Heading towards the New Year is a great time to embrace a tight grip on the steering wheel of your life and ask yourself: “Am I fulfilled? Is my job causing me more stress and heartache than a sense of meaning? Am I growing in the right direction in my relationships? Am I spending enough time being mindful of what I use to nourish my body from the inside out, where I spend my money & what I choose to mentally consume with my free time?”
It’s not a time for grandiose and unrealistic resolutions— it’s a time to close chapters on parts of your life that are no longer serving your greater good and find ways to use your time on earth and your unique, magical brain to bring more abundance and happiness to yourself. This will, in turn, radiate into your surroundings.
Yes, within the last five months I have: left an engagement, my friends and family, a comfortable, stable job and moved across the country from Boston, MA to Ventura County, CA— but that is not the kind of pressure I’d ever offer anyone who is beginning to drink from the large cup of “self-improvement.”
To those that know me and my story, on the outside, it looks like it took a HUGE life change for me to begin my dive into finding my authentic self which has led to a “high” of conscious bliss, but I truly feel that the level of contentment I am finding within my life is due to a series of “micro-changes” I have made rooted in the practice of mindfulness.
We are living through the months where resolutions are being heavily marketed to us. They are asking us to place our personal value on a number on a scale, to make a certain diet or exercise routine a type of new-religion, pressuring us that we are not good enough due to the types of media we are engaging with, telling us that if we “hustle more” we can be richer, therefor happier, that if we vow to travel more, then we will finally find fulfillment.
I am far from the first person to tell you that all of it is absolute bullshit.
That diet will fail, you will feel terrible and potentially end up heavier than you weighed on December 31st. You will fall out of your routine of “reading meaningful content two hours a day,” and then beat yourself up again for “not being good enough/smart enough/driven enough.” You will put a personal monetary investment into an MLM that will make those at the top richer and leave you feeling inadequate when your sales start to fall due to a product your friends and family have already heard the same pitch for from ten of their other “old friends” on Facebook. If your motivation for travel is coming from the social media “influencers” you are idolizing, then flying to Italy and taking a picture “holding up” the Leaning Tower of Pisa to plaster on your Instagram will stop making you feel good once the initial influx of “likes” slows down.
I am not ostracizing anyone who has engaged in any of these commitments– I have been pulled into every single one, some multiple times, and I might again– powerful marketing and the search for happiness have intoxicating results. The reason I am sharing these polarizing examples is to remind you that happiness is not a guarantee by committing to a grandiose resolution, and more likely than not, by Spring, you’ll find yourself feeling more inadequate than ever— thus starting the vicious cycle all over again– looking for a BETTER diet, a BETTER MLM, a BETTER vacation.
Look at my Instagram (it probably brought you here but if not it’s @sisu_shelby) — I am the perfect example of this. I have lost and gained the same 50 pounds at least six times in my life. I have traveled to a few continents and through over half of the United States, and now find myself working aggressively hard to pay off my credit card debt. I have spent thousands of dollars on skin care products that have failed me. I have gone through periods of devouring novels, left feeling “stupid” and “unfocused” during months when opening a book did not interest me.
If you have read this far thinking that I am going to share a MAGICAL answer to these problems– the rest of what I have to say will most likely disappoint you.
I have lived in California for only six weeks, and although I know that I am experiencing the start of a powerful conscious shift, I am realizing that there is nothing exceptionally magical about finding contentment, except for the ability to sit still and realize that my own unique self is magical enough.
In my admittedly brief experience of “sitting still,” taking stock, and making micro-changes to my daily routine, I have found more enrichment, personal freedom, and overall love and joy than I ever did chasing “the next big adventure.” In my next post I’ll share a list of habits I have worked on cultivating, without putting too much pressure on myself, that have led to my current level of contentment, even on days when my life isn’t social-media-level exciting. I hesitate to post them right away, because I am not in the position of hoping anyone will be influenced to copy exactly what I do, expecting that it will automatically lead to their own contentment.
During this season of resolutions, I challenge you to carve out one hour of your day this week to sit still, placing one hand on your belly and another on your chest and ask your inner self what is TRULY bringing you joy, and what is worth spending less time on in the future to nourish yourself as we head towards the New Year. Remember what “they” say about “gut” instincts and listen to what your inside is asking of you.
Will you take action steps to spend less time on Social Media? Will you decide to dedicate your morning commute to sitting in silence? Will you acknowledge a friend who is causing more drama than positivity in your life and give yourself space from them? Will you tell your partner that you’d like to establish one night a week that is specifically for cooking at home and eating an uninterupted meal together? Will you throw all of your diet books and scale away and decide to trust your body?
Write your list, and I’ll share mine next week.
Lots of love,