A better YOU in 2018 or any other year!

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                                          How to improve YOU in 2018 or any year

With the beginning of any New Year comes the inevitable New Year resolutions. New Year Resolutions are commonly centered on losing weight, finding romance, getting healthy, quitting bad habits or being more successful. Many, if not most, resolutions fail. I believe resolutions fail because people try to change who they are superficially instead of tapping into the unique person they were born to be.  Resolutions are often promises made to be a “ new you”, “better you” or “improved you”.  I believe we become better not by recreating “outer” selves but by stretching and growing “inner” ourselves. We stretch by challenging ourselves to step beyond our current comfort zones and current status. Through every stretch we grow and become a better version of ourselves. To me this is the goal for any year, any month, any week, or any day…become a better version of yourself. Here are a list of 5 things to start your stretching and growing in 2018 or any year. I have found that they work for me so try them and see if they work for you.  What do you have to lose?

  1. Try new music. Music is good for your mood and your soul. However, we often get stuck in a rut of the same type of music. My natural default is Hip/Hop (90’s) and R&B (90’s). However, there are so many genres of music and so many great music artist to explore. Why limit yourself to the same few artists and the same genre. I try to expand my musical palette by choosing famous artist from genres I normally do not listen to and load up my playlist. I listen to this playlist in my car, at work or around the house. My palette has expanded to genres like country, r& b classics, rock & roll, opera, & more. I have become acquainted with musicians over time such as Johnny Mathis, Pavarotti, Glenn Campbell, Janis Joplin , Thundercat , the Bee Gees, Billy Holiday ,Sam Cooke , The Doobies Brothers ,Al Green, Sinatra and many more.( and I still find time for my Tupac!).  Listening and appreciating different music is like understanding different cultures and languages.
  2. Find a new hobby. Hobbies are the way we learn new things and expand our knowledge or skill set. Hobbies can be do it yourself projects, outdoor projects, exercise activities, or something that you take lessons to learn. There are so many different things to learn in the world why continue to do the same things over and over. When you leave organized schooling, you are responsible for the curriculum of your learning. I have a friend who is constantly looking for new hobbies or new things to try (He just sent me an invitation to learn the Olympic sport of curling!). If you like sports, learn about a new sport.  Your new hobby can be cooking, painting, baking, cycling, running, antiquing, chess, soccer, music lessons, photography, learning or new language or anything you find interest.  Stick with it for a year, learn all you can about it and see what happens.
  3. Read books. I am an educator so I love reading. However reading is the way to learn. Reading is a good escape to different places and into the lives of different people. I personally like biographies and learning about the lives, struggles, successes, and failures of other people. However, I read books on my profession, personal interests, fiction or popular reads. Reading expands your mind so don’t limit yourself to books, but read articles and magazines as well. The more you read the more you know.
  4. Take time to spend quality time. There is no greater gift we are given than time. How we chose to spend that time and who we choose to spend it with are so important. Take time to spend quality time with those who are important to you. Quality time is time spent in conversation without distractions, making new memories, reminiscing on good memories, laughing, sharing opinions, and sharing your dreams. Spend time with your friends, your colleagues, your family, your spouse, your mentors and mentees.  Conversation is the life line that connects people. Social media conversation does not count! Going out, partying and not remembering what you did… doesn’t count either. Take time to have lunch with, check on or visit with that friend or relative that you have been putting off. Send kind texts or leave nice voicemails .Take your kids (or nieces/nephews) to the park or playground. You will be glad you did and your life will be better.
  5. All writing does not have to be for a grade, assignment or classroom. Writing is not limited and relegated to academics, scholars or professionals. Buy a journal. Write daily or write once a week. Journal your thoughts, your reactions to news events, your dreams, events in your life, and your goals. Your thoughts are as a valid as anyone else’s thoughts. Your story is as real as any story written in any book. Writing helps to organize the thoughts in your mind and helps give them life.  You would be surprised at the thoughts which are floating in your mind which are waiting to be chronicled in print.