Wow, first of all, welcome back. I cannot believe it has been so long since I have written last, but it feels great to be back with you all. I had one of the craziest years of my life in 2017, with a lot of ups and a lot of downs. I started 2017 with feeling the worst I have ever felt: depressed and unmotivated. Some days I would wake up and ask myself how I was going to get through my day when all I wanted to do was hide away in bed all day. I had no goals and felt like I was just existing, not living. I was exhausted and burdened by all the negativity in and surrounding my life. Then just when I felt I was starting to do better, life decided to test me when my boyfriend of two years and I unfortunately broke up. The past 6 months I have spent focused on myself, bettering myself mentally, and I genuinely feel I have found the happiest version of me in 2018 to be here writing you.
While my breakup was an unexpected set back in my life, I was able to get through it so much quicker because I already had the foundation for a much better mindset. People kept asking me, “Are you okay? Why are you so okay?” It was not that I was okay, it was a huge devastating moment in my life. But with the tips I am about to share, I bounced back quicker than I or anyone ever expected. I am going to guess, since you have stumbled upon my post, you are feeling the same way I was. It is not uncommon for us to at some point in our lives hit rock bottom and I can stand with you for how awful it feels. I hope in some way it comforts you to know you are not the only one feeling the way you are and just to know change is not impossible. I genuinely hope after reading this article you can take away something to incorporate into your new year to help make you a happier version of yourself.
Tip Number 1: Happiness is a CHOICE
What, what did you just say?! Happiness is a choice?! Yes, it is true, happiness is a choice you make for yourself. Throughout my journey these past few months this has been my biggest life lesson I have had to learn. I was that girl that was convinced that a boyfriend, a car, new clothes, etc. would make me happy. I felt like if I just hit this point in my life I will finally be happy, or if I just lose some extra weight I will finally be happy. It ended up being a vicious cycle of nothing in my life was ever good enough and I was always let down. When I finally got to that certain point in my life, I still was not happy or I put this pressure on myself that if I did not hit that goal I would never be the happiest version of myself. I could never understand it. I got good grades, that should make me happy. I finally got the expensive new outfit, why wasn’t I happy? I will tell you why and the answer is you are not happy with just yourself and that is a hard reality to accept.
I asked myself one day, if I took everything great out of my life and just left me with just me would I be happy? The answer to that, was a big no. I started out slow and it was a long journey to fixing this problem. I started by accepting that things that are put in our life are our accessories. They are in our life to enhance it, to bring added joy. It is not the base to our happiness. Every day I would tell myself today I choose to be happy and it was as simple as that. It was a choice I made every day to wake up and live my life to the fullest extent no matter what. Eventually I stopped having to say it because I was living it. My strongest tip is to stop relying on everything else and everyone else to make you happy, make yourself the root of your happiness and you will genuinely see such a difference in your life. Tell yourself every day, you are going to be happy and are going to have a great day. I know it sounds silly or even impossible, but I promise you it is not and it really does work. What you put out into the universe will eventually become your reality.
Tip Number 2: Preach Positivity
As you will quickly realize reading through this article, all these tips mesh together to make a nice big picture. Just stick with me here. The next thing I want to talk about is preaching positivity, not only to other people, but mainly to yourself. With social media, it is all too easy to beat yourself up or start comparing. For me, I was ALWAYS putting myself down. I genuinely think 90% of my thoughts in my head were, “you can’t do that”, “why can’t you just be like that person”, “omg why did you make that mistake you are so stupid”. Those are just some examples of the continuous thoughts that went through my head on a daily basis. Thinking back on it, I cannot believe I let those thoughts consume my life. When I decided it would be the best decision to see a therapist, something she would always say to me is “be gentle with yourself”. That small little line was something that I preached to myself day in day out. Reminding myself I am not perfect, but I do the best I can.
When you choose to be happy a huge part of that change is talking positively to yourself. You have to change the voices in your head telling you all these bad thoughts because they are not you and they do not define you. This is so much harder than you ever think it is because negative thoughts become second nature. I did not even realize I was doing it. You CAN and you WILL change it. Start correcting yourself every time something negative comes into your mind. For me the biggest was the mirror. College weight hit me and it hit me hard and I was always bashing myself every time I was in front of the mirror. So I first started by every time I looked in a mirror I would complement myself and tell myself how much I liked and accepted myself. As I changed that, then I would look add something else. Slowly as you correct the voices in your head it becomes second nature to just be nice to yourself. Like any other bad habit, it is hard to break, but once you do it is the most rewarding feeling. I saw a massive change in my mood and I felt free. For the first time I was smiling more and people would notice and comment on how I seemed just happier in general. I know it is hard, stay persistent. You’ll be surprised at how good it feels to be positive and nice to yourself and you will gain a new found confidence.
Tip Number 3: Surround Yourself With Winners
As you go on this journey of bettering yourself, you may start to find you are outgrowing people in your life. This may be extremely scary, but cutting out the negative people in your life is an important key to finding happiness. If you are making progress with yourself and then you are surrounding yourself with people who always complain and spill negativity into your life, you will never reach your full potential. People always say to me you need to hang out with more people, why are you so comfortable with just your 3 friends? I made a choice to be around people who build me up and inspire me rather than break me down. So many times I would hang out with people and I would be so worried is this person talking about me or does she like me? It was exhausting. When you find the right people in your life, it is the most rewarding feeling and you never have any fears or worries toward them. I think a lot of people (including myself) sometimes stay with the wrong crowd because we are afraid of being alone or being friendless. I remember reading a book by Joel Osteen and he talked about how God will not bless you with new people in your life if you continue to hold on to the old. I remember going through a time in my life where I had not a friend in high school. I remember telling my mom that I was so upset that I had to let go of these friends, but I knew in my heart it was the right decision because these people were not adding value to my life. Through that mindset I was able to connect with two girls that became my best friends for the last few years of high school. So I encourage you to cut the cord with people who are bringing you down. It is scary, but every time I say goodbye to people in my life I just remind myself that something new will eventually come my way. Remember, you are who you hang out with so surround yourself with people who bring value to your life.
