Well, hello there, 2014! And hello to you, my fine friend.
I trust you had a great time ringing in the New Year, and that you are looking forward to everything 2014 has in store for you.
I personally enjoyed some fabulous New Year festivities with friends at their beautiful new home.
Was there wine involved? Perhaps. Champagne and orange juice? Um…yes. Nutty Irishmen? Yes to the drink by that name, and yes to the actual men, or rather, man.
Nutty. And he happens to be Irish. And incidentally there’s a drink named after him. Who knew?
Apart from the fine selection of aperitifs that did not have anything to do with my headache on New Year’s day, did I learn how to do the wobble and twerk all in the same night?
I’m happy to report there was only one twerking injury for the evening, and thankfully it wasn’t me.
Apart from the fact that I can now Wobble like a champ (and demonstrated my ability to do so at a restaurant last weekend), ringing in the New Year also came with a lot of gratitude: gratitude for my amazing friends who couldn’t possibly be any cooler, any more motivating, any more inspiring, and gosh darn it, any more beautiful, inside and out! Seriously, stop it.
But really, don’t.
And though I couldn’t be with them this year, I feel the same way about my family. They are and always have been encouraging and loving, and never let me quit even when I really wanted to. That has made all the difference.
I know this much is true: if you want to do amazing things, surround yourself with amazing people. Yes, it takes time to cultivate relationships, but if you forge ahead in the direction of your goals and dreams with the attitude of a winner and the humbleness of The Dalai Lama, awesome people will find the awesome you. It’s the law of attraction at work, and it never takes a break.
I myself am a work in progress and always will be, and I’m always aiming to just be happy. To be present. To enjoy each moment, no matter what the circumstances. Yes, it’s hard, but in the face of a challenging situation, if I choose anything else, the only person who gains or suffers is me. I am the only one who has to live with me all the time. And trust me, happy Lauren beats angry Lauren any day – even Canadian angry Lauren! She really sucks!
In the spirit of happiness, my dad sent me an article on health and happiness from the creator of Dilbert. I highly encourage you to read it if you have goals to be happy and healthy in 2014, which I hope you do. Dad highlighted his favorite quote from the article, which also happens to be mine:
Keep in mind that happiness is a directional phenomenon. We feel happy when things are moving in the right direction no matter where we are at the moment. The homeless guy who finds a promising dumpster is happier in the moment than the billionaire who just lost $100 million on a bad investment. It’s the direction of your life — progress if you will — that influences happiness.
In the spirit of happiness, I present to you a compilation of ingredients to help you live your best life this year:
10 tips for an Amazing 2014:
5 cups of Focus: find what you’re passionate about. Live it. Breathe it. Own it. Focus on it. Do it. Be all about it. Not sure what you’re passionate about? Make it your goal to focus on finding that out this year.
17 cups of nurturing your relationships: I don’t just mean with your spouse or significant other, though this would be a great time to start if you’ve been neglecting each other. I mean with all of your relationships: your family, your friends, your coworkers – heck – even your local grocery store checkout clerk! We may not remember what people said, or what people did, but we will always remember how they made us feel. Strive to always make those around you – especially those you love – feel good.
2 heaping tablespoons of taking care of your health: Take your vacation days. Take your personal days. Take your sick days. Just because you’re not flat on your back with the flu or a back injury doesn’t mean your mind doesn’t need a mental holiday. And if you do have a cold or the flu? Don’t try to be a hero and go to work anyway. The new aged Arianna-Huffington-Third-Metric-Hero would take the day off! Not only will you avoid spreading germs to others, but also your body will thank you for it and you will almost definitely be back on your feet sooner! Finally, eat your greens! Seriously – vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or carnivore, stay away from the processed crap (the middle of the grocery store) and stick to the foods found naturally in nature (the outside of the grocery store or almost any booth at a Farmer’s Market).
