Towards the end of a year, I always set aside time to think of my mantra for the upcoming one. Well, it could be a “battle cry”, or a manifesto, or literally anything in prose or poem that would motivate me for the coming year. The previous years the themes were about filling myself with immense fire to be driven to reach my goals. Or to never allow the fear of walking alone stop me from pursuing my dreams. And while those got the job done, and allow me to march forward in my life, something didn’t feel just quite right.
This year, I did it differently in many ways. First, I didn’t just write it on the first page of my Moleskine, or on the January 1 entry of my journal. I knew I wanted to engrave it on the cover of my diary, and fortunately, National Bookstore offered that service this year (and to be honest, I wish they do it every year. I would hoard like crazy).
Yes, I got two Moleskines for this year. The black one is my planner; it clearly reads my name. The red one is my diary which I carry around with me wherever I go. What does the gold engraving read? Choose Yourself.
You might be thinking, “Well, that sounds selfish!”, or “From being a crazed, passion-obsessed, goal-driven person, you turn into this individual who chooses to just think of yourself?”
But, it is important to think of yourself, to watch over yourself. And, quite frankly, while I have given a lot of career advice to young people, the most valuable one, I have shared is that you have to put yourself at the center of your life. No, I don’t mean being self-centered. It doesn’t mean throwing people under the bus. It doesn’t mean choosing your career over spending time with the people you love.
Choose Yourself means making decisions which would allow you to be the best version of yourself. Choosing yourself means being self-aware; knowing who you are, acknowledging your strengths and your weaknesses, and working on improving yourself to achieve your goals. So, yes, this mantra is still about achieving my goals, but things are just framed differently.
And this shift in attitude has been helpful. Why? Simply, because I’m more aware of what I exactly need to improve on. Of what I have to do to improve certain areas in my life. Of what are my key performance indicators. And only 2 months into the year, and I can say, I’m quite on track. Quite.
I am getting much into fitness. I previously shared that I have been jogging. Not to mention, I’m eating healthier. I count my calories, like crazy. And I obsess over it sometimes. Sometimes.
I also enjoy myself a cup of muesli of Salad Stop almost every afternoon.
And when I’m not eating that, I get the Energy Bowl of Jamba Juice.
If you know me well, you know that I read the news, and I read newsletters, and case studies. Yes, case studies–Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Digital. I have to know best practices if I want to continue making effective campaigns for clients, right? This year, I decided to read books, for leisure and for self-improvement. My first book for the year was “Better Than Before” by Gretchen Rubin. It’s all about forming habits, and it’s been insightful and helpful in allowing me to stick through to my “Choose Yourself” mantra. Second one, what I’m currently obsessing over, is “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes, to which I’m learning so much about how powerful “Yes”, and “No” are.
These are just some of the things that I have been doing to choose myself. And while I am uncertain how I’m improving myself in terms of my career–as I am still figuring that out–I could say that choosing to be healthy, choosing to be fit, choosing to spend leisure time well, all add up to making me simply a better person. A happy person even.
And I firmly believe that a person who has found his inner peace, his inner rhythm, his inner jive, could even reach further heights than someone who is just filled with “passion flames”. I am convinced that a person who has found his zen, could quietly, inconspicuously blaze trails, and conquer the world.
Always remember to put yourself at the center of your life. And it’s only been two months, you still have a lot of time to put your best foot forward, and Choose Yourself.