Can you believe it? It’s the last day of the year. After today, 2015 will be no more than a memory. Tomorrow brings so much hope and promise; a brand new year is literally right around the corner, and it’s going to be a good one. I want each and every one of us to live our best life in 2016. To have our best year ever. To live lives that make us feel fulfilled and that are purpose-driven. But in order to live your best life in 2016, you first need to know what it is that makes you feel joyful and fulfilled in the first place.
When was the last time you actually sat down and thought about the things that bring you the most joy? I had this conversation with myself earlier this week after suffering a minor (major?) breakdown. I found myself so sad one afternoon that I broke down and cried for almost an hour for no reason at all. Looking back I can see that there were tons of reasons why. For one thing, it’s been pretty gloomy in New York City, and the lack of natural light is really having a serious affect on me. Then there’s my recent realization that I’m totally fed up with my day job and have been feeling a bit trapped because I’m unhappy for half the day every single Monday through Friday. Add an overload of estrogen and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm of overwhelm and angst that would bring anybody to tears.
That was a dark day (figuratively and literally), and I never want to be in such a dark place again. I’ve been there before: I was diagnosed with mild depression as an undergrad and actually withdrew from an entire semester of classes because I was too sad to get out of bed in the morning. I know what depression can do when you give in to it, and that’s not how I was going to start my 2016.
So I prayed. I prayed, and I started reciting lyrics for one of my favorite songs…
“Oh how I love You. How I love You.
You have not forsaken me.
Oh how I love You. How I love You.
With You is where I want to be.
I reminded myself that God has worked MIRACLES for me in 2015. He’s given me blessings on blessings on blessings. He hasn’t forsaken me. And He wants me to experience JOY. Not sorrow, not depression. But JOY.
So I grabbed a sheet of paper and started writing all of the things that bring me complete and utter joy. Like natural light and going out for walks; going to church and being involved in ministry; playing the piano and riding a bike; reading a good book and visiting new places! I don’t think I’ve been happier in 2015 than when I was in Thailand or South Africa (which is where all the photos for this post were taken). I wrote whatever came to mind for a few minutes and then I looked at my “happiness list” and realized that I wasn’t making time to do most of the things that were on that list.
We’re dreamers. We’re overachievers. All year we’ve been pushing ourselves to become the best versions of “us.” Like me, some of you are looking to launch your own businesses. But personal and professional development may not be all we need in order to feel like we’re living a full life. I took the Abbott LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. quiz and learned that my spirituality and having the spare time to do the things I love most are necessary for me to feel like I’m living my best life, in addition to feeling accomplished personally and professionally. Abbott is committed to helping you live fully and strive to be a happier, healthier version of yourself, and they’ve set out to find what living fully means to people around the globe.
So what does it mean to live your best life in 2016? It means living JOYfully. It means learning what makes you feel fulfilled (which you can discover by taking the Abbott LIFE. TO THE FULLEST. quiz). Living your best life in 2016 is recognizing when you need to remind yourself of the things that bring you joy and make you feel fulfilled. It means making time to stop and do what makes you happy, even if it has nothing to do with building your personal brand or business. Living your best life is living with JOY no matter what your circumstances and remembering you haven’t been forsaken. It’s being present in each and every moment.
So here’s to your best life ever. Here’s to 2016.