For some people, New Year’s resolutions are a way of life. Maybe you have a shortlist on your phone or maybe you made a spreadsheet outlining your strategic goals and key performance indicators. Maybe you are someone who thinks the entire thing is a whole bunch of hoopla. Either way, as we enter a new decade, it is important to sit down, reflect, and ask yourself some tough questions. Think of life as a drive through — you do not want to be the person stuttering “Can I get … uhhhhh.” You want to know exactly what you want so that life can hand it to you.
Amy Jin, life coach, speaker and leadership coach for founders in New York City, spent the first 13 years of her life working in tech and climbing the corporate ladder. She started a retail fashion startup with her best friend. She built teams and launched products for Google internationally. She was living the “dream” but did not know how to take care of herself or ask for help. After a really bad case of burnt out landed her in the hospital, she decided she wanted to take some time off to learn what her purpose in life was really about. “I was willing to work hard and dedicate my life to something, but I wanted to know what that something was, and I wanted it to be centered around serving others,” says Jin. Burn out often means that we are overextending ourselves and failing to check-in. We forget that taking care of ourselves is a beautiful necessary act of selfishness. I spoke with Jin to get a rundown on what we should be asking ourselves daily to make the most of this new decade, stay grateful and avoid burn out.
How do I want to be?
“Every morning I set my intention, which affects how I approach things. When you come from a place that says, ‘I want to be generous today’ or ‘I want to be happy today,’ it is so much easier to not get ticked off when someone cuts you off or messes up your coffee. Time travel into your 80-year-old self. Check-in with that perspective. Do you think that you will still be mad or stressed at whatever is bothering you when you are 80? When you are sitting in that rocking chair, what was important to you? What is important to you? Emotions and thoughts all arise, and they all pass away. Remember that knowledge, that wisdom. That what you feel right now will not always be here forever.”
What am I grateful for?
“This can be experiences or lessons you learned. Tapping into gratitude. Saying, ‘I received a lot this year, I feel lucky. Thank you for those things.’ Practice gratitude every day. Whether it be when you wake up or before falling asleep. Write down three things that you are grateful for. Pick things that actually make you feel the emotion of gratitude, that is the important part. It could be your contact lenses, actually feeling grateful for them. It could be the same thing every day too, like your parents. If you can’t find anything to be grateful for, ask yourself if that is really true? If you really feel this way how does it impact your life? Remember that there is a kernel between truth and perception. Go deeper. Ask yourself the question 3-5 times and you will find something. Remember that you are alive. Many of us have our health, and the spare time to read this site. Compare yourself to people who do not have nearly as much as you.”
What can I give back to others?
“What parts of yourself did you give to others? Did you listen to somebody? Did you show up for a friend? Did you open the door for somebody? Whatever it is. Giving as an emotion is really good and healthy for us. It isn’t about giving a dollar or giving hours of your time. It could be as simple as giving your smile to someone. Look at the universe as this exchange of information that you give and receive. Set a morning intention and write it down. Appreciate and bring awareness to all that you give.”
What did I learn today and what am I looking forward to learning?
“When we reflect on what we have learned, it gets baked into our long-term memory and helps become a part of us. List it all down on a piece of paper. Reframe negative experiences by asking what you could learn from it. Remember that all the experiences brought to you in life are there to serve you and help you grow. Growth is what keeps us going and what keeps us human. It is what helps us feel like we are making progress, which also leads to happiness. When we announce or write down what we learned and/or looking forward to learning, we make that the focus for our minds, which then makes us more likely to find it.”
What do I need to let go of and make room for?
“There are a lot of things that hold you back. Holding on to resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Who do you need to forgive? Make a pros and cons list outlining the benefits of letting go versus the cons of ruminating and keeping it all in. Remember that letting go is an act of love for yourself. You may never get an apology from that person who wronged you. You can, however, give yourself whatever you need to heal what is damaged in you. Acknowledge that you are hurt. Talk it through and process it with a professional. Perhaps you ask for closure, write a letter that you never send or visualize them giving you an apology. If you are constantly thinking about things or people that have upset you, you won’t have room for new things to come flooding in. Every second that you free up is another second/minute/hour of brain space and energy to focus on what you really want to get out of life.”
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