Well hello, 2020. The new decade is upon us, ladies, and my goal is to not let this monumental occasion slip by unnoticed.
Well hello, 2020. The new decade is upon us, ladies, and my goal is to not let this monumental occasion slip by unnoticed. Whether or not it is in your practice to mark the New Year with resolutions or specific goals, my challenge to you, as you read on, is this: keep your mind open. Keep your heart open. Don’t be afraid to push yourself even just a little bit further in this new year. Let’s collectively commit to taking even just one of these things on. Let’s do whatever we can to help us become the best version of ourselves in 2020 and beyond.
Healthy Women Leaders unite!
- I will know myself. Although there are no easy answers when it comes to really taking control of your life, there is one starting point that is not to be ignored. Self Awareness. Taking the time to journey within, to doing the deep work - this is how to set yourself up to best handle everything else that will, inevitably, come your way.
- I will make time for self-care. We women have a tendency to self-sacrifice for the people around us. Repeat after me: Martyring yourself serves no one. Figure out how to best care for yourself and choose YOU FIRST at least some of the time. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
- I will set healthy boundaries. People-pleasing is no longer in fashion, ladies. While there are responsibilities that cannot be ignored, you likely have more power than you think you do when it comes to how - and what - you agree to do, especially in your (precious) free time. Honor what YOU want, and don’t ignore the beauty in the “NO”.
- I will be mindful of the information I take in. If left unchecked, we will consume media and marketing messages all day, every day. The phone alone provides our brains with almost constant information. Then there’s the radio, TV, billboards, gossip... Keep in mind that almost all of this is fear-based, sales-minded consumption messages. It’s impossible to think for yourself when you are TOLD what you should be thinking so much of the time. It’s time we turn the volume down, in all regards, and start to control what we let in. Get silent and expect a quieter peace to arise.
- I will not compare myself to other women. In today’s world of always-on social media, it’s very easy (especially when you are feeling low) to tumble down a rabbit hole of comparison with all of the “perfect” lives of other women online. Reality check - their lives are NOT perfect. Your situation is yours alone. The only person you are striving to be better than is the woman you were yesterday. Stay in your lane, focus your energy on yourself, and let the noise around you be just that.
- I will be grateful for what I have. Do you ever catch yourself chasing happiness in something new? Thinking “if I got this” or “when that happens” is nice for dreaming, but check yourself before it becomes an indication of something that will MAKE you happy. Look around and take stock of where you are now. The reality you live now is likely based on the dreams of your not-so-distant past self - be thankful for that.
- I will remember that life is happening FOR me (not TO me). We all know that life is tough - full of ups and downs, plot twists and sudden turns. Without keeping sight of the overall, higher-level pathway that you are on, you could feel lost or out of control. Look deeper to see that the past events in your world have each lead you where you are now. Take the lessons you’ve learned, forgive yourself and others for past grievances, and keep your eyes to the horizon. Great things are coming!
- I will not not make myself small. Women have an amazing ability to shrink themselves. This happens physically with not holding eye contact. This happens in conversation and writing through regular apologizing, qualifying what we say with “I don’t know if this is right, but…” or over-using the words “just” or “actually”. Although this is likely societally-taught early on in life, it is certainly not something that needs to carry on into adulthood. Containing your opinions or your vibrancy (even if you don’t realize you are doing it) sets the stage for resentment and outbursts. Observe yourself today and see if this sounds like you. Let me remind you, powerful woman, you are here to share your unique talents and passion with the world - you are NOT here to blend in.
- I will believe in myself. One of the key truths for any Healthy Woman Leader is to have a hefty helping of trust. Not just in the universe or that “things will all work out OK” but specifically in yourself. You can still get scared or upset, but you remain solid in the fact that you, wonder woman, can make whatever you set your mind to happen. There is nothing you can’t learn, there is nothing you can’t do. You power through uncertainty with confidence that you have been unsure before and still gotten to where you are now. You are the key to your success.
- I will make time to play. I’m betting if you are reading this you don’t have much trouble with your work ethic. Most of the HWLs that I’ve spoken to are making amazing things happen, driving their careers forward at an impressive pace. But if that’s all you do, then good news - it’s time to make some room for play in your life. Working yourself to the point of burn out is so last decade. It’s not sustainable and quite honestly, it’s not a good look on you, sister. In 2020 and beyond, it’s time to balance that great work you do with a big dose of fun. What is it that you enjoy the most? What makes you laugh? What makes you feel free? Find that and commit including to regularly-scheduled fun into your life.
- I will prioritize rest + relaxation. Taking time for some real-deal, high-quality R+R might be one of the things that women struggle with the most. When life has you in its “go-go-go” grip, the thought (or even worse - the practice) of carving out time to rest is almost unimaginable. In today’s world we are able to work almost non-stop, we forfeit our earned vacation time, and we wear the word “busy” as a badge of honor. Or if you have young kids, this might be something that you are trying to do but in reality, it is interrupted with an astonishing regularity. Either way, prioritization of rest in your life could be a game changer. Burnout is bongus. Taking time to recharge is a critical, healthy, non-negotiable part of being a whole person.
