cash. He runs over and tells it to you. The other day, the police arrive and start an inquiry. What would your reaction be? I know that this might seem like a difficult situation to tackle but if your core value was, say, honesty, you wouldn’t think twice before you told the cops the truth, irrespective of how the situation unfolds. Many of us have values but we don’t have core values. Our values are subjective to situations whereas situations are supposed to be handled through values. Throughout history, the men who have changed the world are people who had firmness in the belief of their principles such as Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and Mahatma Gandhi. Similar notions can be understood from the poem, “If” by Rudyard Kipling, where he passes down the principles of life to his son. Some of the best core values that you can implement in the year 2018 could be self-improvement, honesty, persistence, courage, self-respect, and patience. It will be beneficial to pick only one value until we are confident that it is instilled in us.
Keep a ritual of gratitude
“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”
I understand how hard it is to gather your head for awhile and just sit back to take the air in today’s fast-moving world. We rarely have time to be grateful for the air that we breathe or the roof above our head. We glorify expensive cell-phones, designer clothes and fidget spinners but take for granted of the things that actually matter. We need to reacquaint ourselves with nature and find appreciation in life. I didn’t know why someone needed a gratitude ritual until I realised its benefits this year. I know a lot of us do not take things for granted, and I for one believed that about myself. It’s about those days when you feel like you have all the problems in the world and everybody just wants to mess with your head. However, if you sit down to write three things you’re grateful for, you’ll realise that the majority of our problems are created by paying attention to things that don’t actually matter in the first place.
Learn to say, “No!”
“It is only by saying, “No” that you can concentrate on the things that actually matter.”
One of the major changes I am going to implement in the year 2018 would be to learn to say no. Human nature tends to be socially obliging and more often than not, we catch ourselves in a tough spot by letting out that easy, “yes.”Saying no to the things that do not align with our priorities can preserve our commitment towards the things that actually deserve our attention. It’s time we took the driver’s seat of our lives.
Keep a journal
“Never forget that writing is as close as we get to keeping a hold on the thousand and one things- childhood, certainties, cities, doubts, dreams, instants, phrases, parents, loves- that go on slipping, like sand, through our fingers.”
We are all pretty aware of the history’s most famous journals going back to hundreds of years with the earliest record of ancient Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius’ journal that still sells a million copies as “Meditations.” Journals have changed history as can be understood from The Diary of Anne Frank, Marie Curie’s radioactive diary, Albert Einstein’s travel diary to The United States, Charles Darwin’s journal that went to become the “Origin of Species”, and Mark Twain, who just loved pocket notebooks.
Journaling tends to have positive mental benefits as it harnesses the creative, emotional and practical perception of the human mind. We all have a huge incongruence with what we are and who we intend to be and I firmly believe that journaling will really be the keystone habit that is going to transform your life.
These are some the major lifestyle changes that I have researched to have an astounding impact on one’s life as it advances him/her towards the manifestation of goals and as a renewal strategy for every day, so as to deliver the best within our potential. If done correctly, I can guarantee that you will rewire your perceptions and stay more productive and have healthier relationships.
Wishing you a very fulfilling 2018 from the entire Redendron team. Keep growing.