As we close out the year, it is important to reflect on how you are feeling and how this year has gone for you. The week before New Year’s Eve is a powerful time for setting intentions and creating new beginnings. Before you set out to create lofty goals, use this time to reflect and evaluate everything in your life.
In the spirit of making 2018 the best year yet, ask yourself these powerful questions:
Where am I settling?
Most of the time we are so busy just trying to catch up that we don’t give ourselves permission to actually sit down and examine our life and the choices we’ve made leading up to this moment. Think about your big picture and who you want to be in this world. Are you taking steps each day to create this vision, or are you stuck in a routine? 2018 promises to be a year of abundant success if we go forward courageously and choose to embrace the next phases of our life. Are you in the career you want to be in? Are you with the person you want to be with? Are you who and where you want to be? If the answer is no, take steps—one small one at a time—to help carve out a life that feels fulfilling to you.
What anger am I holding on to?
When we hold on to anger it blocks us from feeling good. Ask yourself, “Who am I angry at?” We sometimes hold on to anger because it is the only thing we have left of the person. Are you holding on to anger because it makes you feel justified and right? Sometimes the healthiest thing we can do for our sanity is to let go of the situation by forgiving them. When we are willing to forgive others we aren’t saying what they did is okay; we are saying, “I value myself too much to waste any more time on this situation.” Allow yourself to move forward so you can live your life with more joy.
Do I worry too much about what other people think?
Many of us live for others. So many of us actually put other people’s ideas, perceptions, and judgments in front of our own. Ask yourself if you are afraid to announce a dream or say what you really want to say or change directions in life because of the perceived outcome on those around you. Remember, your playing small serves no one. Ask yourself how much time you spend thinking about others’ reactions to something you haven’t even done yet. When we worry about what others think, we are not in control of our outcome. We obsess about what might happen, but meanwhile our life is happening right now. If you are stuck in worry, you may feel more depressed and anxious than normal. When you are confident with yourself and your own choices, you won’t need other people’s approval. So instead of focusing on what others think, focus more on how you feel and work on strengthening that relationship.
Does the place I live bring me joy?
This is a question most of us don’t always ask because we get so busy paying the bills and mortgages, just trying to manage where we are living. But as we enter into the new year, think about locations and places you’ve thought about going to or living in. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to live in another city. Or country. Maybe you live in the suburbs and you’ve always dreamed about living in the city. You can make changes to live where you want. Studies show that our environment is one of the largest factors in our personal happiness. If you aren’t as happy as you know you could be, perhaps it is your environment.
Does my work fulfill me?
Are you in a job that fulfills you? Or do you feel drained from your monotonous work? Choosing a career that uplifts you, one that you are passionate about, is part of living a fulfilled life. Some people are okay with working in a job they dislike to pay the bills; they have their passion and hobbies outside of work. And this works for many. But if your soul is crying inside, it is possible you were meant for something else. Don’t be afraid to listen to that inner voice, the one that says start that blog, train to be a coach, change careers—this is the year to go for it.
What part of my life have I been ignoring?
Most of us have areas of our life we don’t really look at, things we sweep under the rug. We end up overeating, overspending, overworking over the feelings that want to be felt about the situations we ignore. This vicious cycle causes us to stay stuck in guilt, shame, and fear. Ask yourself, “What part of my life have I been ignoring?” Go deep into the situation you’ve been afraid to address and allow yourself to feel the pain and recognize there is purpose to it.
What is my relationship with myself like?
Self-love is a buzzword these days. Some of us wonder what it really is. Self-love is simply an appreciation and acceptance for who you are, as you are, not when you meet your soul mate, not when you lose the weight, not when you have more money or land your big dream. It is embracing who you are in each moment. When you practice self-love you feel more balanced, you live with more joy, and you feel a natural peace within you. Ask yourself how you can cultivate more self-compassion and practice self-love.
How do I want to be remembered?
How you make people feel when they are around you is part of living a life you feel proud of. How do you want to be remembered? Being you requires courage, but the freedom that comes from it will be worth it. The more you show, the more authentic you are, the more your life will flow. Trust that who you really are is who the world needs.
What’s something I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t given myself permission to?
This question, when answered honestly, can radically change and improve your life. What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet? The inner critic, the fear part of us, always tries to sabotage us. It says that now isn’t the right time, you don’t have enough money or clarity, or what will people say? These are just excuses keeping us small. When it comes to your dreams, recognize that they are signatures to your potential. The more you trust them and take steps to live them, the happier and more fulfilled you will be. And the happier you are, the happier those around you will be.
What does success mean to me?
Most of us, especially in America, seem to be chasing the elusive “there.” We want more money and tons of social media followers. For many, success is popularity, but true success from a spiritual perspective that has nothing to do with how many admirers you have but how you feel in relation to your own life and goals. Are you growing, are you learning, are you healing? Are you able to feel freedom from pain by trusting the universe and taking inspired action on your goals? Redefine your definition of success and you will feel more connected to your true self. Being authentic is the most gorgeous form of real success.
What am I ready to let go?
Letting go people, places, situations, ideas and beliefs that no longer feel in alignment with you is essential for your peace of mind. What are you willing to let go of? Create a “let it go” list, a list of things you are releasing before the new year.
How about you—what questions will you be asking yourself before 2018?
Shannon Kaiser, a wellness writer, life coach, and speaker is the author of The Self Love Experiment.
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