I started this blog a year ago today, when I decided that 2013 was going to be “The Year of the Huber.” The goal was to do a whole bunch of stuff, not to turn anything down, try new things, make new friends, and think outside the box. My husband and I had a great year – we went to San Francisco Beer Week, had a lot of great experiences with family and friends, and ended the year with a fun trip to Disney World and my brother-in-law’s wedding. The year also had its low moments – we lost Bradley’s grandmother, and I was away most of the summer for work. Every year, every day, has it highs and lows. But overall, 2013 was very good to the Hubers.
As I reflect on last year, my mantra of “try new things” and “don’t say no to anything” actually turned out to be stressful. I ended up over committing myself and having things to do every single night of the week. Now, I will say that those things were fun, and I’m glad I did them; however, it did make little time for other things like writing, keeping up with my housework, and relaxation time. Although I had a lot fun and began some new journeys, I learned that doing EVERYTHING is not a great idea. So, this year, I’m taking a different approach.
I’ve decided that instead of “resolutions,” I’m going to create mantras this year. The difference? By definition, a “resolution” is a firm decision to do or not do something; whereby a “mantra” is a word or sound repeated to aid concentration (mostly in meditation). I see a resolution as being short term. When you think of New Year’s resolutions, you think of giving up on them. Most people go into the new year boldly, mostly with resolutions having to do with health – going back to the gym and/or dieting – or other people – getting away from drama or spending more time with family. Those people go out on January 1 and meet the new year head on, walking proudly into the gym or intently cleaning out their Facebook friends. By March, most of them find themselves back on the couch watching TV and back up to 875 friends on Facebook. If they’re lucky, some might last until the summer. Ultimately, though, most people’s resolutions fly out the window.
Mantras, on the other hand, are sacred. They are habits you want to form. Inspirational words to tell yourself when you’re down. Words to live by, not just this year, not just today, but every day. I want to reinvent myself, create new habits, inspire and motivate myself, not force myself into “resolutions” that most likely won’t stick. So instead of selecting a bunch of resolutions this year, I’ve selected three, just three, mantras to live by.
MANTRA #1: DON’T OVER COMMIT
One thing that I’ve learned about myself over time: I want to do everything. It’s difficult for me to say no, especially to things that seem like fun or things that I either want to do or feel obligated to do. This year, I’m going to repeat to myself, “Don’t over commit.” Don’t take on too much. Give yourself time to relax. Give yourself down time. You deserve it. It’s not about choosing one thing over another; it’s about doing what feeds your soul. Only do the things that you love in life, and throw the things out that don’t do anything for you. Spend your time wisely. You only have so much of it.
MANTRA #2: LIVE YOUR DREAM
Why shouldn’t I? Why shouldn’t you? Don’t be afraid to fail. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Don’t doubt yourself. You can do anything you dream to do. Everyone has wonderful ideas every day. Have you ever said to yourself, “GAH! I had that idea 5 years ago!” when you see something on TV or a business someone started? The only difference between you and that person is that person believed in him/herself just a little more than you did. You didn’t bring that idea to fruition because you didn’t have the money, or you didn’t have the contacts, or you didn’t have the time, or whatever other reason you told yourself. You are your own obstacle. Remove yourself from getting in your own way, and see where your dreams can take you. Surprise yourself!
For me, that’s finishing writing my novel. And then keep writing. I have so many great stories in my head, and I know I can teach something to the world through them. I’ve doubted myself thus far – publishing is so difficult, I don’t have the time to write, there are so many authors out there, I’ll never make it. But guess what? None of that matters. Writing makes me happy. It doesn’t matter if the things I write never see the light of day. What matters is that I’m doing what I love.
MANTRA #3: DO WHAT FEEDS YOUR SOUL
Read more. I love to read, and I don’t read enough. Make new friends. Spend time with family. Write. Attend literary events and conferences. Travel. Stop spending time on things that don’t matter. Unplug. Spend less time watching TV and wasting time on Facebook. Actually live life, live in the moment, and stop spending so much time behind a screen, whether that be computer, TV, or phone. Don’t text or check e-mail while driving. Instead, put on music you love, turn it up to 11, and jam. Don’t overwork yourself. Don’t check e-mail or take work phone calls on the weekends, at night, or on your days off. When you leave work, actually leave. Be present. Take it all in and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Show your loved ones how you feel about them. You may not have them tomorrow. Laugh. Tell jokes. Give hugs and kisses. Do what you love. Spend time with who you love. Recognize what matters in life. Pay attention to all the beauty of the world. Stop worrying and fretting over something someone said, over a chore that didn’t get done, over a missed deadline. Worrying does nothing but waste time and energy. When you worry, you aren’t hurting anyone but yourself. What other people think of you is none of your business, and what you think of them is none of theirs. Let go of past hurt. Holding a grudge only hurts you.
Every morning and every evening, I’m going to say to myself: Don’t over commit, live your dream, do what feeds your soul. Three times. Twice a day. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. If I tell myself these things twice a day, and I believe them when I say them, eventually, it will just be how I live life. This year, I’m not looking for resolutions. I’m going to find myself.