The Biggest Reason 2017 WON'T Be Your Year

Photography by Austin Day

Photography by Austin Day

Wow, this past year was filled with tears of joy and...well just tears. You may have spent your year studying relentlessly in the library until 2:00 AM to earn straight A's, moved to a big cityworking at your dream job, or finally launched your website to show off your talents. Some of you could have worked two jobs and been a full-time student to afford going out every weekend, started dating a jerk who you knew you weren't supposed to avoid being entirely alone during cuffing season, or wasted far to much time on social media that you ended up hating your life but still have to post because if you don't it never actually happened. On top of our personal struggles and triumphs, it's safe to say our world has went mad in 2016!

Photography by Austin Day

Photography by Austin Day

Well, we are 9 days away from 2017. I'm sure most of you are waiting on encouraging words on how to make 2017 your year. But it's important to reflect on this year before moving forward. The biggest reason that 2017 will NOT be your year is because you refuse to work on self-knowledge. "Wait...what? Seriously? That's the best advice you've got for 2017? To get to know myself?" YES, gorgeous! This is the BEST and most honest advice I can give you. But more than 80% of you won't take it. Here's why...

Self-knowledge is the understanding of oneself or one’s own motives or character
— Dictionary.com
Photography by Austin Day

Photography by Austin Day

Getting to know yourself is properly achieved by digging deep in the stuff you push down just to make it to work every Monday. You must do the hard work of truly knowing the beautifully complex, wonderful, and incredible person that lives within you. When we know ourselves, our soul opens up in alignment with our God-given purpose.

"But how do we do this?" Well, I can say it's not by starting our day reading inspirational quotes on Instagram or by racing through our favorite devotional app. (I'm so guilty of this sometimes) We pray for five minutes and leap out of bed to go put our faces on for the day. There's nothing wrong with this; but haven't you noticed that by 10:00 AM someone tries you then become irritated, ready to punch them in the face. But then you remember you're saved and can't so you just smile and answer passive aggressively. It's not enough to put in a measly 15 minutes of self-care and self-knowledge to be conquer your day, let alone the additional 364 days that lies ahead!

First, we must take the time to reflect on the past.

By reflect, I don't mean just looking through our social media pages. Although that is helpful, we need to look through our journals or notes. We need to envision what you were going through each month in 2016. What made you feel powerful and wise? What weakened or temporarily broke you? How did you recover? What brings you joy, belly laughing, nothing special going-on but just smiling joy? What did you achieve this year? What did you promise you would do but didn't end up doing? What friends stayed with you and who left? Who brings out the best in you? I can't stress this enough. You must take the time to evaluate your soul. 

Photography by Austin Day

Photography by Austin Day

When we choose to ignore ourselves and go through the motions of everyday life, we are failing to see our full potential.
— Deborah Shepherd

Second, you've got to strategically put you on your calendar and commit to it like you're getting paid. 

Some of us have families, work, and other major responsibilities going on, which can make it very difficult to make time to think about these things. Yet, we often have enough time to write that political post on Facebook. Pencil yourself in daily, once a week, or even twice a month! Focus on ONE aspect of you that needs to be discovered. You just have to actually think about these things. Treat this as over-time work for over-time pay because you'll wish you would have done this before it's too late. I recommend spending time alone to do achieve this. Go to a coffee shop and sit for an hour or two. Close your door and place your phone far way from you.You don't need any outside influence. You know yourself better than any compliment underneath a tweet or photo ever could tell. 

Photography by Austin Day

Photography by Austin Day

Third, this will only work if you're very clear and honest with yourself, about yourself.

It's okay if you don't know yourself. But your self-knowledge depends entirely on your honesty. You have to be very clear about what you like and what you don't like. Write out things that you actually like about yourself, even if it sounds weird. For instance, I love how empathetic I am.  I used to be teased and called a cry baby. But that's far from the truth. I have the power to feel intensely the emotions of others. That means I can relate to people on a deeper level. What a gift! But if I didn't spend the time to understand who I am then I would have only seen it as a curse. 

Get clear about what you want your life to consist of. We often do this work and think about how we want to be remembered. But we forget to think about how we want to see ourselves. Don't be the old person in the retirement home who is telling a young visitor, "I wish I did this or I wish I appreciated how beautiful I was." Do the hard work now of knowing yourself, so when challenges come, you will be grounded in your truth.