Have you ever noticed how the new year springs from the holidays and then suddenly it’s February? So often I wake up one morning in late January and realize the new year with all its promise of new beginnings is already gaining steam for better or worse.
If you made New Year’s resolutions, how are they going for you? I’ve talked before about ‘inspiration whiplash’ where we get all pumped up to pursue a new goal and then for whatever reason find that a month or two has passed without clear progress towards our goals.
One common goal often attached to the promise of a new year relates to living in one’s purpose – whatever that happens to be! I’ve given that a lot of thought and came across this quote on my Good Earth tea bag! What’s not to like – a great cup of tea and life lessons on a little square of paper – but this one really hit home. I paired the quote with a photo of me and Sapphire, my horse, on a stunning Montana trail; it’s where I do my best pondering.
In this case I think back to all the times I would ask myself, “What is my purpose, who am I supposed to be, what path should I take?”
And it wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I finally realized that for me it wasn’t something preordained – something I had to strive to find. It was whatever path I choose.
For better or worse I realized I was systematically creating myself through daily thoughts and actions related to each dimension of wellness: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, vocational, and spiritual.
Some were conscious choices and some were driven more by habit and what I like to call lifestyle inertia – that comfortable rhythm of life we often get into without really examining whether it’s taking us where we want to go – or not!
So, an interesting question to ponder is, what self are you creating with ongoing deposits and withdrawals in each dimension of wellness? For example, if you think about a simple two-sided scale, what self are you creating physically, socially, and emotionally through your habits compounded over time? What self are you nurturing intellectually, spiritually, and vocationally?
It’s a pretty simple equation. Deposits are positive efforts, i.e., increasing physical activity, nurturing healthy relationships, meditating/managing stress, expanding your mind, nurturing a connection to something greater than self, and expanding and sharing your skills and abilities.
Withdrawals are the opposite. Things that take you further from your desired sense of wellbeing, i.e. settling into a sedentary lifestyle, closing yourself off to healthy relationships, spending hours per evening binge watching shows – more out of habit than anything else! You get the idea!
Is your life simply unfolding in an unconscious way as you habitually go about your daily routine and meet unexpected challenges? Are you consciously waiting for a point in time or a certain milestone or goal to truly live the life you want to live? If so, do you really have to wait? Is there something you could start doing today to begin creating and nurturing the self you want to build?
Another quote I love is from a young lady called Nightbirde who performed on America’s Got Talent. When asked about her terminal cancer diagnosis and why she was there she said, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”
Don’t wait until life is perfect, your choices are all inspired, your behaviors match your intentions, you’ve met all your goals, you’re “good enough,” etc. to decide to be happy.
Do your best to live with intention, making more deposits than withdrawals most of the time, and embrace the many moments of joy available along the way. Consciously and habitually choose happiness as you go about creating your life.
Visit Brilliant Aging for more information about how to start making regular deposits into your personal vitality and happiness.
What one thing could you choose today that would bring a smile to your face? Is there a memory you can vividly bring to mind that fills your heart with joy?