I am finally winding down from the high of the Christmas holidays and have been spending some time reflecting on the last year. 2017 was a big year for me personally and for Airplanes & Avocados; I had the opportunity to travel to the Maldives, to work on some incredible video projects, and landed some exciting speaking opportunities. These achievements have made me so proud of how far Airplanes & Avocados has come and even more excited for what still lies ahead.
This time of year always has a special excitement lingering in the air; the smell of a fresh start, the next chapter, or a new beginning with endless possibilities. I love to use the new year as an opportunity to start fresh and set new goals for myself. I know “New Years Resolutions” seem corny to some people, but I really do love going into a new year with a clear plan and direction of where I want the next twelve months to take me. I find that this really helps me focus and stay motivated throughout the year.
In today’s post, I wanted to share 18 habits that I’ve utilized over this past year and plan to practice in 2018 in order to make it the best year ever.
- Reflect on the past year
The only way to know where you’re going is to know where you’ve been. Even if 2017 wasn’t a good year for you, take some time to look back at what went right and what went wrong, in order to learn from your mistakes. Recognize where you could have acted differently and make a note of that going forward to avoiding repeating the same mistakes.
- Start with a good attitude
Even if 2017 wasn’t the best, don’t go into 2018 thinking it’s going to be just as awful. Positive thoughts attract positive outcomes, so if you start the new year with a positive mindset you’ll be that much more likely to have a great year.
- Say “no” more often
I’m not telling you to close the door on opportunities in 2018- quite the opposite. This year practice saying “no” to people and things that don’t fulfill your purpose or make you happy. So many times we are guilty of always agreeing to help others out, even if it’s taxing and stressful on us, and puts us behind in the projects we’re really passionate about. This year let yourself be selfish and prioritize what makes you happy, if that means you have to say no to the things that don’t, then so be it. You’ll be happier because of it.
- Know when to let things go
In 2018, practice picking your battles wisely. One thing I’ve learned over the course of this year is that not everything deserves a reaction. Whether it’s your career, friendships, or a serious relationship, know what issues are worth rocking the boat for and which are better to let slide. If you decide something is worth fighting for, have the fight, come to a solution, and let it go. Don’t let the problem eat away for you for months after. Let go of this uneeded stress this year to clear your mind and make room for things that truly matter.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This year try to put your pride aside and ask for assistance when you’re juggling too many projects at once. There is nothing shameful about asking for help and you should get into the habit of reaching out to others when you can’t handle everything on your own.
- Get active
Most of us have something about working out more or eating better on our new year’s resolutions, probably every year. I know I always set fitness goals at the beginning of each year, but seldom every reach them. For 2018, don’t focus on losing a specific amount of weight, or restricting yourself to a crazy diet. Instead, focus on making fitness fun and falling back in love with your body. Don’t make working out a chore or a punishment, instead, make it a fun activity that you like to do because you want to treat your body well this year. And choose a fitness activity that’s fun for you! Don’t worry about what the Instagram fitspos are doing; if you like biking then bike, if you like rock climbing then do that. Don’t get into an exercise routine you hate because everyone else is doing it; focus on making fitness fun for you.
- Lend your time to a cause you care about
One of the most rewarding things I did in 2017 was volunteering. Offering your time and skills to something you’re passionate about is an incredible experience and allows you to be a part of something much bigger. Find an organization or a cause that’s important to you, whether it’s working with children, an environmental NGO, or a church group, and find out how you can get involved in volunteering. You don’t have to make a huge commitment right off that bat, I know we’re all busy, but even spending one day a month giving selflessly to something bigger will make your 2018 a lot brighter and more fulfilled.
- Take budgeting seriously
My theme for 2018 is financial stability. Ever since I turned 18 and started university and got my first credit card I’ve been stressed out about money. My focus for this year is developing really strong budgeting skills and taking them seriously. Especially at this age, budgeting and financial literacy are so crucial to the future and it’s best to start setting yourself up for success now. A great practice to get into the habit of is writing down all of your expenses and purchases, that way you’ll be able to easily see where you’re spending your money and where you can cut back.
- Read more
One of my 2017 new years resolutions was to read more and I’m happy to say that it’s one that I’ve stuck to. Reading is such a good way to relieve stress and wind down after a long day, especially when you work online. Reading allows you to unplug, expand your mind, and escape into a new world. This year, try reading a book to fall asleep instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media.
- Take time to unplug
Spend some time away from your phone this year and genuinely experiencing the moments of your life. Spend less time worrying about staging the perfect moment for an Instagram photo and instead just worry about experiencing these moments yourself. You’ll get a lot more joy out of this than a few hundred likes on your photo.
- Spend money on experiences
Going back to experiencing moments, as well as proper budgeting, spend less money this year on material items like clothes and instead, try to spend more money on experiences. Book a trip, take your friend to a concert or go to a Broadway show with your mom. Years down the road you won’t remember that sweater you bought, but you will remember these experiences.
- Do something that scares you
This year get out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you. Try something new that makes you uncomfortable, because we all know growth only begins at the end of your comfort zone. Try taking a new class like cooking or dancing, making the leap and quitting your job to pursue your dream career, or get that haircut that you’ve been putting off for years.
- Pamper yourself
Once a month take yourself on a date to unwind and reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve been putting in. Get your nails done, go for a massage, or take yourself out for dinner. Learn to enjoy your own company and make self-care a priority.
- Make your bed
I know that I personally function way better in a clean space than a cluttered space, and because I work from home, that means I need to keep my room and office clean. Start every morning by spending five minutes straightening out your bed and picking up dirty laundry off the floor. It’s only five minutes but it will go a long way in decluttering your space and in turn, decluttering your mind so you can think and work clearly.
- Declutter your digital life
Speaking of clean spaces and clear thinking, start 2018 with an empty email inbox and clean looking phone home screen. Spend some time going through your junk emails and unsubscribing from unnecessary email lists, and then take a look at all the neglected apps on your phone; do you really need them all? If not, delete a few so that you’re not overwhelmed every time you unlock your device.
- Celebrate the small victories
Allow your self to feel proud of your small accomplishments this year. Don’t brush them off because “they’re not enough” or you “need to keep working”. Take time to savor the small moments and reward yourself. Life is tough enough as it is – don’t make it more miserable for yourself.
- Stop planning and take action
I know this sounds like a contradiction of this entire post, but what I mean is, don’t spend your entire year dreaming and planning. Use this time to come up with a plan for how you want to reach your goals in 2018 and as soon as the new year rolls around, take immediate steps to put it into action. Don’t wait for the perfect time because there will never be one. This year don’t fret over the perfect plan, instead, start making moves right away and adjusting as you go.
- Own it
Whatever you do in 2018, a career change, a business adventure, a relationship, a big trip, own it. Take on every challenge this year head on, with the utmost confidence and make 2018 the best year yet