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A Young Professional’s Guide to New Year’s Resolutions

Young professionals are the coolest, and you can take my word for that, because I say it as a completely unbiased young professional. The thing about Young Professionals that I think is so cool is that they just so happen to have a lot in common with the New Year. Young Professionals are all about change, and so is a New Year. It’s a fresh start – the New Year – and that’s what Young Professionals have when they graduate college. The New Year is also about bettering yourself, and what better time to do that than when you’ve just turned the page on a chapter of your life and you’re about to begin a new one? I created some New Year’s resolutions for myself this year that I’m really proud of, but the following list of resolutions are things I see in myself and my peers that I think would make us all a whole lot happier.

Stop Letting Other People’s Definition of Success Define You

So, you’re not engaged, you didn’t run a marathon, you’re not Kylie Jenner, and you didn’t get accepted into the world’s most prestigious internship program. So what? I bet if you are truly honest with yourself, and let go of society’s masochistic obsession of comparing oneself to others for one second, you can find something you’ve done that you’re really proud of. The thing is, I’ve fallen into this trap, and I think – if we’re honest – we all have. I’ve found myself feeling sad about things I didn’t even want to begin with. I’ve experienced a fear of missing out on events I don’t even care about attending. I’ve torn myself down for not measuring up to people that are probably thinking the same things about themselves.

The problem is, humans want desperately to turn the world’s spectrum into a ladder, and we have to stop.

So, the next time you’re feeling down or left out, think about it. Is this a goal you personally set for yourself, or are you imposing someone else’s definition of success on yourself? If you ask yourself that question, and your answer is that you’ve truly fallen short, then take this lesson I’ve learned from my amazing personal trainer: Don’t stop. Envision your goals. Reset. And work harder than ever. Otherwise, if you find it is actually someone else’s goal, release the jealousy and hate, and just be happy for them. After all, there’s room at the “top” for more than just one.

Work Out, For Goodness’ Sake

Speaking of my personal trainer….
Here’s the thing: as a young professional, I get that sometimes the only thing you want to do is eat pizza and binge watch Netflix – and I’m here to let you in on a little secret: that’s perfectly okay. What’s not okay is to lose your balance. I’m not in any position to act like a perfect example of what fitness and health is, but what I can do it talk about what has worked for me. As someone who essentially never even entered a gym unless physically forced to do so for the first 22 years of my life, I understand not wanting to exercise. Maybe you feel like it’s too time consuming, or won’t work for you, or gyms are just for bodybuilders – I’ve been there. You make excuses, and you know it. Well, I was too. So, I decided to stop making excuses and make an investment in personal training, instead. Why? Because I knew that to start, I was going to need help staying motivated, and I knew if I invested the money and someone was depending on me to show up, I would show up. Personal training helps me stay motivated, and I feel better than I’ve ever felt before. But don’t let my version of success define you (we already know why that’s not beneficial). If you don’t like working out in gyms, don’t. Find something you LOVE to do and go do it. Sign up for a barre class, try out kickboxing, or rock climbing. Whatever you have to do to get yourself moving, go do it.

There’s a flip side to this resolution. If you miss a workout to eat an entire pizza and watch an entire season of your favorite show on Netflix, I want you to promise to be easy on yourself. You are not a failure, and you did not fail. It’s okay to slip up, but it’s not okay to beat yourself down. Be kind to yourself. Reset and start better tomorrow. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance. Resolve to do one thing each day that makes you feel happy and healthy, even if it’s as small as switching your morning muffin to an apple, because that’s a wonderful start.

Update Your Closet

This one is a little less abstract. If you still have T-Shirts from events you don’t even remember in college, then maybe it’s time to trade in those shirts and norts (you know, nike shorts) for a more professional style. But hey, you still put the “young” in “young professional,” right? So let’s make this a fun task! A cool trick is to hang all your hangers backwards in your closet, and toss out or donate what still hasn’t been turned around after six months. Once you’ve done that, treat yo’self to some beautiful staples that your wardrobe is missing. Pick a style you really enjoy and create a wardrobe surrounding that style that can take you from a day at the office to a girl’s/guy’s night.

Unlock Your Creativity

When I was growing up, I always identified as an “art kid.” I read all the time, and if I wasn’t reading, I was playing in acrylics and oil paints and turpentine. I wrote poetry and dabbled in watercolor and took photos all the time. Somewhere along the line, I read a little less and all that “art” began gathering dust as my college homework piled on top of it. Sound familiar? So you got away from some of your passions in college. Who doesn’t? Listen, college is busy and hard, and I’d be willing to bet you picked up some new passions along the way. As a young professional, I’ve found I finally have more free time, and this year I’m resolving to spend less of that free time in front of the TV, and more doing what I love. So, for you, maybe it’s not about reading, painting, or drawing. Maybe you like to act, hike, meditate or volunteer for a cause you’re really passionate about. I hope that in 2016, you will resolve to do something that makes your heart sing, do something that makes you feel accomplished, creative, and magical.

Take Out the Trash

We all have our vices. What’s yours? Maybe it’s too much coffee, or maybe you’re drawn to bad relationships that leave you hurt and confused. Maybe you still party like you did in college. You know it’s bad for you, but you’re either too afraid to kick the habit, or you’re too lazy and complacent to do so. Or, maybe you’re afraid to commit to something better – to a healthier lifestyle, to a relationship that leaves you feeling happy and secure, to a job that leaves you creatively and personally fulfilled, to friends that stand by you and lift you up. Whatever it is that you’re afraid of, throw it out. Face those fears, build a bridge, and get over it because you never know how much time you have left. Let’s resolve to take out the trash in 2016, and replace it with fresh, clean, positive additions.

So, to sum it up, you don’t have to starve your soul to make improvements this new year. Stop telling yourself that you aren’t good enough, and start telling yourself that you’re magical, powerful, and doing really great. Here’s to being a young professional in the year 2016, because I kind of think it might be the best year yet. For more Smarter Searches, follow us on social media @smartersearches, join our #InkSmarter photo challenge, call us at 865-766-4139.