Carrying the Right Kind of Baggage into 2013Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 9:05 AM
By Arit Okpo
I lost the habit of making new year resolutions when I realised I never kept them. It was all well and good to resolve to take up tennis, despite the fact that I am the most non-athletic human being I know, but that resolve and many others like it died a quick and natural death over the years, usually before the 5th of January.
What I’ve found works better for me though, is taking what I’ve learned in the preceding year, and deciding how I’m going to extend or build on it; this way, I know I’m growing, and I also know I’m not just pulling plans and resolutions out of a hat. If it’s all right by you, I’d like to share some of these lessons with you, while I don’t presume to be a life coach, maybe some of them might remind you of some of your own areas of personal growth, or help you to target something you’d like to do in 2013.
So, in no particular order, here goes:
- I learned that it’s really about the spirit: I grew up believing that being a Christian meant going to church, praying as I was taught and living according to church tenets. 2012 shattered that for me…I started the shift from having religion to building a relationship. This year, I partook of Lent with a Catholic friend and learned to adopt the depth of belief and respect for God that my Muslim friends have. I’ve learned that God does not live in church, He is around me and in me, and He is most deeply reflected in my life and actions. This year, I will work on deepening that relationship – practising God’s presence in my day to day life and expressing this in my treatment of the people around me.
- I’ve become better at valuing my worth for potential business partners and employers and to get to work with that valuation in mind. Last year, I learned to calculate my value based on skills that I was bringing to the table. This year, I will build on that, acquiring measurable and realistic skills and demonstrating consistent and progressive growth.
- I realised that I love my country. Not just the vague patriotic stirrings that happened at NYSC during POP, but a deep heart pulling passion for Nigeria. I’m getting angrier and angrier at the things that are wrong, and keep finding myself reasoning out possible solutions for the various ills I see. While I don’t know if this means that I must go into politics, I know that I need to be more civic this year. There are millions of opportunities for me to be a better Nigerian, this year, I will endeavour to identify those opportunities and make the shift from being part of the problem to part of the solution.
- I usually know the answers. Growing up, I got very used to questioning, rationalizing and second guessing my every idea. In 2012, I came to the slightly shocking conclusion that I usually have a good idea not only of what is best for me, but what I need to do to achieve that I want. I will develop that skill this year and learn to listen to that person inside me who is more daring, more confident and infinitely wiser than I ever dreamed.
- Everything developed a value: 2012 was when I started to gauge most things based on their value to me. As I did, I started to identify friendships and habits that weren’t adding to me as much as I was investing in them, and habits and friendships that I needed to develop but was too busy or blind to. I weeded out a lot of the superfluous in 2012, 2013 will be the year when I start to incorporate new and beneficial habits and interactions into my life, building up to a better rounded me.
- I fell in love with me: With all the attention on love and subsequent heartbreak, gaining and losing jobs and generally getting my hustle on, I forgot who I was. Last year, I started to find myself again. I rediscovered old loves and discovered new ones. I took myself on dates, learned to identify the things that make me happy and went on a personal rebranding scheme. I realised that somewhere in time, without my notice, I had finally blossomed into this incredible woman I used to dream of being. In 2013, this incredible woman will continue her journey of personal growth and transformation. I’ve discovered that I have the Xfactor that I’ve spent much of my life looking for in other people. This year, I will learn how to package and show off the wonderful person that happens to be me.
- I stopped hiding from my gifts. Identifying gifts usually meant I had to do something about them, which was scary, particularly as I never had any clue of what to do. Last year however, I compered an event, worked on a project to fight Violence against women, represented my (perfectionist) boss on a work errand outside the country, started my blog and much more. I owe it to myself to be the best I can be, and this means identifying the things I’m good at and not being afraid of making mistakes in the process.
So, I’m going to turn this back to you. Did any of these resonate? I hope so! Do you ever get that itch that tells you that you can do something you’ve always dreamed of? Tired yet of backstabbing and insincere friends who you know you’re better off without? Have you ever woken up and wondered who the stranger in the mirror is? Who knows, this might be the year that starts the process that will change your life. I’m excited about 2013, and in seeing these lessons and goals translated in the various aspects of my life.
I sincerely wish that this year will be all that and more for you. Thank you for reading.
Photo credit: coutureocceus.wordpress.com
Tags: Arit Okpo