Happy New Year!!!
I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’ ~ Maya Angelou
People have the tendency to look to the beginning of the calendar year as a time make a change in their lifestyle whether it is to set goals for your education and career, health & fitness, self-enrichment or a combination of all three. The belief is that once mid-January has passed, making a commitment to any kind of change is less effective than at the beginning of a new year, which symbolizes a clean slate. In the past, I too have fallen into this trap. I now know that my plan of action does not have to coincide with a specific date (January 1), or event (50th birthday), or place (rock-bottom).
It just has to commence.
Career & Education: If you are in a traditional work environment, you spend at least eight hours of your day at the office. That is one third of your workday, or one half of your time awake assuming you get eight hours of sleep per night (does anyone?). It would therefore be ideal if you actually enjoy what you do to earn a living.
When I was in high school, my parents stressed the importance of getting a traditional education to secure a job in a traditional career such as teaching, law or medicine although my interest was in the creative arts, particularly drawing and designing. My career path led me to the field of Advertising which afforded me a certain level of creativity to satisfy my interests and need to be artistically stimulated and productive. Years later when my daughter expressed a fascination with the culinary field at the age of six, I actively encouraged her, and she later developed a keen interest and extraordinary skill in Art. She has now graduated from culinary school, and has combined both her skills, resulting in her producing custom-designed cakes and pastries that are currently in demand…and in turn experiencing satisfaction in her career of choice.
The old adage “If you love what you are doing to earn a living, you will never work a day in your life,” has never been truer. My advice to students today, is to pursue their dreams and to ensure that they are really choosing the path they love, and not what someone else would love them to do. There are many more non-traditional career options today, than back when I was a student in school. Take advantage of them.
Health & Fitness: The landscape of Jamaica has undergone a change in recent years. Health, Diet and Exercise seem to be the Buzzwords of the Day. More persons are taking charge of what they do with their bodies – both positively and negatively. This is supported by the Jamaican Government’s current Jamaica Moves Campaign which has sensitized many citizens to the importance of being active in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reducing incidence of non-communicable illnesses. We all want to live longer and this is seen as one way to achieve this goal.
Enrichment of Self: Activities of Enrichment of the individual have become more commonplace than ever before. Classes in drawing and painting, photography, Reiki, ceramics and jewelry –making, are far more available than a few years ago. These activities can provide a balance and fulsomeness in our lives which at times overwhelm us with the day to day (and sometimes mundane) tasks we face and execute.
My affinity for nature and exercise synergize with my love for hiking, running and photography, yielding unforgettable images of nature on my various jaunts. These serve to recharge my energy cells when my internal battery is running low.
Before any of these lifestyle changes can be achieved, however, there has to be a starting point, and this can be the most difficult part of your Plan of Action for Change.
My recommendations to increase the odds of you achieving success are to:
- Actually Make a Plan: Your plan should be detailed enough to clearly state what you would like to achieve, but simple enough that it is not insurmountable.
- Set Your Goals: The first part of your plan should state the goals you wish to achieve. Completing each goal will result in increasing the odds of your plan’s successful execution.
- Set Timelines…but realize that inevitably these may need to have some fluidity as Life may intervene. Setbacks are not roadblocks, but can be used to re-evaluate the plan of action.
- Understand that Failure is not Fatal. You may not always succeed, however each time you surmount an obstacle, it will make you stronger (as long as you do not quit at that point).
- Re-evaluate: You should re-evaluate your plan from time to time to ensure that your original intention or objective has not changed and that you still have it as your priority. If your goal is no longer what you had initially identified, feel free to modify. Just as goals may change, so can you.
Your “New Year” begins when you put your plan of action into place.
Happy New Year!!!!