It’s New Year’s Day and social media is poppin with positivity. Grand claims about what people are leaving behind in the previous year and declarations of success flood my news feed. It’s exciting!
Still, for a few weeks I don’t know weather to feel empowered or disillusioned because….
by April, people are tired.
People are complaining or their grand plans have gone left field.
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that we treat them like one dimensional magic equations. If I do this, and do that, then…BOOM, all my dreams will come true. Well, at least that’s what we all hope will happen.
On January 1st there’s this renewed sense of confidence because we feel like time is working in our favour…as if time is only friendly during holidays, birthdays and payday..…but I digress.
Yet, life almost never happens as we expect or in the exact way we imagined. We rarely count the costs, take into account the unexpected and then pivot accordingly. Sometimes, people encounter challenges throughout the year and choose to give up on dreams or hopes because they feel they can no longer achieve them in the EXACT way that they had hoped. Most of the time we only plan with the best case scenario in mind. We’re more attached to the mere idea of success rather than the messy, but rewarding process of achieving. We wish for a journey with direct and clear paths.
It’s easy to say, “I’ll run 5 days a week” when it’s spring or summer….but what about when winter hits, or when leg pains kick in?
Do we also visualise those not so glamorous days when we see ourselves grinding to achieve our goals?
When life hits us with a blow, challenge or disappointment we always have two choices.
We can live life on offence or defence.
Most of us chose defence. We’re reactionary, we put off what we want to do—make an excuse or wallow in despair. We’re living in survival mode, just trying to get to Friday.
Life is far from linear, yet we approach it as such and then get disappointed when we don’t get what we want or it doesn’t go our way.
We get a whole 365 days and most people live for the weekend.
We neglect the other days because they seem lack luster or pose challenges that are easier for us to neglect rather than face.
Heck, most of the time we don’t even know why we really want the things we resolve to do. Do this, check…do that, check. Maybe we just want to say that we’ve accomplished something for our own egos, flex and keep living?
We neglect the words of Rudyard Kipling in his poignant poem, “If.”
We dream and then make those dreams our master. We meet with triumph and disaster and fail to treat them the same.
New year’s resolutions and vision boards have become ritual, without true resolve for all it takes to achieve what we really want, no matter the season. We want success without struggle or feedback. We’re driven towards the mountaintop with a valley mentality.
Ya see, nothing in life is linear. Everything is dynamic. There are twists and turns. Peaks and troughs.
Still, what’s important is not the rules of life, but how you play the game.
Do we play the short game or the end game? Do we adjust along the way? Are we both hardworking and flexible? Do we teach and still remain teachable?
2017 was a year of a lot of firsts for me.
I completed my master’s degree and moved to Germany not knowing what to expect. Moving to Germany was definitely a twist and challenge. One of the greatest things I learned about myself was my own desire to figure things out on my own and how that can be both a strength and weakness.
All throughout life I’ve been pretty independent. I’m the oldest child of three so I get it honest.
Asking for help, feedback and being flexibile is not something that always comes easy for me. For example, instead of having my mom do my hair in elementary school I figured out how to do my own braids in the mornings lol. I’ve always had a linear plan to execute.
Still, moving to Germany was really humbling because I had to ask for help and depend on people in new ways that challenged my own views and understanding of flexibility. I had to adjust when things weren’t going my way and pivot as my plans evolved.
After moments of self doubt and even frustration I started to realize that who I am as a singer and person is not defined by my accolades or even success. Who I am is more so reflected in tireless moments spent alone in the practice room when there is no stage. It’s reflected in “real talk” moments on late night calls with my best friends or choosing to be patient in moments where being mean seems easier.
Mastering those little moments that force me to pivot, be a better version of myself and choose the true and genuine way, rather than the easy way are what I want for 2018. I don’t want to approach the new year as if life’s linear.
Throughout 2017 this quote often came to mind as a timely reminder of what’s important.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – MLK
Striking a balance between dedication to what you want, while also maintaining openness to life and all of it’s beautiful surprises is key.
Do we use moments to pivot in life to our advantage or do we fight them? This year I hope more and more to grow and make the most of moments where I can choose to be better, even when it’s challenging.
How will you approach this new year?
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