Body & Mind

New Year. New You

What an old mantra. New Year. New You. It can be common to set goals to lose weight or drink more water. Now don’t get me wrong, our bodies are important but they are temporary after all.

We spend so much time, money and energy on our outward appearance. I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if we spent that same time on our minds, connections and working on our life purpose.

I sometimes think this life is one big test. Our personal purgatory where the singular goal is to prevent us from learning, growing and fulfilling our purpose. 

I ask you to take a step back for a second and just take it all in. Everything around us could fill us with awe and gratitude. We are privileged and blessed in so many ways. Honestly, when was the last time you thought about your life and asked questions like why am I here? We fill our everyday with hustle and bustle. How much of that is truly just a distraction? Reflect on the Holiday Season. How much stress did we put on ourselves to decorate numerous trees and wrap countless gifts. We rush from place to place. We sit around a table on our phones. We need constant entertainment.  How much of the magic of Christmas and the meaning did you lose. 

My challenge for you, as you look to the New Year, is to truly question your purpose.  It is most certainly not to look better, be thinner, have the latest car or the best vacation. Imagine if we put the energy into our inner self each day as we put into our outward appearance. Comfort can lull us into a trace. We can actually tell ourselves that we will be happy after the next milestone. We can’t wait to graduate, get married, have kids, have the dream house, get the kids out of the house, travel and retire. At each stage we tell ourselves we will be happier soon. The truth is we will not find true joy, no matter how much we are blessed, until we are on purpose.

I challenge you to find your purpose. It can be a hard question to answer for many of us. Your purpose will always be something that comes natural to you. It will always be a way to use your unique gifts to help others. It is the thought that continues to come to your mind. You know the one that many times we talk ourselves out of thinking. We say things like, that is crazy. I will do that later. I can’t make enough money doing that thing. That is a silly dream. Then we return to the rat wheel. We bathe in distractions. We have learned to be hard working. However, hard work doesn’t not equate to a life well lived. 

We are animals and a higher being mixed together. The biochemistry of the animal can control us if we are not careful. It is the key to why we get so distracted.  Dopamine makes us feel good temporarily. It is short lived. We get dopamine hits from things like scrolling on our phones, eating chocolate, buying something, receiving a gift, and alcohol. The good feeling comes and then it is gone quickly. Leaving us to desire the next thing that spikes it.  Dopamine competes with Serotonin for access to our brains. Serotonin is the joy and contentment stimuli. It comes from things like service to others, nature, sunlight, rest, meditation, the arts, and learning. Arguable your purpose is what leads to serotonin levels where we do not seek dopamine hits. 

Basically, we can become opposed with the next dopamine hit without even realizing what is happening. Then boom, opportunities are missed, connections are weak or severed, and we don’t have time for what is truly important. 

We all know those few people who are like a bright light when they come into the room. They are truly curious about others. They are always looking to help. They make your day better just by seeing them. They are living a well lived life on purpose. Imagine if more of us were that way. What a difference we could make. 

I believe most of those people have had something truly earth shattering happen to them. It brings up such strong raw emotion that it wakes them up. In raw honesty, I spend most of my life disconnected from the world. Happily going through the motions. I never truly thought about making a difference. 

I still seek my purpose and I challenge you to do the same. I challenge you to set goals that build your skill sets, your connections to others and lead you to your purpose. 

It all starts with giving yourself time in silence and asking the hard questions. What are my gifts? What comes easy to me? What brings me joy? What would I do if money were not a factor? How can I be a better spouse, parent, or friend? How can I make a difference? What need can I meet? How can I help?

It continues by giving ourselves time away from our phones and the TV. Learning new skills. Seeking advice. Reconnecting with the outdoors. Growing our connections and remembering what is truly important.

We can all make a difference. Our beating heart is a testament to our purpose. New Year. New You. We can make that have an entirely different meaning. I am reminded of the quote by  B.J. Palmer. “You never know how far reaching something you think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” 

Just a small shift in our focus can make such a big difference. I challenge you to join me by committing to find the joy in each day and to strive to step away from the distraction. Best wishes for the best 2024.