Every day, I tell myself that 2016 is the year that my life will change.
I know I have the power to do this with my own two hands, and after four months of wandering around and trying virtually everything under the sun to transform my career and build my confidence, I’ve seen important, incremental improvements in my life showing that my own little world is changing for the better.
At first, I thought that in order to design a better life for myself, I just needed to incorporate a few good habits to get myself there. But as I started going through the motions, I realized that in order for me to really go places and see bigger results, I had to let go of my bad habits, too.
Just like that famous Elizabeth Gilbert quote says: there comes a day when we have to recognize and deal with our own bullshit if we want our lives to undergo a major transformation.
Even with the progress that I’ve made, I’m still not happy with where my life is today.
I don’t like where I live and my career is a far cry from where I want it to be. I don’t date these days, but I would if I felt like I had my shit together. I’m in decent shape, but it’s not my best.
If you were speaking to an angrier, more stressed and bitter version of myself four months ago, I could probably find anyone and anything to blame for these things. But some time to rest and reflect has forced me to accept that my fate is ultimately up to me.
Every dollar lost or dollar earned is a result of the work that I put in, and in whom I choose to do business with. Every bit of knowledge or skill that I have or don’t have is a result of the time and care I put into educating myself. Every heartbreak and every fulfilling, loving relationship I take part in is a result of who I decide to let into my personal space and how I decide to interact with them. And every fitness milestone that I succeed or fail at is an effect of how disciplined I am in sticking to my goals and whether or not I take my own self-care seriously.
It’s really that simple. Every little part of our lives that we put up with—or that we’re able to enjoy and be proud of—is a manifestation of the little decisions that we make for ourselves each day. Sure, it’s daunting to accept responsibility for everything that goes wrong in our lives. But it’s really gratifying and empowering when we understand that we’re able to create our own fulfilling and extraordinary destinies, too.
This realization is what keeps motivated in following through on the changes I want for my life each day. My efforts are building some promising results. After weeks of burying myself in books and blog posts, film screenings and networking events, I’ve got new reporting projects in the works about the very country that I plan to relocate to at a respected, international news outlet. For the first time in years, I’m working out regularly and it shows. I’m not ready to date yet but I’ve slowly let new friends in the mix and I’m eager to see how our friendships grow over time. Plus, I’ve signed up for some language classes and listening to Spanish podcasts for hours every day is building my comprehension.
Sometimes I get overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel hopeless. Sometimes I squander my time and calories on things that I shouldn’t be fooling around with. There are times when I could do a better job of managing my anxiety about the future so I can be more polite and inviting towards the people around me.
But I write everyday—whether it’s for pleasure, for work, or simply to track my goals and how I use my time—because it forces me to own up to my bullshit and to keep my eyes locked forward. It’s easy to look around and chalk up our misfortunes and discontent to evil forces around us, but what we do and how we carry ourselves are the only things that matter.
I don’t know exactly what life will bring me next, but I’m preparing for the good with every ounce of grit that I’ve still got left.
Mark my words: this is the year that I will become the baddest bitch you have ever met.