Happy New Week!

Everyone I know loves the new year. We throw parties, stay up late, and most importantly of all, make resolutions.

I think what draws most people to New Year’s—more than the midnight parties and the ball dropping in Times Square—is the chance to start over. The new year is always a blank slate, a fresh opportunity, a second chance.

I’m no exception. I love making lists of ways I’m magically going to be better, completely different person than who I actually am because that’s the kind of delusional hope that January gives me.

It’s funny to me that most people love the opportunity to start a new year, but loathe starting a new week. I think this might have something to do with the fact that, as many resolutions as we make, New Year’s is not a real harbinger for change. It’s easy to ignore because it only comes once every 365 days. New Year’s is a red herring—we use it to give ourselves a spark of hope for change, without any of the work and drive that real change requires.

But if you want to wring the most joy possible out of your one wild and precious life, why only give yourself one opportunity a year to try?

Monday is a weekly reminder of our opportunity to start fresh. What if instead of making huge New Year’s resolutions that we’ll never fulfill, we made New Week resolutions? You don’t have to make the same mistakes this week that you made last week. You don’t have to wait until January to start improving your life. Start today. Heck, start now. Stop reading this and start working. I won’t be offended.

New Week resolution

Make a New Week resolution and stick to it! Mine for this week is to get up when my alarm goes off (because I don’t want to snooze button through life). What’s yours? Shoot me an email and let’s hold each other accountable.

Don’t Live On Autopilot

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Hey guess what? Today is a day!

It’s not a reset, it’s not a time to sleepwalk through, it’s not a dream. It’s a day.

Here are a few questions you might encounter today:

  • How’s it going?
  • How was your weekend?
  • How are you?

I don’t know about you but I typically answer these questions without really thinking about it.

“Well, you know, it’s Monday…so…”

“Good. Too short.”

“Living the dream.”

These answers are so boring and cliché they make me want to throw this keyboard across the room. Am I so unoriginal? Am I so out of touch with my life that I can’t even assess how it’s going? Am I really living the dream? If not, why would I joke about that?

Moral of the story: I don’t want to live my life from a script. I don’t want to live on autopilot.

I am the only one responsible for my life. There is no back up person who will take over if I choose to live like a robot.

If you didn’t wake up this morning, don’t panic, there’s still time. Wake up. Today is an actual day in your life. It’s not a freebie, you don’t get a do over. It counts.

Challenge for the week:  Think about the clichés and automatic responses governing your days. Pay attention when people ask you questions and answer them honestly.

Goal for the week: My goal for the week is not to lie about my emotions. This sounds simple, but it’s actually really difficult for me. I’d prefer if no one knew I had feelings, but that’s a story for another time. I think this could be a helpful exercise for most people. When someone asks how you’re doing, don’t lie about your emotions. If your boss checks in, don’t lie about your workload. If someone says no offense, tell them if you’re offended.

Don’t lie about your feelings. Don’t live on autopilot.

Let’s be honest, not apologize for our being, and take the driver’s seat of our life this week. Make today count. It will only happen once.

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You Are Responsible For Your Life

On this lovely morning, if you find yourself tempted to yawn, medicate with coffee or complain the day away, please remember:

You are responsible for your life.

Let it sink in.

You are responsible for your life.

No one else is responsible for your feelings, your finances, your happiness, or your success. It’s just you.

Last week I was really wounded by the way some friends treated me. I was stewing in anger and anxiety, and going over and over the situation in my head when I was reminded of this truth: Other people do not need to change. I need to change.

That’s not to say that I excuse other people when they do something wrong. It means that I am in control of my emotions. I don’t get to decide how people treat me. I do get to decide how I respond to it.

It’s terrifying to claim responsibility for your life. To own the fact that you are wholly responsible for how you respond to slights and success, failure and freedom. But do you know what’s even more terrifying? Letting other people run your existence.

I can’t control other people. I can’t make them kinder, can’t make them give me raises, publish my book or show up on time.

You know what I can control? Myself. I can work on regulating my emotional response. I can stop putting the blame for my unhappiness on others, and take ownership of my life. I can stop expecting other people to do the work of fixing my life and start getting my own hands dirty in the grimy, unglamorous work of self improvement.

Let’s stop blaming our problems on our jobs, our relationships and our circumstances. Let’s stop expecting other people to make our dreams reality.

Hate your job? It’s not your job’s responsibility to change, it’s yours. In an unhappy relationship? Same thing. Constantly exhausted and overwhelmed? See above. Placing the burden of responsibility on outside forces makes us stagnant, it makes us comfortable. It lets us pretend to be helpless, to pretend we are the victims, to pretend we can’t do anything.

This is a lie. You are responsible for your life.

So this week, when you are faced with a moment of apathy, a desire to hit the snooze button, to goof off at work, or gossip about a friend, remember: you are responsible for your life.

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