Happy 2017! There is something magical about putting up a new calendar at your desk, in the kitchen or starting a new journal. By now some of you have set some goals for the year ahead. Social media is all a buzz about making and keeping resolutions: Reading the best selling self-help book, joining a master mind group, creating healthy habits or just adopting the routines followed by other successful people. It can be overwhelming to see the flurry of Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagram quotes and news stories on what to do to make 2017 your best year ever.
In the past I've written about why making New Year's Resolutions can be counter productive. Instead, my contribution is to offer two themes to define 2017: Compassion and Intention.
Changing habits is hard work for all of us! Don't beat yourself about the resolutions you have to change. No one makes goals and keeps them 100% of the time. Life brings us unexpected challenges or new opportunities and our priorities must adapt. Things we thought would work to help us stay motivated, stop working. It would be as big of a mistake to keep doing something with ample evidence your strategy is not working as it is to not try something--just about anything-- to achieve your goals. Sometimes we need a break, a fresh start. I stopped writing columns on a regular basis for over a year during the challenge of seeing my father lose a battle with cancer and then watching as my mother wage her own just six months later. My work load increased unexpectedly with a more demanding set of projects. Some habits make it easier to cope with the hardships and challenges. Others need to be suspended until there is room to breath, get our focus again. The one habit I maintained in the midst of these last two remarkable years is leveraging my own personal board of advisors---checking in with the people who inspire me and provide me with honest feedback on whether I'm making progress or getting stagnant. Those conversations, emails, or phone calls allow me to look back and say 2016 went well.
Compassion is also a vital part of sustaining effective relationships with others--especially those who test our patience or push our buttons. Amid the challenges that divide a family, a work team, a community or a nation, true compassion opens the door for understanding and respect for differences. It's the foundation that let's us work together, solve problems, and remain allies to empower each other.
"What is Your Intention Today?" This is a sticker I made that sits at the bottom of my computer screen. It stops me from having a day of just mind numbing emails, phone calls, and meetings that get me nowhere closer to my goals or deadlines.
As you look forward this year, take a 360 inventory of your own current journey in life---health, spirit, work, family, finances, and community--and create a vision of where you see yourself next New Years' eve. Set some intentions around the changes or new habits that move you forward to your own vision of success. Poco a poco se anda lejos. Anticipate that you will need to make course corrections so that you are not surprised or disappointed. Borrow from those around you who share their success habits but recognize what works for one person can be a disaster for others. At the end of the week, ask what worked, what helped? You will be amazed how far you can go when you live your LatinaVIDA with intention! --Maria Hernandez, PhD. P.S. If you are looking for resources and suggestions for defining your 2017, please visit the LatinaVIDA Evernote Notebook for ideas, tools, and inspiration.