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The One 2020 New Year's Resolution We Should All Make

Planet Fitness, in partnership with Time Square Alliance, tested the "air worthiness" of the confetti prior to Times Square's New Year's Eve 2020 celebration in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019 in New York. (Ben Hider/AP Images - Distributed for Planet Fitness)

New Year 2020

Planet Fitness, in partnership with Time Square Alliance, tested the “air worthiness” of the confetti prior to Times Square’s New Year’s Eve 2020 celebration in New York City on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019 in New York. (Ben Hider/AP Images – Distributed for Planet Fitness)

We’re just hours away from the start of 2020. Where in the world did the time go?

If you don’t do it any other point during the course of the year, the last week of December is always a good time to pause and reflect on what went right and what went wrong in your life over the last 12 months, and to contemplate ideas for how to improve yourself in the new year.

But if you’re like me, it’s tough not to be too hard on yourself. It’s difficult to not focus solely on the negative events that happened and/or to put the blame squarely on your own shoulders for everything that went wrong in your life, in spite of the fact that in reality oftentimes circumstances were beyond your control.

For so many of us, life is a blur throughout the course of any given year. We work ourselves down to the bone to provide for our families and ourselves, all while trying to squeeze in personal time with family and friends as well as “me time” – that time where you get the opportunity to relax, recharge, and rejuvenate.

More often than not, however, that family/friend/me time often takes a backseat to the work load and the recovery time from that work load because you’re just too danged tired to do much more.

As a result of that “all work and no play” mentality, things go wrong. You forgot about an important event, which disappointed loved ones. You waited too long to get that rattling in your car fixed and as a result, bigger and more costly repairs need to be made.

There’s one easy thing those in these situations can do throughout the new year and in the years that follow to cut back on the end-of-year regrets, the kicking yourself, and lamenting about how time flies by so fast (too fast). And guess what? It doesn’t cost you a dime:

Come to a good stopping point in the middle of what you’re doing – or plan in advance and then follow through – to stop and smell the roses. And I mean really stop and admire that rose and look it and smell it from all different angles.

Do it often. Take the necessary time to take care of you and your personal business. Because if you don’t, it will take its toll on you mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically. Not to mention the damaged relationships that can happen as a result of not doing so.

Before 2020, I worked in administrative jobs for most of my adult life, so I spent a lot of time traveling to and from work each day. At least two or three times a week I’d pull over and snag a photo of the sun rising. Or on the way home, I’d pull over and try to get a good picture of the sun setting.

When I took vacations to the beach or to the mountains (fortunately we have the best of both worlds here in my beloved North Carolina!) the vast majority of my time wasn’t spent shopping or doing touristy stuff. It was spent directly on the beach or on the mountains enjoying the views and taking pictures of the waves or the beautiful autumn colors, and smelling the salty air or crisp autumn breezes. Digging my toes into the soft sand or crunching the fall leaves.

You’ve seen those York Peppermint Pattie ads where the person looks in a blissful state after eating one, right? That’s kinda how I looked when I took those trips.

Fortunately, I became my own boss this year when I struck out on my own and decided to take a chance on freelance writing for a living. Unfortunately, I focused so intently on getting back into the groove and re-establishing myself that I failed to balance my time between work responsibilities and personal life events. I didn’t take time away for those beach and mountain trips. And because I’m not up at the crack of dawn driving to work anymore, I don’t get as many sunset and sunrise pictures as I used to.

As a result of my not “stopping to smell the roses” more and instead keeping my nose to the grindstone, my stress levels increased and it negatively impacted my health in a multitude of ways.

But I told myself this week that was going to change in the new year. I have resolved to continue to work hard to be the best I can at what I do, while at the same time striving to be better at time management with the work/life balance.

I have resolved to take more time to step out for some fresh air and sunrises, to enjoy more quality time with family and friends, and to try and not sweat the small stuff as much as I normally do.

Life is too short to be consumed with worry about trivial things or things that are otherwise beyond your control.

Taking that time to stop and smell the roses is necessary for so many reasons, especially as it relates to maintaining those vitally important personal relationships with family members and friends. Not to mention how it helps with your mental and emotional well-being. Beyond that, taking time out to refresh makes it so that when you return back to your work responsibilities, you are tanned, rested, and ready to kick a** and take on the world.

So in 2020, don’t forget about those roses.

Happy new year, y’all. Be safe, have fun, and God bless.