- I will practice forgiveness. Holding on to anger or resentment is a surefire way to give yourself small doses of poison on a regular basis. Forgiveness is not an overnight change, but remember that you do have a choice in how you feel. Don’t just push the negative feelings away. Work through them and find the silver lining in the lesson you learned through that hurt. Don’t forget what happened but work to truly forgive with your heart. Perhaps the most important thing in the forgiveness lesson is also learning to forgive yourself. It’s a whole lot easier to forgive others when you embrace how collectively flawed we human beings really are - starting with yourself. Forgiveness is the key to moving forward into the new decade with a clear heart.
- I will not sacrifice myself. Q: Who does the self-sacrificing woman serve? A: No one. You might think that consistently giving up your needs in favor of everyone else’s is a good way to people-please, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Martyring yourself serves no one because over time, instead of being your true self, you end up showing the world a slightly forced, paler shade of who you really are. During this busy holiday season make sure your needs are met throughout the chaos, even if it's just taking an extra moment for yourself here or there. You, in all your authentic, shining awesomeness, fully present and whole - that is what your family and friends need the most.
- I will be present. Ladies - THIS is the moment! Right here, right now. This is where your power is. It’s not in reliving past situations, it’s not in worrying about what will or won’t happen in the future. It’s today, in this moment. As you sit in your home, with your family or friends or pets or with yourself. You are healthy, you have enough food to eat and all the clean water you can drink. Fresh air to breathe and the mental and physical capacity to do anything at all that you want. Look around, take stock, be grateful. As the late Ram Dass so beautifully wrote and taught: “Be here now.” (Ram Dass, 1931-2019)
- I will take care of my body. What a gift these beautiful bodies of ours are. They carry us through life, allowing us to do amazing things. They also take quite a beating when we eat the wrong stuff, don’t workout, drink too much, smoke, or use drugs. Then add in the plethora of chemicals and pollutants that we take in from the outside world… these bodies have to work really hard to keep up. Since we only get just this one, might be a good idea to keep it finely tuned and in good condition, eh? Reward yourself with natural, healthy, unprocessed food from the earth. Drink lots and lots of water. And exercise! Exercise is a cornerstone in keeping the body feeling and looking good. There are so many different ways to do this, you can definitely find whatever works best for you. So get up and move that beautiful body, sister! Don’t take one day for granted in these wonderful Earth suits.
- I will get outside more often. The way we live today makes it easy to stay inside and work (or otherwise distract ourselves) all the time. We could spend all of our time caught up on one task or another if we don’t intentionally strive towards a more balanced existence. And the wonderful thing is, there is the most perfectly beautiful, vastly diverse, and vibrantly alive planet right outside of our windows and doors. As we slip farther and farther away from the natural elements, it’s no shock that in recent years doctors and psychologists have begun to prescribe that people get outside as a form of therapy. Grounding, forest bathing, connecting yourself closer to nature however it best suits you has been shown to have significant benefits to both your physical and mental wellbeing. So go take a walk, hang at the beach, gaze at the stars, ski down a mountain, or just catch the sunrise with your morning coffee. Be grateful for the perfect beauty that surrounds you and let yourself feel a nature-induced joy. I don’t need to be a doctor to be qualified to tell you to go outside and enjoy your beautiful planet as it is today - while it lasts.
- I will check for excess in the things that I have/buy. Minimalism and Marie Kondo-style de-cluttering get a lot of hype these days. While you don’t need to go over-the-top and throw 90% of what you own away, we all should take stock of the state of our homes and begin to watch our spending habits. The things you have around and what you buy - do you really need them? Are you filling up your space because you actually require or love the thing? If not, why do you have it? Why are you getting it? There is so much societal pressure to buy, buy, buy. This costs you money, time, brain space and physical space in your home. When you begin to see this constant consumption habit for what it really is, you can start to break away from it. This will free up your time and money to go have deeper experiences and get involved in more beneficial and rewarding activities.
- I will be kind to my fellow humans. As you go through your day, look deeply at the faces of the people around you. These are your fellow humans, traversing the Earth at the same time as you. They are going through their own pain and joy, living and loving just as you are. Try to use your heart more than your head when considering these people. Care for them. Drop love bombs on them, silently or out loud, both to the ones you know and the ones you don’t know. Find a way to help them, even if it’s just to brighten their day with a simple compliment. Or go deeper, extend yourself as a mentor or friend. Serving other people is a huge part of self care - and it provides surprisingly selfish benefits through selfless actions. Connection is the golden ticket and kindness is how you get there. Make it a part of your daily practice.
- I will set goals and make plans, but remain open to whatever will come. January is the month that many people use for time to reflect and set goals for the coming year. Driving yourself towards something and being ambitious is great, but don’t get too stuck on how you’ll get there. Remain open in your heart and your mind, focus more intently on the feelings that will accompany the achievement (vs the actual outcome itself) and enjoy the journey.
- I will expect the awesome. Every day is a new day. No matter when you are reading this, you are standing on the doorstep that leads to something new. Feel it - revel in it. Allow yourself to be optimistic and embody the belief that good things are coming your way. Go deeper and expect good things. Look for them and then note/celebrate them when they arrive. The world is a reflection of what you are thinking/feeling on the inside. Get solid in your belief that awesome is always right around the corner. When that is true in your heart, it will also become true in your world.