A new year is finally upon us! I am eager to kick off 2023 with a reinvention of sorts. The past years of 2020-2022 have been a series of pivotal years that has forced us to stretch ourselves in ways we had never imagined. We, as a society, have had to reinvent how we work, how we socially connect, and how we do business. We can’t effectively move forward without reflecting back to understand what is most important for our continued growth and health.
One of my strongest takeaways is that life is too short to endure those things that negatively affect my growth and development. Many of us have learned the importance of being our own advocates this year and living the life we believe in. As we reflect on the past, it is essential that we understand what didn’t work in order to move successfully into a new year.
As a psychologist, I see more people saying one thing and doing another. If I ask you, “What are your top 5 priorities in your life in order of importance?” you may tell me it is something like family, health, finances, career, and friends.
My second question is always, “What do you spend most of your energy and focus on?” Most of us will answer the opposite of our priorities. We tend to spend most of our energy on things that rob us of our focus which can deplete our mental resources, leaving us frustrated and unfulfilled. This mental conflict causes us to consistently try to catch up in all that we are wanting to achieve.
Let’s realign ourselves with what matters most in 2023. This requires us to create strong boundaries with what pulls us off course. By doing this, we intelligently develop realistic goals that offer opportunities to experience work, family, and ourselves in ways that feel positive as opposed to feeling stressed and empty.
Are you on board with me? Check out my Top 5 Opportunities for 2023 that will bring this year into a new way of experiencing life as we want it:
1) List your Pain Points
Now is the perfect time to assess what didn’t work for you in the past. What robs your energy and steers you away from your focus?
For 2023, resolve to harness these energy robbers by either eliminating them or creating strong boundaries that keep you on your priority track. Keep yourself accountable by using a timer, scheduling time blocks for email and phone calls, and effectively planning your day so that you feel good by the end of it.
2) Grow in New Beginnings
Make the time to plan for something new that you haven’t experienced before. By scheduling it ahead of time, you have something to look forward to that gets you out of your comfort zone while offering you positive ways to enjoy your life.
Whether trying a sport, learning a new language, or reading a new book, a different activity offers time for you to grow yourself. Research shows when we try new hobbies, we can add interest to our relationships because it gives us something new to share and talk about. These experiences help to grow you as a person while helping you to feel alive in the process.
3) Control your day
When you begin your day with intention and end it with positive reflection, you control how you experience it. You choose whether you will experience it as a player or as a victim.
Start your day with these 3 intentions:
- I am grateful for…
- I will focus on…
- I will let go of…
End your day by reflecting on 3 things that were positive. Some days it may be a simple thought. You will quickly see the difference this intention makes if you tend to end your day in thoughts of worry and stress.
4) Create a No Phone Zone
Are you constantly connected to your phone? We should be controlling technology – not the other way around. Lacking boundaries with our email, text and phone use can leave us feeling drained and distracted. Adhere to having no phone zones in your home to help you stay in line with your priorities of what is most important to you!
This is the perfect resolution for those who feel burdened by technology or are making an active effort to fill their free time with a different activity. Do you watch TV while also being on the phone? Join your family in carving a specific time for phones while trying other activities like socializing at dinner, reading books, playing games, or taking a walk. Is your phone your morning alarm? Try using an old-fashioned alarm clock instead.
5) Curb your Critic
How do you talk to yourself? Most of us are harder on ourselves than anyone else. There is nothing good that comes from self-deprecating thoughts. Guilt has no place in a motivating environment. If you find you are judging and criticizing others, it’s time to put this habit to an end. Criticizing has no value to anyone’s experience. Life is too short to feel guilty, embarrassed, or disrespected.
When we accept others for who they are and where they are in their own life experience, we bring focus to what is in our control – which is our own mind and body. Why focus your energy on what feels bad or what you or someone else didn’t do? Consider refining your thoughts to what you and others do right and what you appreciate in your daily experience.
If you are looking for positive results this year, keep it simple:
Control how you want to experience life in 2023 by focusing on YOU: how you perceive, how you react/respond, and how you help create a positive, meaningful, and compassionate experience for you and those around you.
Cheers to a fresh start and new habits to make this year your best one yet.
Wishing you a happy & healthy 2023!
– Dr. Renée Kennedy-Edwards