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January 02, 2017

Draw on past experiences to make 2017 the best year yet

It is common to hear people talk about how they are going to be different in the New Year. They discuss things that they are going to give up and things that they are going to stop doing. Some hope for radical change and picture themselves being a different person as a new year begins.

I was walking with my friend a few weeks ago and we were talking about this concept of, “New Year, new you,” and how it was actually a total misconception. I told her that I was going to write an article themed, “New Year, same you,” and discuss the alternate perspective, and so, this story was born.

In reality, we can never change the person that we are. We can certainly change our behaviors and shift our priorities, but we cannot change our person, nor should we want to.

A few years ago, when I was going through a harder time in my life, a woman told me not to be upset about decisions that I made in the past. She explained, “your life is a collection of experiences, good or bad. They all go into your hypothetical ‘bag’ and you make future decisions based on what you have learned. You can’t change what is in your bag, or anyone else’s for that matter, you can only use the contents to make more informed decisions moving forward.”

With that in mind, use the New Year as a time to reflect on your past experiences and think about what you have learned from them. What has worked for you and what has not been successful for you? Be grateful for positive experiences and contemplate what may have led to negative experiences. Take note, without judgment.

How can you use what you have learned to make this a better year? Perhaps there are some things that you are doing currently that you would like to continue doing. Maybe there are some things that you have learned to stay away from.

Whatever the case, don’t be too hard on yourself. We are all imperfect and it is important to see the humanity in ourselves and in others. The sooner we can accept that, the sooner we can learn to use our past experiences as tools to navigate our future experiences more intelligently.

Here’s to a happier and healthier 2017 for all of you. I hope this perspective helps to frame your mindset for a more positive year ahead.

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I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Follow me for updates @christiemandia.

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