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How to Navigate the Uncharted Waters of the New Year

"The truth is that sometimes our life's journey takes us where we must go, not necessarily where we planned to go. Being open to accepting the voyage and its destination can lead to things we never knew were possible." - Helen Owens

Happy new year! As we enter 2018, it’s customary for us all to remind one another to lead with our best selves, be true to our soul’s compass, and stand proudly at the helm of our own ships. Whatever we’ve resolved to do this year, many of us have our laundry list of resolutions ready, poised to divide and conquer. Each year, we tell ourselves “this is my year,” the year things will be different.

Are you feeling pressured by your New Year's Resolutions?

But as we turn the page into a new calendar month, the excitement with which we dove into our resolutions in early January seems to wane. Another day passes, then another week, until we’ve given up altogether on the plans we’ve made. What typically follows is a stream of disappointment, negative self-talk, and an overall sense of failure. The “new year, new you” adage is long gone, and we fall back into the same outlook we had the year before.

It’s time for us to take an alternate course. Sure, it’s important to make plans and do what it takes to reach our goals. But the truth is that sometimes our life's journey takes us where we must go, not necessarily where we planned to go. Being open to accepting the voyage and its destination can lead to things we never knew were possible.

It wasn’t until his dreams of playing in the Canadian Football League ended in Vancouver after a 2-day appearance on the roster that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson realized that“the one thing you wanted to happen often times is the best thing that never happened.” And Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the greatest pioneers in television, was demoted from her position as anchorwoman early in her career at a news station in Baltimore. “Many times, getting demoted is an opportunity for something else to show up,” she says. “I was not a good television reporter—I was too empathetic and was always getting written up for getting involved in other people’s business. They didn’t want to pay out my contract, so they said, ‘we’ll put you on this talk show.’” As we know, the rest is history.

Our list of resolutions should leave room for the unexpected.

By focusing on what we’ve achieved, rather than berating ourselves for what we haven’t yet done, we can transform our thoughts into reality. Maybe you’re not on track to reach your lofty financial goal this year, but you’re keeping your debts paid. The 30 pounds you’ve been promising to lose aren’t going anywhere, but the 5 pounds you’re on track to lose is equally important. And you might still be struggling with getting rid of toxic people, but at least you’re working hard to narrow the list. Being aware that the only constant is change can make the difference between feeling like we’ve reached our goals and feeling we’ve failed.

This year, resolve to be released from expectations. Be okay with the unforeseen. Rejoice in letting go. For as we know, “sometimes our She-Compass navigates a course with which me may be unfamiliar, but if we persist honestly toward discovering our true selves, we’ll ultimately end up heading in the right direction.”

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