“How you spend New Year’s Eve is how you spend the rest of the year.” -The O.C., Season 1
December is often equated with memories. Memories of childhood pastimes, family traditions, and moments with friends. My memories also contain something else: reruns of The O.C. Call it a cheesy melodrama full of overacting, but to me, it’s still a way to escape. It’s also one of my favorite pastimes during school breaks, and it’s full of advice that continues to ring true to me no matter where I am at in my life. While watching the New Year’s Eve episode, I thought back to how I spent this holiday in the past and if it reflected how I spent the rest of the year. Most of the time, New Year’s Eve had little to no effect on the rest of my year, but 2017 was different. This past year, I spent time on resolutions that were changed to affirmations after advice from Ecocult. How did my 2017 affirmations go? Did I accomplish and fulfill the sustainable lifestyle I wanted? Here are a few highlights and lowlights from the year.
- Saying “I am” instead of “I will” became the mantra that shaped my year. New Year’s resolutions often left me feeling overwhelmed, or I started them with eagerness and dropped them by spring. Why? Saying I strived to do something instead of transforming it into action made me less likely to do it. Using “I am” didn’t just inspire me, it empowered me to follow through.
- Taking on one step each month was essential for success. Many times, I had started on resolutions with full intentions of completing them, but eventually, they fell through. I found that my expectations were too high or unreasonable. I simply had taken on too much at once. By adjusting and implementing one new affirmation each month, I found it easier to take on more and keep up with what I already had.
- There are times when it’s better to let things go. April and December come to mind. During both months, I faced the inevitability of any graduate student–finals. That’s why I found it better to be flexible with my affirmations rather than set impossibly high standards for myself. It also seemed more reasonable to set one priority (homework) instead of multiple ones that would be too difficult to manage. Sometimes you accomplish more by being in the present and not constantly think about the future.
- Maintaining all aspirations is not an easy or possible task. When it comes to continuing to live a plastic-free life and consuming less sugar, I have struggled. These affirmations are challenging because they are everyday things that are all around me and have been difficult to completely shake from my habits, especially during times of stress. At first, I thought I should give up, but I’m finding it might be better to take the approach from other affirmations that have been successful. Why did I pick this affirmation? What is stopping me from achieving this affirmation? Addressing the why may assist me with being more successful in the future than worrying that I didn’t accomplish enough.
Now that I’ve finished 2017, what do I have in store for 2018? I’ve decided to continue affirmations, but not share every single one as a blog post. After spending the last couple of days in 2017 catching up with friends, cleaning out more of my belongings, and finishing up projects, I’ve come to see how I have neglected the work-life balance. Being in graduate school, I’m always set on achieving, but I also see a need to evaluate why I want to achieve something and if it is beneficial to all aspects of my life. That’s why I’ll be focusing on this mantra for 2018: Healthy body, healthy mind. What can you expect from me in 2018? After spending New Year’s Eve renewing my energy and focus, I’ve come to see how I can spend the rest of the year with plenty of ideas, actions, and inspiration for a more balanced and sustainable traveling fashionista. Stay tuned to my posts and social media to see how this new mantra continues to influence me during 2018!
Cover Image Credit: Pixabay