Hello, January. I didn’t see you coming.
Ah, yes. The New Year. Class starts back up in a couple of days, and I’m sitting at home sipping on a cup of tea, trying to recover from last night’s New Year’s Eve party. How has it been a year already?
The New Year is a good time to reflect upon the last year. I catch myself often thinking ahead to all of the things that I want to accomplish this year, the goals I need to make or promises to myself that I need to keep. As I reflected upon the last year, I realized how tough 2018 was for me. I can recall all the times when I was stressed out, but also the fun times I had during the summer and everything that has gotten me to where I am today. I reflected upon the relationships that I had made, and the experiences that I gained. It’s crazy to think about what a year of experiences can really do.
This Spring I’ll be graduating. The thought of graduating is so daunting to me, but I’m also excited to see what this year brings for me. I am a planner--I like to organize my life and plan things in advance so I don’t feel blind-sided. However, recently, I’ve started to learn that things don’t always go the way I want them to. No matter how much I plan, there will always be things that are out of my control. I’ve learned to embrace those things, and to problem solve, which has helped me in all the aspects of my life.
Take a Moment.
Take advantage of the time that you have in the New Year to reflect on the past year. How are you doing today? What are things that you enjoyed? Things you didn’t enjoy? Challenges that you needed to overcome? How have your experiences shaped you into the person that you are now? Who are the people that you spent the most time with last year? What new relationships did you make? When was the last time that you sat down to think about yourself?
Something that I have struggled with in the past is the feeling of not having done enough in my life at my age. I often find myself making comparisons to my friends or colleagues who have had so many wild experiences and travel adventures. It’s hard to not think about, but I’ve learned that watching from the sidelines gets me nowhere. It starts with thinking big.
Evaluate your goals and aspirations. What do you want to do this year? For me, this year, I want to start up my portfolio, get a one-way ticket to Asia for four months, land an internship, and grow my network. I also want to spend more time on my relationships with my friends and family. On the broader spectrum, I want to start my own side graphic design hustle that supports local businesses. What are some aspirations that you want to accomplish down the road?
Take a Step.
Taking the first step towards accomplishing a large goal can be intimidating. Taking a small step would be planning out some smaller goals within the large goal that are easier to achieve. An example for me, would be to connect to 2 new people every week to see if they will have an informational interview with me. It’s a small step towards getting out of my comfort zone and contributes to a larger goal for this year--growing my network.
Of course, taking a step is not the hard part. Maintaining the growth and staying accountable to those goals is the tricky part. (Why do you think resolutions are so hard to keep?) We make “resolutions” for ourselves all the time. Don’t think of your goals as resolutions, but as steps towards progress to achieve a larger goal.
Embrace the Outcome.
I used to think that life was like a monster who would always walk in front of me and throw banana peels behind it that I would slip on or dodge. Not all plans will go according to plan, and it’s okay. There will be setbacks and challenges, but finding ways to overcome them and get back on track in and of itself is its own little success. Whatever the outcome may be, view it as a learning opportunity, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Go back to the origins of why you are pursuing the goals that you are.
Celebrate the Successes
When I accomplish a goal, I find that I usually feel good about it for a minute and then move on. After all, there is so much to do. It’s hard to find time for a proper celebration. This past year, I learned that celebrating a success does not equal pride and having friends to celebrate your successes and help you through your failures is so important. On the flip side, if your friend is one step closer to accomplishing a lifetime goal and you know that she worked her butt off to get to where she is, celebrate the moment. Go for drinks at happy hour. Plan a day at the beach or a dinner. Recognize the people who come through for you, and be there for them. When the time comes for your successes, they’ll be there for you too.
It’s a new year.
Anything can happen. Really--who knows?