It seems that “Top 20″ lists are a fad all by themselves these days. The Top 20 Trips to Take in Your Twenties, The Top 20 Foods you Have to Try in New York, 20 Habits to Change this Month, The Top 20 Things Every 20 Something Should Know, the list goes on and on. I stumbled upon this one while scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed and was blown away by how simple and profound the words in it are. Take a moment, it won’t take more than 3 minutes to read, but “20 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year” by Shannon Kaiser will give you some of life’s greatest secrets in 20 short bullet points.
Here are my top three favorite bullets from this article and explanations as to why I believe they are some of the most important things we should all be focusing on starting today and in the coming year.
5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.
The majority of things we worry about will never come to fruition. In fact, studies have been conducted analyzing the impact worrying has on our life and it is tremendous how much negative can come from simply focusing on things we don’t want to happen. This is why I love Sean Stephenson’s quote, “I don’t believe you should ever believe a prediction that doesn’t make you feel better.” No one knows the future, so why not believe that the best will come of any and every situation? Give it a shot and you will start to find that the more you believe good things will happen, the more they will.
13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.
It is very easy to say, “I would be happy if….” I was in another place, I had a different job, I had more free time. One of the greatest challenges in life is learning to be happy in the present moment and appreciative for the adventure that has brought you to this point. After you have truly learned to express gratitude for all the blessings in your life, then it is important to apply Vishen Lakhiani’s definition of flow (or the secret to happiness), “The key to being in flow is to be happy in the now, but have grand beautiful visions of the future.” Mastering this skill will be one of the most valuable assets in your life.
18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.
When we are frustrated, tired, angry, or upset for one reason or the other, what is the first thing we tend to do? Look at the people around us and how they need to change. “She needs to be more patient, he needs to communicate better, they need to stop judging people…” I have done this more times than I can count, along with these thoughts comes nothing but negativity and stress. We like to say things like, “If (insert name here) changed, then I would (Be happy, enjoy work, not be so stressed all the time).” You wanna know the secret in all of this? No one can make you feel anything. It is hard to accept because once you do the responsibility is entirely on your shoulders. What it all comes down to is, the more we focus on developing and growing ourselves, the more happiness we will find in everything we do. We also will be able to spread more joy to the people around us.
If you base your happiness on others changing, you will have to wait until they make that change (if they ever do) before you can be happy. Don’t make the mistake of putting your happiness in someone else’s hands. It is yours to have and own if you choose to realize that your life is in your hands and finding happiness in every day is up to you.
We are close to the new year guys, I know some people roll their eyes at New Years resolutions and people who say, “This is going to be the year I make that change.” You can make any day the day that you start something new, the first day towards becoming the person you want to be. Don’t limit yourself, dream big, and focus on improving, forgiving, and growing yourself in 2014.
Every new day, new month, new year, new minute is an opportunity to embrace the passion and excitement burning in your heart. Make that day today!
Mom, as you continue conquering Pancreatic cancer, you inspire us daily. I know these past few months have been some of (if not) the most difficult time in your life but you have handled it with grace, poise, and incredible faith. We all love you and know you will be through this soon.