My Mantra for 2014

statues in bali

Over the past few weeks, I’ve read countless posts filled with other writers’ resolutions for the new year. Some have resolved to only make and keep one resolution, while many others have written lists upon lists of goals they want to accomplish before the year is up. I’ve been struggling with how to format my own goals for 2014, as 2013 taught me that life is not entirely in your control and that you do need to prepare for hiccups along the way. So, should I set SMART goals? Have stretch goals? Be realistic or ambitious? Ok, it’s fairly safe to say that I’m often more realistic than ambitious, so that’s a silly question. But this year, I’ve decided instead to live by a mantra:

Do good, feel good.

What exactly does that mean? And in what situations could this mantra apply? It’s taken me a couple of weeks to answer those questions for myself, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

If you type “do good definition” into Google, the search results suggest it means one of two things: to make a helpful contribution to a situation, or to act virtuously (morally) – especially by helping others. So, if my mantra for 2014 is to do good, I need to be more helpful all around – plain and simple. Sounds easy enough, right? But I’d like to take it a step further and say that “doing good” also requires that I be good, meaning well-behaved. And I don’t just mean that in the literal sense of my behaviour, but that I must aim to do a good job of everything I touch. I’m not aiming for greatness here – I just want to be good.

I want to be good at my job. Over the last year, I set some pretty high expectations for myself at work, and whenever I couldn’t meet them I felt as though I had failed. But I’m the only person who set the bar that high – nobody made me do that. This year, I’m setting more realistic expectations for myself in my position, as well as forcing myself to take real breaks – both during work hours, and in the form of real weekends and vacations. By working smarter, not harder, my hope is I’ll be a better employee and managing editor overall.

I want to be good to my body. In fact, it’s safe to say that health will be my top priority this year. I could tell you that I’d like to workout x-number of times each week, lose x-many pounds or fit into a particular clothing size, but those aren’t the goals I want to set or reach this year. Instead, I want to workout in a way that will help my body heal from my accident. I won’t be tracking my running pace or training for any races… I just want to workout as often as I can and, one day, not feel stuck by residual pain.

I also want to be good at listening to my body. And not just at the gym. I’ve been paying more and more attention to how I feel after I eat certain foods lately, but I want to slowly eat less and less of those foods. I want to nap for 20 minutes when I feel I need to, and go to bed / wake up at times that work best for me. I want to take a rest day from the gym whenever I need it, and switch up my workouts to do what will help me feel my best. Most of all, I want to trust my gut always; doing so in the past has always been worth it.

I want to be a good member of my family. I want to spend more time with my parents and siblings, make more time for extended family and help wherever possible. I also want to “enjoy the now” when we’re together, because time and priorities have a tendency to change often. For example, this summer, Baby Bro will be moving to another province, and I’ll likely only see him a few times each year after that. So, we need to take advantage of our close proximity now, before life takes us to new places yet again.

I want to be a good friend. Since many of my friendships are long-distance, that means checking in more and being more thoughtful. I like to think I’m good about sending thoughtful texts and cards, but I’m sure I can do better. I also want to continue to build the new friendships I’ve developed over the last couple of years, especially the very new ones I’ve made since moving to Greater Vancouver. Friends are the family you choose for yourself, and I want mine to know that’s what they mean to me.

Finally, I want to do some good in my community. I’ve started to, by doing things like joining the YWCA’s high school mentorship program, donating blood for the first time and making charitable donations a priority, but I know I can do more. I don’t have a plan mapped out for this goal yet, other than to donate blood on a regular basis, but I’ll be looking for something I can donate my time to this year. I’m thinking/hoping it’ll be along the lines of literacy, if not financial literacy, but I guess we’ll see…

Since my mantra is “do good, feel good,” you can imagine my hope is that by doing all of these things I will feel better overall. Mostly, what I’m looking for this year is to find some balance. I don’t want to set the bar too far out of reach, I don’t want to face another panic attack and I really don’t want to move again. I simply want to set down some roots, establish a healthy routine, foster my relationships and take care of myself. And if life tries to get in the way, I’ll continue to adjust, as I do.

And if you’re not satisfied with my mantra, and you really want to see a list of goals, I’ve obviously mapped some out (hey, I’m a planner!). In 2014, I want to:

  • boost my Emergency Fund to $10,000
  • contribute $5,000 to my RRSP
  • travel wherever my budget allows (dreaming of New Orleans, Denver, and either the UK or Indonesia)
  • purchase a new bed, as well as a desk and chair
  • finish the Canadian Securities Course / pass the exam
  • start communicating offline more
  • read 24 books (or more!)
  • incorporate yoga into my workouts
  • donate blood at least quarterly
  • give back whenever, wherever, however possible

If you could only accomplish one thing this year, what would it be and why?

Flickr: michis0806