When the word “hope” is used in business, a client of mine is always quick to remind that “hope is not a strategy”. This may ring true in work environments, but when it comes to our personal lives, our hearts are far softer in contemplating life.
“They say a person needs three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” – Tom Bodett
As I sat on the first day of the new year and reflected, I realized the foundation of what we define for ourselves, friends, loved ones, and even circumstances around the world, begins with hope. In a world where fear, loneliness, and desperation touch so many, hope is simply needed and is often clung to for dear life.
Hope keeps us going. It gives life meaning, especially during difficult or challenging times. In this stage of life, I find myself drawing on hope perhaps more than I did in decades prior. As middle-aged women, we hope for our adult children, aging parents, friends and loved ones, for those struggling, for our community, the world, and for ourselves.
As Mary C. Lamia Ph.D. notes, “Hope structures your life in anticipation of the future and influences how you feel in the present. Similar to optimism, hope creates a positive mood about an expectation, a goal, or a future situation. Such mental time travel influences your state of mind and alters your behavior in the present. The positive feelings you experience as you look ahead, imagining hopefully what might happen, what you will attain, or who you are going to be, can alter how you currently view yourself. Along with hope comes your prediction that you will be happy, and this can have behavioral consequences”.
As we enter a new year and with the hope we hold for ourselves and others, I caution you to be gentle on yourself. As exciting as a new year can be, it can also be a time of pressure (from others or ourselves) to create change or to achieve lofty new goals. I encourage you to ask yourself: how will this change or new intention serve you in the coming year? Does it align to your authentic self and your hope?
During my own reflection these past few days, I began to feel somewhat overwhelmed. This morning brought clarity (and perspective) as I read Richelle Ready’s words in Bloom Yoga’s newsletter:
“I invite you to reflect on where you were last year at this time, what did you introduce into your life this past calendar year that created value, laughter, positivity, and happiness? What did you decrease in your life this past calendar year because it no longer served you? How can you celebrate all that you have accomplished, succeeded in, created, manifested, and let go of in 2018? Looking into the year ahead, what can you introduce into your life or invest more time in to create more opportunities for happiness, growth, positive discomfort, connection, magic, and experiences that build you up? What can you invest less time in because it no longer fills you up?”
So, as you begin the New Year, I wish you much hope: hope for new beginnings, fresh perspective, richness in your days, for inner peace and joy, and for the fullness of feeling comfortable in your own skin. Because an invigorated outlook on life is always a breath of fresh air, and we need not turn our lives upside down to find it. And…because we can!
“You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” – Glinda, Wizard of Oz
Happy New Year!
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Photos: Casey Nolin Photography