I’m noticing that the older I get, the more I’m making peace a priority. I’ve learned that while there are definitely outside forces that can impact my stress level (if I allow it to), a lot of stress can be avoided by making better choices and being more intentional about how I spend my time and energy. I started this year with two resolutions: 1) Do the best that I can in all things and 2) Surrender to God’s will. Committing to my New Years resolutions has increased my productivity and peace while simultaneously decreased my stress and confusion.
Continuously striving for self-improvement has allowed me to discover better versions of myself and achieve greater success in all areas of my life. In the past, I placed far too much responsibility on others to make me happy and help me to succeed. Since taking responsibility for myself and placing my faith in God, I have found ways to work less while increasing my monthly income and enjoying my life more. I have way more good days than bad days, haven’t felt mentally drained or emotionally depressed in months, and find myself thanking and praising God for my growth and progress on a daily basis. At 33 years old, what I know for sure is that life is what we choose to make it. Here are a few choices that I’m making that have helped me to start living my best life now.
- I set the tone for my day. I begin my days with meditation, prayer, and affirmations. Before I go out into the world or let the world into my home, I fill myself with positive energy and remind myself of who I am, whose I am, and why I’m here. By doing so, I’ve found I am more focused on what truly matters and that I’m less susceptible to be negatively impacted by negativity. My faith that God is in control and that things will always work out for my highest good as long as I am striving to please God keeps me in a constant state of peace regardless of what I see, experience or encounter.
- I don’t waste time. I used to be a proud procrastinator until I realized how much unnecessary stress that behavior was causing me. Now, if I have time to do it, I get it done. I had to get more honest with myself about what I had time for. Doing so helped me to eliminate a lot of time-wasting activities that were not helping me to get any closer to achieving my goals. There was a time when I’d spend hours scrolling social media before I got out of the bed. By creating a productive morning routine, I have now become more disciplined about taking into consideration whether certain habits and behaviors are helping me or hurting me.
- I stopped taking others actions so personally. A shift absolutely occurs when you start taking responsibility for your own happiness and success and stop letting the undesirable actions of others steal your peace and joy. True peace is found in the understanding that you are only in control of yourself. You can’t make anyone like, love, respect, appreciate, value, acknowledge, celebrate, or support you. You can’t make others treat you how you treat them. You can only choose whether you will accept the treatment you’re given or not. By choosing not to carry the burden of other people’s actions, I have been able to heal from pain inflicted on me in the past and move forward with greater confidence in myself and faith in God.
- “It is what it is.” That’s my attitude all day every day because I trust the process and the plans God has for my life. When I look back over the years, I have so much proof that God’s plan is better than mine. After spending many days frustrated and discouraged because things didn’t go the way I wanted them to, only to find out later that it was for the best, I’ve learned to just chill. I make my plans and do my best to execute them effectively, but accept that the outcome is out of my hands. I show up daily as my best self and trust that God is handling the rest. Not only has my faith in God not failed me yet, but the more I increase my faith and focus on self-improvement, the better I see my life getting.
- I am focusing more on my health. Being more disciplined about what I eat and how often I exercise has given me more energy to be productive daily. I require less sleep and have more focus because my body is functioning at a higher capacity. With the exception of having a drink at a social function, I’ve mostly eliminated alcohol from my diet because I don’t like that it impairs me during and after consuming it. Those days of spending an entire day hungover after a night of drinking are over for me because there’s better and more productive ways that I’d like to spend my time and energy. I’ve realized that the more that I can get completed today will alleviate feelings of stress and overwhelm tomorrow. The better your body feels, the more you can get accomplished and the less stress you’ll feel.
Stress does not have to be constantly present in your life. Hard work is not necessarily a prerequisite for success, but smart work is. You can have as much peace as you are intentionally willing to create for yourself. What you feel and experience on a daily basis has much more to do with your choices than it does other people. Make the choice to take responsibility for your happiness and success. Once you do, you’ll be so glad that you did.