3/4 cups being true to your word: If you say you’re going to do something, gosh darn it, do it by when you said you would do it. The easiest way to be trustworthy is to just be trustworthy! And if you find that you are making promises you cannot keep, no matter how small, it’s time to examine your life and figure out why you can’t keep them. There is a bigger issue at play here. And don’t underestimate the size of the promise. A lifetime’s worth of saying you would be home for dinner at 7pm and not showing up until 8pm has created an expectation in the other party that you don’t mean what you say.
8 cups of making eye contact/being present: Yes, I get it. Facebook dinged at you and yet another person liked your photo. Awesome! That makes 101 likes! Yes, that makes you cool. But you know what makes you cooler? Putting down your phone and paying attention to the person or people standing or sitting right in front of you. You will never get this moment with them back. Drink it all in, make eye contact, engage in a conversation with them, and show them you love them. Show up for them simply by showing up for them: phone down, eyes up, body language engaged. Something magical just might happen: life.
18 million cups of moving your body everyday: Don’t like to work out? Fine. Don’t work out. But move your butt at least every day. This body is the only one you have, so you’ve got to treat it right. Dance to your favorite song, clean the garage, take a stroll down the street with your puppy or good friend. Your body is your temple. Take care of it, and it will do its darndest to take care of you. Can’t move? Don’t let the things you can’t do stop you from doing the things that you can. Even if all you can do is blink your eye, figure out what you can do, and do that.
2 pounds of forgiving yourself: So you let the anger get the best of you at the grocery store when the person behind you tried to cut the line. You yelled when you could have smiled or been more polite in your approach. Ok. Fine. Move on. You’re only human. Vow not to do it again, and try not to. Don’t let that moment define the rest of the day’s worth of moments. Tony Horton once addressed a group at a ski and yoga retreat and I will never forget what he said: Every moment is another opportunity to make a better choice. Forgiving yourself frees you from the past and allows you to move forward, to choose to be a better you, to choose a better attitude, to choose a better story, to make a better choice.
2 cups of letting go: Let go of grudges. I got bullied for a short time when I was in high school, and my mom would always tell me not to let those girls live rent free in my mind. In other words, I was losing sleep over the things they were doing and saying to me, but they, in turn, were sleeping soundly. Was what they were doing fair or just? Not at all. But my quality of life was suffering by letting them get into my head. Let it go, and it no longer means anything. They could say what they wanted but I wouldn’t create the space in my mind to let their words and actions have a life. Letting go can also be applied in a petty argument with your significant other, or anyone, for that matter. Ask yourself: is this really worth it? Is this really a big deal or has the main issue become about me winning this argument rather than making things better? Only you know the honest answer to that. If you can let it go, let it go. Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. There are better ways to spend your precious energy.
1 cup of cooking at home: I get it. You’re tired. You had a long day. You don’t feel like cooking. Maybe you don’t know how to cook. Whatever. You learned in school. You learned to type. You learned to read. Following that logic, I am confident that you can learn how to cook. You don’t have to go Gordon Ramsay (the culinary world’s version of Rambo) on us! It can be easy! Mainstream media makes easy, quick and healthy recipes extremely accessible. So do your body and your wallet a favor: fire up your grills, judo chop those veggies, and make yourself a gourmet meal tonight that’s delicious and nutritious. Don’t live alone? Great! You can combine your ingredients by enlisting your loved ones to help, making dinner and nurturing your relationships at the same time. That sounds like a winning recipe to me!
2 teaspoons of laughing every day…preferably until you pee: Oh stop, it’s not gross! It’s funny! Laughter really is the best medicine. If you believe what you read, it increases relaxation in your body, calms your mind, protects your heart, manages stress, and even releases endorphins that make you happy. So if you’re not willing to do a head or handstand to turn that frown upside down, do it with laughter: a funny movie or show, a great book, time with friends. Whatever ‘tickles’ your fancy. Just laugh. But maybe try not to laugh until you pee – that could get awkward…and a little messy…
Bake for 365 days, insert toothpick to test for doneness, grab a fork, and enjoy every bite. I’m willing to bet it will be the perfect mix of sweet and savory with a big hint of awesome.
Your crazy friend and wife of the Nutty Irishman,