In anticipation of the approaching new year, oftentimes individuals forge ahead declaring a change is a comin. Forming new habits such as developing an exercise routine, sticking to a budget, staying more connected with loved ones as well as setting goals like finally organizing that hall closet, paying off a debt, or eating healthier, people commonly associate the new year with a fresh start.

Essentially, a new year is a declaration of oneself as the “new” you. Obviously, it goes without saying that for anyone who identifies as human, there is always room for self-improvement. However, there is no need to morph into the “new” you in the upcoming year. Instead, simply be you. Please allow me to elaborate.

In our younger years, all of us at some point have felt the pressure to fit in with the cool kids and more than likely succumbed to the conformity of what society deemed acceptable. Looking into our 30s and beyond, the need to base the direction of how we want our life to trend on what our friends think decreases.

As a 40 something year old woman, I have developed a keener understanding of who I am, who I want to be, and how I want to spend my time on this Earth. With that being said, I also realize and accept that no one is without flaws. We will never stop growing and learning as people. Staying stagnant is almost impossible since the world we live in is ever changing and evolving. We must continue to learn and grow in order to keep up with how quickly life changes.

If I were to sit down and create a list of new year’s resolutions for myself, the list would only include one item … to become the greatest possible version of myself that I can be. Additionally, this is a goal that I can put on my list and strive to achieve every year until I no longer inhabit space on this planet. There is no way I could become the greatest version of myself in 365 days, so that version of myself is someone I will constantly be chasing.

To execute this goal, some realizations I finally accepted were that I have absolutely no control over anyone else except me and I am responsible for my happiness, how my life ends up, and the person I become. I want to grow and improve from the base of the person I already am into something even greater. Upon deciding this for myself, I realized this is an all encompassing goal and it will touch several aspects of my life. From my home, job, family, friends, pets, community, etc., being the best version of myself will benefit everyone I come in contact with.  

The following are affirmations I developed in preparation of achieving the greatest possible version of myself:

  1. Understand and genuinely believe that I deserve the best of what this life has to offer.  
  2. Stay true to myself, my morals, and values.
  3. Surround myself with a strong, positive, influential group of people who push me to do better, and who are there when times are challenging.
  4. Use my compassionate, loving heart in ways beyond worrying about those who do not worry about me.
  5. Spend more time doing things I enjoy and make memories to cherish. Like writing, interior decorating, cooking for people I love, or snuggling with my fur babies.
  6. Love myself the same way I want someone to love me. The level of respect I want to receive from someone else is the same respect I want to show myself every single day. That means, I will not spend time searching for true love. Instead, I will strive to be that person for myself.
  7. Life is short, beautiful and precious. I want to love with my whole heart, spend time making a difference, and surround myself with the ones I love whenever possible.
  8. Family is always number one. I am blessed to have awesome relationships with most of my family, but I want to spend even more time together, not just during special occasions.
  9. Remove the brain space for those individuals who do not wish me well in my life. Regret is not something I choose to make a habit, but something I wish to correct. One regret that I have is that at times I have pushed away genuine people and spent far too much time on people who did not deserve my effort.  
  10. Remove hate from my heart for anyone. All people deserve happiness even if they have done me or someone I love wrong. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes sometimes.
  11. Explore new places, cultures, ways of living, and travel every single opportunity I get. You only get to live this life once, so when I am not working at the Salina Public Library, I want to spend my time doing the things that bring me joy.
  12. Aim higher. Set realistic and attainable goals and actually see them through. No matter how many times life tries to knock me down, I want to remain driven, believe in myself so much that I feel like I can truly do anything I put my mind to, and not let anyone or anything stand in my way. I am holding myself accountable.

In order to come up with these statements, I took myself on a field trip back to school and did some good old-fashioned research. Using the Salina Public Library’s catalog, I was able to research several different topics, find some appropriate titles, read or listen to them, and develop these ideas in preparation of becoming a better version of myself. The first title I recommend is “The Power of Letting Go: How to Drop Everything That’s Holding You Back” by John Purkiss. It is hard to let stuff go. Trust me, I know how to hold on to things and essentially waste my own time. In this quick read, Purkiss explains why we should let go, the benefits of letting go, and how we can do it, using proven techniques to make things happen. 

The next title I took some advice from is “What Women Should Know About Letting It Go: Breaking Free From The Power of Guilt, Discouragement, and Defeat” by Christin Ditchfield. The author states that people have a choice. People can choose to let the past define or confine them, but a better choice is to let it refine them. When someone is weighed down by feelings of guilt, discouragement, and defeat, they may be unable to live a fulfilling life. This book provides you with the tools you need to identify the patterns, attitudes, and behaviors that are holding you back and teaches you how to learn from them and then let them go.  

A third excellent book I recommend is “How to Live an Awesome Life: How to Live Well, Do Good, Be Happy” by Polly Campbell. This book discusses awe and how it forces us to reconfigure our mental model so we can make sense of what we have seen and experienced. It broadens us, inspires us and has the ability to awaken us. It can show us the beauty that already exists and reminds us who we are at our spiritual core. It brings us closer to our purpose and passion and helps us create meaning. 

I read quite a few more titles when researching for this blog, but my fourth and final recommendation for today is Meredith Maran’s “The New Old Me: My Late-Life Reinvention.”  Maran’s story of starting over at age 60 is extremely interesting. She shares some great tips and provides personal examples of how losing her best friend, a divorce, going broke, etc. all played key roles in how she reinvented herself. I preface that although the title includes the words reinvention, she does consider herself to have become a “new” woman, but a reinvention of her current self … an improved version of herself. You can read all the titles I mentioned and so much more using the Salina Public Library’s online catalog or you can come into the Library and browse the titles in person.  

My plan for the end of 2022, when I am reflecting on the year and measuring my progress towards a better me, my wish is that I can honestly say that I followed the resolution I set for myself. I want to be the same me that I have always been, only I hope I still have my smile, silly and outgoing personality, the same positive attitude, and the same love for life that I do now. However, my ultimate hope is that I can look back on the year and honestly say that I truly am an even better person than I was in 2021.