Ah, the New Year. Time for goals, dreams, organization, a new-and-improved self and harmonious zen as far as the eye can see. (Sure, OK.) I've always been a big fan of New Year's Eve and New Year's Day—call me a sucker for reinvention and fresh starts. But, year after year, it's now starting to feel like a rotating cycle of should-do's, do-not's and try-it-this-ways, only to be ditched and forgotten after a few months.
How about some action items that actually do change our lives as women, moms and people? Don't freak out, but I may have just figured out and implemented a few real life-changing phrases last year. They may look like clichés, but I do believe they redirected my perspective and contributed to some lucky professional success this last year.
Mantra #1: "What's Meant to Be Will Always Find a Way"
For the inherent lifelong worriers in the group (hand raised), this cliché proved to settle my mind and spirit in ways I never imagined. Will I get that job? Will my kids make the team? Will my spouse arrive back safely from his trip?
Whenever I caught myself imagining worrisome events and scenarios in my head, I'd say, "What's meant to be will always find a way" out loud. You know, so I could actually hear it. Good or bad, nice or not, "What's meant to be will always find a way."
Talk about humbling.
No matter how much I tried to control something, avoid a disaster or make something happen, letting go was most important for my sanity as a concerned mother and professional woman. And along the way, I noticed something: me letting go often paved the way for everything working out perfectly in the end.
And I know what you're thinking, I used to snicker at folks when I'd hear peace-and-love-mumbo-jumbo like this too. Not anymore.
Mantra #2: "If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything At All"
Last year, I heard a lot of stuff I didn't like from people I actually like a lot—grown women arguing over trivial things, moms talking smack about other moms behind backs, professional working women trying to undercut someone else's abilities. Was I involved in these conversations? Sure, mostly as a listener, and sometimes as a talker (don't pretend you're any different.) Did I feel good about it? Nope.
Once I made the choice to opt out of knowing certain things about certain folks, talking with friends about others' questionable behavior and just being associated with conflicts based purely on he-said-she-said gossip, my focus got sharper and I got happier. If I was amongst people talking, I'd mentally check out and just smile, nod and stay neutral. And guess what? I was a lot happier. With myself, with life, with everything.
Don't discount gratitude. When I wake up every day, I say this. Try saying "Thank you" to God, the air, the Universe, the sky, whatever, the moment you open your eyes. It doesn't need to be a full blown prayer—just a quick thanks.
And I know what you're thinking, I used to snicker at folks when I'd hear peace-and-love-mumbo-jumbo like this too. Not anymore. Oh no. I'm a believer. Why? Because gratitude works. Try it and commit to doing this every day (I even do it when I go to bed too, just for added perks.)
Do I still yell at my daughters from time to time? Yes. Do I still complain about situations I'd like to improve or change in my life? Of course. But saying these mantras truly changed my life this last year. I wouldn't be sharing them here if they didn't. I'm happier, feel more productive and prioritize my life a bit more clearly than I used to. These three little clichés gave me confidence that I didn't realize I needed.
So go forth and conquer. Because actions speak louder than words. After all, there's no time like the present.