Looking Back on the Past 3 Years of New Years Resolutions

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A few days ago, I randomly decided to flip through some of my old journals to see how much I’ve changed over the years. Between three different journals, I found my “New Years Resolutions” for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
My resolutions were not the typical goal-setting or giving-something-up type of resolutions though. They were much more personal, and things that only I could change.
This is the first time I’ve read back over the past few years of resolutions, and since one of my major resolutions for this past year was to be more vulnerable, I want to share what I wrote in my journals…

In December 2013 (when I was still married), I wrote my New Years Resolutions for 2014 as follows:

  • Conquer your anxiety and emotional apathy.
  • Find something that will prevent you from feeling “stuck” and bored with your life, and get back the feeling of excitement, passion, and an interest in SOMETHING.
  • Focus on controlling your thoughts and behaviors (like drinking) so you can be more attentive.
  • Control your temper and anger outbursts towards Joey.
  • Be present and stop dreaming about a life you don’t have.
  • Stop obsessing over your image and become confident in your own skin.
  • Let go of your past and negative experiences; find the good in what you currently have.
2014 was the first year I made monumental changes and growth towards becoming a stronger, happier, and more confident person. Unfortunately, this drove a wedge in my marriage which was not at all changing (or improving) along with me, and I realized what a toxic relationship it was, for both of us.

In December 2014 (a few weeks before ending my marriage), I wrote my New Years Resolutions for 2015 as follows:

  • Discover who you are as an individual (not as a couple), and become your own person.
  • Believe in yourself – if you don’t, who will?
  • Never apologize for doing what you believe in or believe to be right, even if those closest to you don’t agree with your point-of-view.
  • Sometimes you’ll have to do difficult, painful things, like letting go of someone you love, so that you (and they) can move on and be happy.
  • Remember: you have all the potential in the world, even when it doesn’t seem like it. You have something to offer the world that no one else can…so figure out what it is.
  • Be the type of person you want to be. There are always people who are worse off than you, and you should help those people.
  • Don’t get too attached to “things” – they’re all replaceable, temporary, and can disappear at any time. Instead, live for memories, happiness, and kindness – these things can never be taken from you.
  • Quit drinking, focus on your fitness, and spend more time on what you’re passionate about.
  • Find something you’re good at and enjoy, and master it.
  • Travel. Move. Chase the sunshine.
2015 is the year my entire world flipped upside down; I ended my marriage, finished my master’s degree, took off to travel the world on my own, started a travel blog, moved to Australia, became a digital nomad, and continued to focus on my personal growth while learning as much as I could about myself.

In December 2015 (while I was living in Australia), I wrote my New Years Resolutions for 2016 as follows:

  • Learn to enjoy your own company and feel confident being alone.
  • Stop worrying about how other people view you and just enjoy the time you have to yourself.
  • You can be anyone you want to be, so choose to be healthier, happier, and more generous.
  • This year, be focused, productive, and ambitious towards your entrepreneurial goals.
  • Get outside every day and be active.
  • Move slowly, enjoy the moment, soak in the atmosphere, and be grateful for everything you’re experiencing.
  • Open yourself up to new opportunities and new people – allow yourself to be vulnerable.
  • Don’t rush from one activity to the next, savor each one.
  • Focus on developing your strengths instead of trying to fix your weaknesses.
  • Be attentive and take action here, now, in this place, rather than focusing on what might happen someday, sometime, somewhere else.
I also wrote a little excerpt about what I was most proud of from 2015:
“Having the courage to leave behind the life that was making me miserable for a life of adventure, travel, and self-discovery. For the first time in my life, I feel proud of the person I am today. I struggled with right and wrong this past year, worried that my choices were selfish, but now I trust my instincts and know that it will all work out the way it is supposed to, even if it’s not what I expected.”

So, if I had to sum up and slap a title on each of these years, I would say…

2014 was “The Year of Thinking” – It’s the year I started focusing on changing my mindset and views on life.

2015 was “The Year of Taking Action” – This was the year I pulled the plug on everything that was holding me back and chased after everything I wanted – checking off one bucket list item at a time.

2016 was “The Year of Self-Discovery” – This past year was when I dove deep into learning everything about myself that I possibly could – how I function, what makes me tick, why I am the way I am, how my body and brain works, the key to my happiness, my limits and boundaries, what I’m passionate about, the art of self-love, etc.

And 2017 will be “The Year of Transformation”. My life has radically transformed each of these years, but I have a sneaky feeling 2017 is going to blow them all out of the water. I am 100% committed to getting in the best shape of my life, earning the title “entrepreneur,” building my tribe, seeing the world in a different light as I travel to new places, and improving the lives of those around me.

As 2016 ends and we welcome in 2017, I can’t help but smile at how far I’ve come over the past few years. Without even realizing it, I (eventually) accomplished all of my “resolutions” by turning my focus inward.
Of course, these are all still things that I work towards on a daily basis (personal growth is a LIFELONG journey), but there is nothing more gratifying than knowing exactly who you are and realizing you have finally become the person you used to dream about being when you felt “trapped” in another life.
The person who wrote those resolutions in 2013 was filled with anxiety, resentment, and shame. But when I finally stopped blaming other people and the outside world for those feelings and realized I was the only one who could change it, that’s when my life began to radically improve by leaps and bounds.
Regardless, change is painfully slow; that’s why I said “without realizing it,” because you usually don’t actually feel the change happening in the moment. I don’t remember writing these resolutions, and I didn’t realize until now that I actually achieved them. I didn’t write them to set strict guidelines where the only outcomes were either “success” or “failure” like most New Year’s resolutions, instead, I wrote them to set my intentions for moving forward from that point in my life. And only now, with the opportunity to reflect back on them years later, do I realize the power setting those intentions had on my life.
What intentions will you set for moving forward from this point in your life?

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Bre Fowler

Hi, I'm Bre - the founder of The Positive Change Co! In early 2015, I left my familiar life in Seattle, WA behind to travel the world and become a digital nomad. Traveling as a LIFESTYLE completely transformed me. It was during my first big trip abroad in SE Asia and Australia that I found my passion for healthy living, addiction for personal growth, and a profound sense of purpose in the world. The Positive Change Co. is about more than just eating healthy and taking care of your body, it's about becoming the best possible version of yourself so that you can offer your best self to others and live a more meaningful life.

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