Tip Number 4: Set Goals & Work for it!
This is so important to do for finding happiness in 2018. A lot of times we get so caught up in the moment and forget about things we want to accomplish. Maybe for you it is getting back into the gym or starting a business. Whatever it is you want to accomplish set goals for yourself and block off time each day/week to work towards that goal. Making sure you schedule this into your life will assure you are taking time out to do the things that are important to you. Often times I find when I push things like my blog or my youtube channel to the side I get down because I am spending too much time on school work or actually working. It is okay that you have other things to do, but try to not consume your life with one or the other. Finding a balance in life that works for you will allow you to get the stuff done in your life that needs to get done while also getting to enjoy things on the side that are just as important.
Tip Number 5: Finding the BALANCE
I know I touched on this topic briefly above, but this is important when making life changes. Burnout is real and it is present in our lives every day. I am the type of person where I go all in on the one thing that is the most important going on at that time. So if I am in school, all I can think about is school. If I am working for the summer then all I am focusing on is work. I get so overwhelmed I lose balance needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. You have to carve out time in your schedule for other events or things you enjoy to not go insane. My goal is to not let school be a reason I stop working out and going to the gym. Is anyone else with me where you get on an amazing routine during school break then when you go back to school you just get so overwhelmed by the amount of things that you have to do that you completely stop going? Because same, guilty over here. My goal is to go to the gym 4-5 times a week, allow myself one day a week to work on my blog or youtube channel, and to go to church every Saturday with my family. Let’s work together on this one and make 2018 a nice, balanced year.
Tip Number 6: Fear Vs. Faith
If fear is not an overwhelming part of your life then feel free to skip to the next tip. This was a huge topic my therapist and I would talk about and she would always ask me do I want to go down the path of fear or the path of faith. It was really hard for me to overcome this because I would rather live in a life of fear than to trust and go for something. I did this because to me it was easier to sit back and do nothing rather than try and end up failing. Because of this I missed out on a lot of great opportunities just because I was so afraid to try something I did not know the outcome of.
It is difficult to have faith in things that you have no idea what the outcome will be, trust me I lived it, but how awesome would it be if you tried something new and succeeded? Instead of saying I am going to fail tell yourself how amazing it is going to feel when you succeed! That is exactly how I got over this. I constantly was reminding myself that everything happens for a reason and if something bad happened it did not have to be negative. I envisioned a life of success and everything going my way. Go for your dreams and have faith. I would rather live a life knowing that I tried than look back one day and just wish I took the chance and not have been so scared. Remember, what you put out into the universe will eventually become your reality.
Tip Number 7: Compete With Yourself
Gosh this one really gets me and I even notice myself still struggling with this one today. This one is hard because we live in social media central. It is so dang easy to compare yourself to other people, to wish you were a different size or had different hair. I feel social media is the route to a lot of people’s dissatisfaction within themselves. It was for me a huge part of not liking myself. I always thought everyone looked so happy, why could I not be this person? Is this sounding familiar? A lot of people I talk to about this subject with admit to thinking this way quite often. What I have to say to this is reminding yourself that you have to take social media with a grain of salt. People are often portraying the best versions of themselves on the internet and you are not getting the full story of that person. With that also comes with getting rid of jealousy! A part of finding happiness for yourself is also being happy for other people. Instead of wishing you could be someone else, accept and love yourself for who you are and be happy for who someone else is. I scroll through my Instagram now and instead of saying “I wish I could be like her”, I now say things like, “wow she is super pretty good for her”, or “I am so happy this person is in a happy relationship”. Preaching good vibes out into the world will eventually bring back positivity to you. The only person you will ever be in competition with is yourself! Preach it, live it, love it! This concept will help you drastically to becoming a better version of yourself.
Tip Number 8: Be a Little Less Selfish and a Little More Selfless
This tip is actually my most recent tip that I picked up on. I learned this from one of my best friend who is constantly preaching this to me. It really resonated because I realized that I was being pretty selfish and only worrying about myself. Often times we get so caught up in ourselves we forget about the world around us. How will you be a little less selfish this year? Will you help out more around the house or volunteer more time to your community? Or maybe will you spend more time with family and investing into more relationships? The possibilities on this one are endless and it it important to decide how you want to be less selfish in this coming new year.
I really hope you were able to take something away from this post that you can incorporate into your life to make 2018 an amazing year. Make this year the “Year of You” and really focus on finding happiness in and around your life. After all our time here on this earth is short so why not strive to make each and every day the best day ever! ?
Let me know in the comments down below if you liked this or how you plan to better yourself in the new year. Would love to hear some other ideas!
Wishing you a happy new year, xo
Written by: Marissa Elise
Copy Editor: Alexandria Diane
Check out my Instagram: @beautybyriss2
“Stop trying to find the perfect lighting and focus on finding the beauty in your heart”.