January is synonymous with reflection for many of us, and I can’t help but fall into the same goal pit. Usually I look back at the previous year, evaluate, and see what I want to improve on in January. However, this time I decide to take a different approach.

3 ways I decided to enrich my upcoming year:

1. Focus on a word

2. Let go

3. Go beyond my comfort zone

Focus on a Word:

Last year I had many new beginnings, including starting a new job, living in a new city, and having new adventures. It was a lot of adjustments and at the same time I was discovering who I was in this new setting. As I reflected on the past year, I realized I did a lot of great things, but I still wanted more, which led me to my word for 2017: Build.

“Build” encompasses all the things I want to do in just one word:

Build my body: I exercise regularly, consume only gluten free foods, and try to be dairy free when I can. But I know I can do better. I need to commit to more strategic workouts to achieve my fitness goals which are to gain more muscle and have less fat (according to my free training session at the gym, my fat composition is a little high for my body proportions). In addition, I want and need to build a foundation for my nutrition so I can avoid stomach pains and migraines, which I frequently do, when I’m not being conscious of the food entering my body (damn you, gluten).

Build my career: I want to focus on the parts of my career that make me happy and will better my career in the long run. This includes the opportunity to enhance where I know I can do better, and demonstrate my skills that much more.

Build my relationships: Allow myself to achieve closer relationships with the friends who choose to be there in return. We have a lot of connections these days, especially with all our “Facebook friends” but it’s those who choose to text you just to say hello, and those who make time to grab a glass of wine, are the ones I want to spend more time cultivating and showing my appreciation for.

Build myself: Overall, it’s about building my happiness overall, and that starts with me, and finding what makes me happy each day. I know this year I want to try to use less tech/devices in my free time, and consider trying things like meditation. Find a quiet place and time for myself, even 5–10 minutes a day.

I choose to build this year, some from the ground up, but mostly re-working the foundation that’s already been built through the years.

Let Go:

A lot of us have a goals list when it comes to resolutions. What we want to achieve, what we want to focus on, the things we want to accomplish before year’s end. But what about what we want less of?

There have been multiple memes at year’s end showing how frazzled and worn out people have felt. I know I’ve had my own share of it, but why let it move into the next year? We have a choice on what we bring with us, and what we decide to say, “hell no” to.

So instead…Let go.

This year I’ve decided I want to let go of the following:

Let go of anger, anxiety and worry — Easier said than done. But I want to be mindful of what concerns me, realize it, and if I can make a change to fix it, I will. If I cannot, I need to realize I can’t and move forward.

Let go of being body conscious of the things I can’t fix — I am who I am, and I want to be proud of it.

Let go of planning — I have always been a Grade A planner to a fault. I could plan a vacation months in advance. And although I do have a friend’s bachelorette and bridal shower to plan (fun obligations), I want to go more with the flow (and maybe let others plan instead). Allow myself a break to focus on other priorities.

Let go of control — because not everything can or should be something I can control, and that’s ok.

Let go of being “on” 24/7 — Taking the time to be “off” sometimes.

Let go of being what everyone else wants — letting myself be a “little” selfish sometimes.

Let go — and just breathe.

In the end, it’s a practice of being more mindful of my own needs and wants, and let go of the rest.

Go Beyond My Comfort Zone:

Like “letting go” instead of the regular “to do list” of weight, career, relationships, and self love. Let’s take it a bit further.

I know I want to push myself to go beyond my comfort zone. Try things I’ve been afraid to do, push my body to new limits, and encourage myself to do more. It’s not necessarily negating the categories of health, career, relationships, and love, but pushing them to new limits. Providing new aspirations to achieve, rather than the regular… I want to lose 10 pounds.

What will “we” do to lose those 10 pounds? Will it be going on yet, another diet? Why not make it a lifestyle, and allow your body to feel healthy all year round? Instead of just joining a new gym, invest in a training schedule (with a trainer, a friend, or yourself). Have someone hold you accountable for the training you want to achieve to be stronger in both body, and mind.

For me it will involve my actionable plans. For example, at the beginning of each week I will assess the week before, and set out a new list for that week on both nutrition and exercise as my overall goals this year is to be “stronger”. To do so, I know I need to focus on more weight training, and focused exercise sessions, versus just jumping on an elliptical to get something in. Each day (with one day off) will involve a different strategic workout or exercise class. In addition, a meal plan will be set for the week with meal prep on Sunday evenings, so I can’t say, hey I don’t have anything to eat. I’m pushing myself further.

But again it is not just about food and exercise. Perhaps it’s taking a solo trip to have time to yourself. Maybe you’re scared you’ll be lonely or feel scared to travel alone. Maybe that’s the reason to do it…to show yourself you can. Pick a place you’ve always had your sights set on, and book it.

This year. Go beyond the norm. Push yourself. Beyond what you planned.

Beyond your comfort zone.

Originally published at medium.com