By Tracey Dowdy
Are you ready to put 2018 to bed or are you dreading all the unfinished business turning the calendar means? However, the year treated you, there are ways to wrap up 2018 on a positive note and allow you to look forward to 2019 with hope and fresh determination.
Start by reflecting on the past twelve months, even if the “minuses” outnumber the “plusses,” you did have some successes and victories. Write down the things that made you happy – goals achieved, time spent with loved ones, or even a promotion at work – and reflect on how each made you feel. Research has found that a positive outlook not only boosts mental health, but it has an impact on your body as well.
Now that you’ve got a list of tangible goodness, make sure that going forward you celebrate those positive milestones with those you love. This will reinforce the positive memory and ensure that it carries affirming emotional energy when you look back on the event.
While you’re at it, take the time to acknowledge those who have supported and walked beside you over the past year. It doesn’t need to be a flowery, Byron-esque poem, but a simple Christmas card or text message saying you are grateful for their friendship will lift your spirits and brighten their day. Who doesn’t want to hear they’ve been an encouragement in the midst of the holiday madness?
Sit down and take stock of your to-do list. What absolutely has to be done by 12/31/18 and what can wait. Prioritizing your calendar will allow you to take a breath – mentally and physically. Sorting the urgent from the important and the irritating is an immediate mood-booster.
Adopt the One Minute Rule. Sometimes, when we look at our to-do list, it’s all we can do not to throw the list in a fire and go back to bed. But, adopting the one-minute rule breaks all those somehow, sometimes, little chores like putting away a basket of laundry or putting the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher manageable. A minute is such a tiny increment of time, but you can accomplish more in that minute than you think. Plus, when the task is complete, you have an immediate sense of satisfaction as well as having reduced some clutter. That’s what I call a win.
Years ago, someone told me each of us has A-listers and B-listers in our circle. A-listers are those who are invested in a mutually beneficial relationship – they’re there to support you, encourage you, and pick you up when you fall. B-listers are only interested in what you can do for them. Going into the new year, be mindful of the relationships that empower and encourage you, and those that drain you. I’m not suggesting you cut people out of your life, but don’t spend unnecessary time or emotional energy on those who aren’t deserving. Set healthy emotional boundaries and live within them.
So no matter how 2018 treated you, you have the power to end it well. Here’s to 2019 being your best year yet!
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.