It’s January and the hot topic is New Year’s resolutions.
 
What will we do, and more importantly, do differently in 2016 to be happier, more successful, more radiant, a better person, better parent, closer to God/closer to enlightenment?  Many of us are asking ourselves this question: how will we make 2016 awesome and, more importantly, avoid making any of the f_ck ups we made in 2015, 2014, 2013….again?  Will a list of actions that we quickly bang out on a post-It note or journal page really change the course of our lives and make 2016 the year that everything turns to gold?  The answer, in my experience, is no.   If I flick through my journals of the last few years, in the first week of January I see some pretty repetitive entries.  They go something like this: get more balance, party less/work less, slow down, let go, meditate more, spend more time with friends, be more grateful, practice self love, be the best version of myself, do more volunteer work.  Now I’m not knocking any of these resolutions. They are all true for me. The problem is, simply putting pen to paper doesn’t change a thing…well except for that piece of paper, it now has words on it.  But my reality hasn’t changed, nor will it change.

 

What will turn the best intentions for a great year into an actual Great Year?

In my experience the only thing that will make my desired reality a fulfilling and awesome reality is committing to a way of living that is truly authentic.  By that I mean not tasking myself with doing anything that I feel I “should” be doing, nor filling my days with actions that I am doing purely out of guilt, obligation or because I want to be seen or perceived in a certain way.  If I do what really lights me up from the inside, then I’m going to have a wonderful year.  If, however, I do what I think I “should” do, or primarily just what others expect or want me to do, then the year is not going to be full of inner contentment and joy.

 

Regrets of the dying.

Did you know that one of the greatest regrets of the dying is “I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” * So often we do what we think our parents, friends or bosses want us to do.  Sure there are times when you need to comply to the wishes of others, to selflessly assist a loved one or complete work tasks.  However, these need not determine the course of 2016, or any year in the future.  Make a commitment to yourself this year to do what makes your heart sing.  If you don’t know what that is then commit yourself to discovering it.  It’s very easy to slip into living a life on others’ terms, to be working 60 hour weeks to keep up the mortgage on a large house because you thought that’s what success looked like (as defined by some segments of society and possibly your parents).  Many students choose to do degrees that they don’t want to do, because of external perceptions of “sensible” career choices.  Others stay in unfulfilling roles due to a fear of being a “quitter” or “failure” for not making their (mistaken) career choice a successful one.  You have the choice, you can lament on your death bed about not living life on your terms, or you can make 2016 the year to start, or commit to, living life on your terms.  By the way, interestingly the second most common regret of the dying is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”  So if you’re in a role that doesn’t give you the flexibility to spend time with your loved ones then it might be time to consider how you can change this.

 

Words to live by + a disclaimer. 

There are so many pieces of beautiful and sage advice around from people much wiser than I, on how you can live an authentic life make 2016 Your Year.  However, since you’ve taken the time to read my blog and to the very end, I’ll share with you words that I live by – “meglio avere rimorsi che rimpianti”  - It’s better to have remorse than regrets.  For me, this means, it better to take a risk and do something/ try something/be who you want to be in your life (and maybe stuff it up) than to not try and regret this later.   Although, please don’t quote me on this if you go bungie jumping and the rope snaps.  Ok, New Year’s resolution, I need a lawyer and to start writing better disclaimers!

 

A guide to rocking 2016, not stuffing up the year and the rest of your life.

So there it is, my guide to New Year’s resolutions and authentic living.  Feel free to share this blog with anyone you think may benefit, or at the very least, get a good giggle from it.  Also, if you know a good lawyer, could you please pass on my number?

*Bronnie Ware, “The Top 5 Regrets of The Dying”