Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Loud Lady :: 4 Ways to Mentally Prepare Yourself for a New [and Hopefully Better] Year (A Guest Post by Victoria of Disaster Poodle)

How many of you out there feel like 2014 was one giant garbage year full of negativity and strife? That sentiment seems to be a trend. This year was just plain upsetting and if you are a person who has access to anything with a backlit screen on a regular basis, you know why. I’m not going to further traumatize anyone by listing all of the reasons here.

Then, of course, there’s whatever personal struggle(s) you’ve dealt with this year. Everyone has something. So, as one human who had a particularly crappy year to another, I just want to take a second to say: I’m sorry this year has been a bummer for you. Take some comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone. I believe we can get through the rest of 2014 together and enter 2015 with a sparkly new perspective.

Whatever kind of year you’ve had, I’ve recently realized the importance of entering a new one with positivity and a vision of what you want to accomplish. At this, the tail end of my personal garbage year, I’ve suddenly plummeted myself face first into the overwhelming abyss of a complete overhaul to my life trajectory. Maybe you’re in a similar boat and you’ve got some big changes on the horizon. Or maybe you’re entering the year doing the same ol’ thing, but you’re aching for a change. Or maybe you’re content, but you want to push yourself further in the New Year to grow personally and professionally. I don’t know your life! But there are ways to get your mind in the right place in anticipation of a fresh start.

Here are some things that have been working for me:

1) De-clutter. Nothing gives me the feeling of catharsis quite like physically throwing out a bunch of useless shit. We’ve all got too much stuff. Stuff is nice, but it won’t make you happy, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, getting rid of clutter is a fast way to feel more in control in this world full of chaos. It doesn’t have to be a complete household decluttering extravaganza. Just cleaning out a closet or a drawer will probably make you feel better, especially if it’s an area that’s been bugging you for awhile. Just do it! You might get some momentum and in no time, you could be one of those weirdos who writes books about living with only 50 items and never experiences sadness.

2) Carve out your corner. I work from home and live in a tiny apartment. When I decided to start my own business, I knew I needed a space that I can call my own, because working on the couch leads to a downward spiral of “this blanket is cozy” to “maybe just a ten minute nap won’t hurt” to “holy crap how is it dark out and I’ve accomplished nothing?” So, now I work from a desk shoved into a corner of my apartment. But it’s my space to do my thing. Even if you don’t work from home, try to make a space within your place that’s just for you where you can dream, scheme, create, meditate, read, or sit alone and not talk to anyone because you had a stressful day and want to enjoy a class of whine without anyone’s sass.  Whatever suits your fancy, just as long as you don’t have to worry about distraction or falling asleep.

3) Look at inspiring things. In my little corner, I have two bulletin boards: one with practical things like appointment reminders and to-do lists, and another one full of images and quotes that inspire, motivate, and remind me that everything is going to be OK on the occasions that I forget. Most of it is nerdy quotes from TV shows, Harry Potter, or Carl Sagan, but that’s what I’m into. So, what are you into? What images or quotes or things or people make you feel like you can do anything, that you deserve everything, and that can make you feel a little better when things get rough? Plaster your walls with positivity! It sounds corny, but it works - trust this lifelong Negative Nellie. Preferably you’d do this in your newly carved corner, but if that’s not possible, you can put it all in a scrapbook, photo album, journal, or even a folder on your computer or on a Pinterest board. Just as long as you remember to look at it when you’re feeling down in the dumps.

4) Plan for the future. Specifically, the New Year. What do you want your life to look like by the end of 2015? How is it different from what your life looks like now? What changes do you want to make and what are some steps you can take to get there? Answer these questions for every facet of your life – your work, relationships, creative pursuits and, most importantly, your relationship with yourself. Write it all down. Be as detailed as possible. Life is unpredictable and everything you write down now may not happen this year, or ever. Your vision may change. That’s okay. Just as long as you can realistically envision 2015 being a better year than 2014, and you can recognize and put in motion some steps to get to where you want to be, you’re already on the right track to a year filled with happiness, sunshine, and rainbows. Or, at least… not garbage.

Victoria is a freelance writer based out of Grand Rapids, MI who is often found engaging in a good feminist rage-scussion. She enjoys making up words, cross-stitching her favorite pop culture references, and all things bright and colorful. She blogs about her feelings here. This post is in support of my new program for 2015, Loud Ladies. Enrollment ends today!
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