For this new year, I started to think about how I would like to define my year in 2017. The idea of having a motto to live by really sparked my interest. As I did some research, I came across the idea of "choosing joy". This really stuck out for me, as I tend to have really high expectations of myself and often feel let down and become discouraged if those expectations are not met.
To choose joy takes mindfulness and intention. Often I can get caught up in the spiral of disappointment, and I want to live in less of that this year. I have allowed myself to practice over this first week or so of the new year and the impact has been surprisingly encouraging. It is an overwhelming feeling - in the best way possible.
It is so easy to get caught up in the little things that go wrong, instead of seeing everything that is going right.
Negativity pulls us in like a whirlpool that sucks us down into the water. The negativity begins to drown us and we no longer feel like we can pull ourselves up above the water to breathe.
Can you relate?
Like I said, I gave it a test run and I cannot lie, I can't stop smiling. However, I do not want to give you a false illusion that it is easy to always maintain this positivity. In fact my husband could quickly tell you that I am very quick to focus on the negative in certain situations. Situations that feel too close to home and pull me down like a ton of bricks. I know that I am not alone in this and therefore why I share in vulnerability. We are all human and we struggle. And you know what? That's okay!
However, the reason for the smile that can't go away.. because I intentionally chose joy. I chose to find the things that I am currently grateful for and really take those in. Breathe them in like fresh air. When I started to focus on all of the good things that are going on and I truly allowed myself to feel those good emotions, it felt very satisfying.
Not only has this experience brought me a lot of joy so far, but it has also challenged me. It has brought me out of my comfort zone and allowed for me to grow. I am always challenging others to grow and a life long motto that I live by is that if I am going to challenge someone else to grow, then I also need to be willing to do that myself.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we have to be happy go lucky people all of the time, as we live in life and that is just not realistic. But, when you have a moment. Take a chance to experience what true joy feels like. Take a moment to find things that you are grateful for, and maybe it is something small. But even so, give yourself the opportunity to genuinely feel that body rush of joy.
What can you find joy in this year? And how can you remind yourself to engage in this exercise of choosing joy? Especially in the times that it is the hardest to get to that place.
What motto would you choose to define 2017? Choose something that you feel will challenge you and will also motivate and encourage you.
I would love to hear what your motto is, tell me in the comments below!