We are in the midst of the Christmas holiday season. Salvation army bells are ringing outside of grocery stores and people are in full holiday mode, singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” But there is another tune that people like to claim around this time of year. It's that “New Year, New Me” chant that everyone likes to sing when it gets close to bringing in the new year. People are creating a plethora of new year’s resolutions to make next year better than the year before, but what makes a year better than the last? You.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a crime to want to become a better version of yourself, and we do in fact grow each year, but I want to challenge you to get more in tune with yourself. Get to know yourself a little better, you might find that if you put in a little self-work you don’t have to become a “New You” every year.
We are constantly evolving as individuals. We get married, we raise children, we start and end careers. We lose loved ones, we move to new cities, we develop new friendships, and we must let some friendships dissipate. Through all these changes, how often do we stop to assess ourselves? Where does one even start?
I want to advise everyone to stop what they are doing and listen to Bevy Smith’s Ted Talk on YouTube called, “How to Discover Your Authentic Self at Any Age.” She opens her Ted Talk with these words:
“I am 55 and I’m here in this curvy body as someone who has done the work, lived the life, walked the walk in these very high heels and therefore is qualified to testify in the church and in the court of law that it does in fact, get greater later.”
When I was listening to Bevy’s Ted Talk the words that stuck out to me the most in her opening was “I’ve done the work.” I knew what kind of work she was talking about, self-work. Self- work, the exercise of working and improving oneself. It is solely the hardest work I have ever had to do, and it can feel like it’s never ending, but if you check in with yourself regularly you will find that you are making strides and grooming yourself for a healthier version of you.
Bevy Smith, an American television personality and businesswoman, goes on to tell the story about how long it took to discover her authentic self, at age 55, she knows who she is and what she wants out of life. Bevy took time to evaluate who she was and what she needed to do to ensure she was living her best life every day, but how long will it take you? A long time if you don’t start your self-work today.
The coined term, “Living your best life,” is probably deemed as overrated by now but at the same time it’s not. It’s a lifestyle we should all adopt. It means that we have a choice. We can choose to make our lives great, and the definition of a great life is subjective. But it all starts with improving ourselves.
Personally, I’m not waiting on retirement or my babies to get older to start enjoying my life. I desire to live my best life every day, every week. As I continue to grow there are some things, I may not discover for years to come, but I know I am on the right path through my reflection time. I can share a few of my current discoveries:
At age 36, I prefer honest feedback on a platter, but it must come before dessert. I need my feedback to be followed up with a dish of encouragement.
I prefer home workouts and walks in the park over a gym membership any day. Cardio in the morning is my favorite energy boost activity.
The same routine everyday creates burnout for me, which can be common if you have kids that are on a schedule. So, I take every opportunity to change things up a bit.
I prefer to write my goals down because that makes them legit and I’m more likely to accomplish them.
I set boundaries with social media networks because it keeps me from being productive in other areas of my life.
I have learned to invest in my mental health and to encourage myself daily. The voice we hear the most is our own, so I am kind to myself. I encourage myself.
I accept that I can’t change anything I said or did in the past, so I keep pressing forward with more wisdom, not to repeat past mistakes.
As a mom of two toddlers, its easier to wish for the days when your children will be more independent, but I have learned to embrace every stage of parenting because each stage will come with its own trials.
These are a few reflections that have made my days more fulfilling, which in turn has allowed me to be more in tune with myself.
Bevy gives her tips on how she discovered her authentic self. You can find hers in her Ted Talk, but I want to share a few of my own that have helped me on my journey. If you follow these steps, you will be on your way to putting more of your authentic self into the world and making your upcoming year even better than before.
Tips on how to ramp up your self- work journey:
Connect with a licensed therapist- I believe everyone should try therapy at least once in their lives. You never know what you will discover from your past that may be able to help you on your present journey.
Take a social media break- Take a break from all of the opinions and all of the comments and eyes on your life. Stop worrying about what other people think about your life, practice the exercise of being fully present in your own life.
Identify your core values- Identifying your core values could take some time, but some will come easy. Values are special because they can’t be compromised. When you operate out of your core values you are tapping into your authentic self.
Write down the vision for the life that you want- Writing the vision will build stronger self- awareness of the things you want to manifest in your life.
Be intentional about how you want to spend your time- Our time is something we can’t get back and tomorrow is promised to no one. So, take time to assess how you want to spend your days and who you want to spend them with.
Seek feedback- Whether you are seeking feedback about your work performance, or from friendships and or a spouse. Truly receive the feedback and embrace it as an opportunity for growth.
Enjoy Bevy Smith's Talk HERE: