I hope this letter finds you excited to start a new year. As we welcome 2019, please allow me to offer a few words of encouragement:
H – Have faith in yourself. If you can dream it, you can do it. No matter how many times you’ve started over, yet stopped short of achieving your goals, you can still make your dreams come true. Will 2019 be your year? I hope so!
A – Allow yourself to make mistakes. Mistakes mean you’re venturing into the unknown, and that’s a great thing. Sometimes we can learn just as much by doing something wrong as we can by getting it right, perhaps even more. Be more afraid of stagnating than you are of making mistakes. Mistakes are the fertilizer of personal growth. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not growing. Get growing in 2019!
P – Prioritize. Put first things first. As the saying goes, “Things that matter most should not be at the mercy of the things that matter least.” Are you constantly putting out fires, saying “yes” when you should be saying “no”, feeling forever frazzled? If so, admit now what things have been cluttering your life and contaminating your spirit. You don’t need to think very hard about this; things came to your mind as soon as you read the previous sentence. Follow your intuition, and begin cleaning up your schedule by letting go. I know this can be very difficult, especially when it involves letting go of long-standing activities and commitments. However, to live your best life, you must honor yourself and let go of the things that don’t fit into your life anymore. Those who truly love and appreciate you will understand, and those who don’t, well, it’s time you find out who truly loves and supports you for who you are, not what you can do for them. Your life is made up of a precious commodity called time. Stop letting it slip away. Get your priorities straight, and you will find greater peace and happiness in 2019.
P – Pay attention. What things, people, or activities bring you the most joy? What things in your life put a damper on your spirit and drain your energy? When you start paying attention, you will be able to better prioritize your life. When you’re doing what you truly love with the people you most enjoy being with, your life will simply flow, and you will have boundless energy. Pay attention, and choose activities and company in 2019 that will energize and invigorate you.
Y – YOU ARE IMPORTANT! If you’ve been continuously putting your needs on hold, STOP IT! You should be on your “to do” list every day. You cannot help others if your tank is empty. Take the time you need to get adequate exercise, rest, and nutrition. It’s not selfish to take time to take care of yourself. In fact, it’s selfish not to take care of yourself. If you are one of those people running around doing, doing, doing for others and not taking care of your own health, guess what’s liable to happen one day? Those people you care so much about, the ones you’re doing so much for to make their life easier – those are the people who are going to be caring for you, perhaps through a long-term disability/illness until death, because you neglected your own health while trying to do for everyone but yourself. Make the changes you need to make to take better care of yourself now and into the future. You are important, so every day in 2019, act like it!
N – New experiences are good. Obviously, there are many activities we must keep in our lives and do them virtually the same year after year. However, we should be open to doing old things in a new way and making room for new experiences in our lives to keep things interesting and to keep growing. I’m open to new ideas. Send me some feedback of new things you’ve tried and can recommend to me for 2019.
E – Eat a diet that supports optimum health. Cut out the processed foods and sodas. Eat real, whole food. Junk food robs us of our health. All it takes is deciding to change and knowing we can. What will you decide to eat/not eat to have greater health in 2019? Send me an e-mail telling me what you’re going to do, and I’ll tell you what I’m doing, and we can hold each other accountable. Deal? I look forward to hearing from you in 2019.
W – Work at something you love. We all spend much of our time making money to pay the bills, so make sure you love what you do and the people there with you. If you don’t love where you are, those around you, or what you’re doing, 2019 is the time to make a change. Do what you need to do, no matter how big or small the changes you’ll have to make. “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” Bruce Lee Don’t waste one more day not loving your life.
Y – You, yes, you are important. I said it before and I’ll say it again. You are important. You have divine gifts and attributes that were meant to bless this world. The world is a better place because you are here. You make a difference in so many lives, many times without even knowing it, just by being you. Remember that! “How cool is it that the same God that created mountains and oceans and galaxies, looked at you and thought that the world needed one of you too?” 2019 needs what you and only you have to offer – are you gonna show up?
E – Expect great things in 2019! This goes back to the very first paragraph of this letter about having faith in yourself. Set a goal for yourself, get to work making it happen, and expect great results! Spend a little time each day envisioning what you want to achieve. Feel it and know it. Then do something each day that will bring you closer to your vision. Stay focused on your goal, and as you work hard, the obstacles will give way. Watch and see.
A – Allow others to grow this year too. We spend too much time pick, pick, pick, pick, picking at the faults and inadequacies of others. Let’s spend 2019 highlighting everything good we see in those around us, especially those we love. We all know where we need to do better; we don’t need those who profess to love us pointing out our shortcomings all the time. Let’s allow others to grow as we would want them to do for us. Let’s take the advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson this year, “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” Let’s grow together in 2019.
R – Read, read, read! One of my favorite poems is about reading. Emily Dickinson wrote, “There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away; Nor any coursers like a page of prancing poetry; This traverse may the poorest take, without oppress of toll; How frugal is the chariot that bears the human soul.” Oh, the places we can go, the people we can meet, and the things we can learn between the covers of a book! We need not go everywhere nor experience everything ourselves, but we can feel as if we did. Books can add knowledge and joy and subtract ignorance and stress from our lives. They’re an escape and an education any and all can afford. All you need is a library card. Let literature enrich your life in 2019! When you read a great book, please shoot me an e-mail and share it with me.
Thanks to all of you who have continued to read my e-mails each week.2018 has been a great year, but I’m not sad to see it go. I intend to hit the ground running and accomplish more than I ever have before in 2019. I have books to read, papers to write, ships to sail, work to do, and people to love. There’s good and bad in store for all of us in the coming year, but if we’re doing those things that ground us and keep us in touch with our truest self, we can meet any challenge with strength and courage and bounce back from any hardship. Let’s do this! Happy New Year!