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{Photo source: shutterstock.com}

Typically this time of year is super stressful for me.  It’s the season on “shoulds” and I can should with the best of them.  I should have _______ (fill in the blank).  I shouldn’t have _______ (fill in the blank).

Should have.

Should have is haunting.  Should have makes you feel like a failure.  Should have screams that you aren’t enough.  Why didn’t you try harder?  What’s wrong with you?  Evaluating your year, month, day, or hour with a case of the shoulds is less than fun.  It’s especially damaging when reflecting during the final weeks of December.  It’s truly setting yourself up for failure in the new year.  Instead of celebrating all of your successes (big and miniature!) and remembering the fun you had, you are focusing on the self-perceived failures.  Let me repeat – SELF-PERCEIVED FAILURES!  And that’s the energy and baggage that you carry with you into the new year.  Maybe your resolution was to lose 15 pounds and you lost 14.  Failure.  Or maybe you lost 16 and now you’re annoyed because you should have set your goal higher.  Failure.  See, you literally can’t win when should is involved.  And guess what, no one else has a clue whether you lost 14, 15, 16, or 20 pounds.  What people notice is your attitude.  Do you radiate positivity and light?  Are you fun to be around?  Do you smile and laugh?

I ended 2012 wanting more than should have.  I wanted to look back on 2013 with gratitude, pride, and confidence.  I wanted to wake up feeling energized, excited, and at ease more often than not.  I had no idea how to accomplish any of that…but I knew that I was going to make it happen.  I felt it.  And on January 1 things started to shift when I opened to the first day of May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein.

fear

This affirmation became my foundation for 2013.  I committed to witnessing and releasing my fear on a moment to moment basis.  I dug deep in 2013 and reframed how I approached my life.  Instead of sitting on the sidelines waiting for perfection, I dove in and got to work.  And the surprising thing is – once my mindset changed, I was able to effortlessly make life changes.  I’ve been struggling with my diet for years and years (basically my entire life!) and always told myself that it would be impossible to eliminate dairy even though it made me sick.  This year was different.  Instead of telling myself how hard it was going to be and how I would fail, I told myself that I would feel better once I did it and that was that.  No more dairy.  Do I still salivate over a slice of pizza or bowl of macaroni and cheese?  Yes.  Do I have a bite here and there?  Yes.  But those bites are becoming few and far between and it’s amazing.  This is just one (major) example of how 2013 has been a year of change.   I witnessed my fear voice and chose to see things differently.  I’ve learned (and continue to learn) to make space for myself to make mistakes and practice radical self-forgiveness.

mistakes

This is the first time that I can remember being truly jazzed about the end of the year.  And not because 2013 was so terrible that I’m just waiting for the clock to strike midnight so that I can finally close the door on the year.  But because I’m really happy with the journey I’ve been on this year, proud of where I am, and excited for what’s to come in 2014.  I feel a sense of peace that is brand new to me.  It’s liberating and energizing!

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{Photo source: http://www.yourjoyologist.com}

I hope you’ve had a great 2013 and are just as excited for 2014 as I am!  I’m not into resolutions but instead use this time of year to think about how I want to feel moving forward.  I encourage you to do the same and here are some of my favorite resources on creating an awesome 2014!

Make a “Feel My Best” list with Megan – a list of all of the things that make you feel like a rockstar and commit to doing them more often.  I’m planning to make my list tomorrow and will share it with you.

Make 2014 miraculous with these 14 tips from Gabby.  I want to focus on starting my day right (no email at 4am!) and on having more fun.

Drop kick your comfort zone in 2014 along with Jenny.  I’m excited to move beyond my comfort zone this year and try new (and scary) things.  I want to grow and learn more about myself in 2014.

Here are 5 resolutions for being awesome that you’ll actually want to make.  “I will feel it out over flipping out.” is my favorite!

Decide to make these 5 goals instead of resolutions.

Get out there and enjoy the final day of 2013.  Happy New Year!