5 Areas to Focus on in 2020

Happy New Year to all!

Another year and another decade are now behind us. This is around the time where, between nursing hangovers, we reminisce about the past. So much has happened! Ups, downs, and everything in between.

This is also the time where many people take a moment to map out their immediate and long term futures. People seem to have mixed feelings about New Year Resolutions. Some scoff at the idea, others look forward to sitting down and writing out their goals and ambitions. Regardless of where you might stand, I think we can all agree that having some semblance of a plan is better than having none at all.

In the latest episode of the Stuff Explained podcast, I cover a 12 step activity for getting the most out of your resolution planning. I also discuss the “Big Idea” of renewal and how we are capable of turning the page any moment we want, not just for the New Year.

I like to practice what I preach, so I took the time last night on New Year’s Eve as well as this afternoon to go through the process myself.

I thought it would be interesting to categorize all the hopes, dreams, ambitions, and goals I had for the New Year. What I discovered was that there were 5 common themes throughout my list. Upon further reflection, I’ve come to the belief that the desire to improve these 5 areas is likely universal.

(1) Creativity

Being creative is not an exclusive trait of artists. We are all creative beings in our own way. Creativity is a form of expressing our innermost thoughts and emotions into something external and shareable. The most obvious examples would be songs, paintings, films, and so on. But how you decorate your home, cook your food, or dress yourself are all forms of creativity.

The ultimate creation is the life we make for ourselves. You may have heard this concept before, but we are all creators. Take some time to figure out how you can find more avenues for expressing yourself and creating a life you enjoy.

(2) Connection

Humans are meant to be social animals. Yes, even us introverts require some degree of socialization. Studies have even shown that have strong relationships with friends and family can actually help increase our life spans.

Unfortunately, many people living in a “modern” society feel lonely and experience the health consequences, both mental and physical as a result. Even with all the benefits of social media, we lack deep meaningful connections.

This year, let’s make effort to really open ourselves up to connecting with more people. I am very much looking forward to creating my own “soul tribe”, or group of individuals who are ready for supportive and intimate (not physically so) relationships.

(3) Growth

Life is really just an endless opportunity for learning and growing. There is no such thing as perfection, nor should we try to achieve it. But there is always room for growth and bettering ourselves and our environment.

Self-improvement, I believe, is the cornerstone to living a joyful and fulfilling life. By lovingly searching for ways to improve, we remove the threat of becoming stagnant in an ever changing world. It could be as simple as learning a new recipe, to getting a hold of personal finances, to starting a journey of self and spiritual discovery.

I am looking forward to recommitting myself to my personal and professional growth, and hope you do so as well in any area you desire.

(4) Health

With health, everything is possible. Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, we only have this one body in this lifetime. It is now easier than ever to educate ourselves how we can live healthily and follow through.

This area covers mental, physical, and spiritual help.

Diet is obviously super important (note I said diet and not dieting). For more on a mindful approach to eating, check out this article. Stretching, cardio, and strength exercises are vital as well. I’ve found that yoga is a great combination of mental and physical exercise. Meditation and therapy are great ways to keep your mind and emotions healthy.

Health tends to be the most common theme in New Year Resolutions. So many of us end up falling short of our goals or quitting outright. Let’s be gentle with our progress. Not saying we should coddle ourselves, but discipline does not have to be painfully strict.

(5) Purpose

This is a big one for me and many people out there. The life we were taught to create oftentimes feels more like a hamster wheel and lacks vitality. There has to be more out there.

Finding or discovering our purpose sounds wonderful, but can actually be super stressful. I’ve settled on an approach which consists of me simply trying new activities and exploring new experiences that strike my fancy. I know that by doing this and keeping my mind and heart open, I’ll eventually stumble across a combination of personal skills and outside need that will give birth to my purpose.

It is important that we come to discover our purpose as opposed to a purpose. If we make our lives revolve around an idea or activity that isn’t genuine, we are setting ourselves up for a life of discontent

So there you have it. As you can see, these 5 areas are all interconnected. For example, focusing on improving your health can help support you better pursue other areas like growth and creativity. Likewise, finding a community of like-minded people can help you with your health, creativity, growth, and even purpose.

Resolutions, and self-improvement in general, can feel daunting, This is especially true if we have limiting beliefs and lack self worth and love.

Know that you can do it. As Marie Forleo says, “Everything is Figureoutable”.

I believe in myself and I definitely believe in you.

Let’s do the work and make 2020 our best year yet.

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