Soon our Christmas food-coma's will be settling and the aromas from mulled wine will fade. We will shortly find ourselves starting to say "See you next year" to people with a slightly freaked-out facial expression because we realise 2017 flew by in what seems like a second.
We will also soon notice our Facebook feeds filling up with New Years resolution quotes (I have been a culprit of this!) and while many will have resolutions of having a more active lifestyle and spending more time with family and friends - I'm over here thinking I may just aim to have more naps in 2018.
I know of many people who feel like the 1st of January means there's an instant 'refresh' button switched on and that the following year is another chance to try to reach the happiness we are aiming for. The reality however is that the craving of happiness is something we alone cannot reach but only faith can provide us with. We can look for happiness in many places but at the end of the day it comes down to making the best use out of the hours given to us each day. With making the right choices with our time given to us we can experience less stress and more joy which ultimately leads us to getting a taste of becoming the greatest versions of ourselves.
So as your mind starts getting into 'refresh' mode after a crazy year, here are 5 ways you can achieve the greatest version of yourself in 2018:
1. Book A Holiday
What better way to make 2018 your year by booking a holiday and having something great to look forward to. Whether it is a mini weekend road trip away or a month away to Croatia, if your bank account allows for it, I say do it!
Having some time away can leave you feeling refreshed and recharged and who doesn't welcome these feelings? By feeding your soul with the right choices and allowing yourself to rest, you will allow yourself to see life with a clearer perspective.
St. Augustine famously is known for saying "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page". So do your soul a favour by adding more pages to that book and feeding it with some rest and refreshment. Start planning the chill-out sessions by the beach and appreciating the natural beauty of a sunset and click on the 'Book Now' button!
2. Be In The Moment
Mother Teresa once said "Be happy in the moment. That's enough. Each moment is all we need, not more".
Too often we may have found ourselves spending way too much on social media and even becoming one of 'those people' that filter one of the 20 photos we took of the same view and try and see how many likes we will get on the post. Social media these days, while it can be great for sharing moments with friends and family, has in many cases become addictive and soul-sucking. Crazy when it's said out loud and many people will try to take a few steps back denying that they may fall into this category, but the reality is, many of us fall into this group.
All it takes though is a reminder of the reality to change our perspectives to help us in starting to enjoy the views and moments in front of us. We often can let our fears be determined by our past and focus on the uncertainty of the future that we don't allow the beauty of the current moment to be appreciated. Whether it is enjoying your coffee while you start your day or being grateful for the sight of the mash-potato-looking clouds 30,000 feet above the ground while you're making your way to a holiday destination, every view is beautiful - let's start to appreciate it!
3. Gratitude Diary
Want to lower your stress levels and gain a new perspective to truly appreciate life? Sounds too good to be true? I challenge you to start a gratitude diary. I then challenge you to do it for a whole year and tell me if it doesn't help you find joy and help you to see the greatest version of yourself.
As crazy as it may sound and as much as many eyebrows may be raised when I say this - gratitude can be found in all things. Even more so in the moments when you're angry or frustrated and feeling like the fails of life are taking over.
When we start to find gratitude in each day and in the troubles of life, you will find joy. 'Will' being a promise of mine if you take on this challenge because I am that certain that you will find so much happiness from it.
The best way to start one of these journals is to start it now. Even if you have not purchased a diary as yet, you can start adding your points of gratitude in a note on your phone at the end of each day. Over time you will notice that it is not joy that makes us grateful but gratitude that gives us joy.
Slowing down is needed for our bodies and our souls. Jesus was really onto something when he gave us Sunday's to rest and let it be a Sabbath day to spend with our families. Not many people may practice this though and allow that one day to pour rest into us and give us the fuel we need for the days of work in the week.
In previous articles I have mentioned the importance of feeding our souls with the good stuff. The stuff that lets us see the potential in us and achieve the greatest version of ourselves. That can still be daunting for myself to even type and read out loud because 'achieving the great version of ourselves' sounds like perfection but it is just striving to do our best and allowing ourselves to fall from time to time.
Life can lead us to worry and stress and so rest refreshes us. In a message St. Faustina received from Jesus and she mentions in her diary, it was said "Lay your head on my shoulder, rest and regain your strength. I am always with you". In reading this we are reminded that through prayer and giving our worries to him, we can find peace and rest within ourselves and be one step closer to bettering ourselves.
5. Learn More About Your Faith
We're always learning in this life. At no point can anyone say 'I know everything' because on a daily basis new content is being published, new opinions are being formed and the conditions in this world are constantly changing.
Even with faith, it is difficult to learn everything and that is the beauty of it. We can always learn new things and apply them to our life and that is why attending mass, practicing our faith through prayer and through good conversations can help better us. There are great retreats that also help us to learn more and one that comes to mind and I myself am excited to be attending is 2018's CroCatholic Retreat in Sydney.
Do you want to know more about your faith? Do you want to know why millions across the world are finding happiness because of their faith? Do you have questions that are stopping you from loving your faith and want answers to? Do you want to know how to defend your faith in this crazy world we live in? Do you want to meet great people who share the same interests as you?
If you answer yes to even one of these questions, this retreat is definitely for you! The 2018 CroCatholic Retreat will be taking place in Sydney from the 8th - 11th of February, 2018 and is open for 18-35 year old Croatian-Aussies. Registrations are still open so you still have time to lock in your spot. Simply click the below link to find out more about this event and register.
There's nothing quite like being in a serene and quiet setting, nourishing your soul and eating a whole packet of Napolitanke while listening to one of Don Damir's talks (No judgement! - But I might take one off you).
So before Christmas comes around and you realise the struggle is real with your food coma while you sit on the couch watching a Christmas movie, start setting your goals to achieve the best version of yourself in 2018. Stop saying yes to the things that you always find drain you or leave you feeling flat. Each day is a new opportunity to say yes to the good stuff. Book your next holiday, focus on living in the moment, start to be grateful in all things, make sure you rest and make the plans you need to ensure you're learning more about your faith and bettering yourself.
We have 365 new days coming. 365 new chances and a reminder that the bible tells us 365 times 'Do not be afraid'. St Francis de Sales said "Do not fear what might happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for your tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings". Let's stop being afraid to say yes to these 5 way to achieve the greatest versions of ourselves and start today.