2017 | How To Make The Most Of The New Year!
2017 is here! Can you believe it?!
Now is the time to do what is necessary to make this your best year ever.
As I sit here and fold laundry on New Year’s Eve (lame, I know but also so, so nice to just be at home) and think about whether or not I am going to even make it to midnight to ring in the new year, I think back on my days of partying, when I was single, without little ones, and when I had more energy (or, at least, when I drank enough energy drinks to pump me up to think I did).
2016, for me, was a year of continued healing. I’ve been on this journey of healing since my near-fatal accident back in 2010, however, my pain did not start there. We all tend to have pain that arises out of childhood, out of traumas, out of life circumstances, out of not being understood, out of being judged and discriminated against, out of poor choices, out of uncontrollable circumstances, out of not learning to cope in a healthy way, out of feeling silenced, out of feeling alone, and weak, or maybe even “strong”, but only due to walls constructed to keep others out.
I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve seen really dark days, I know how hard it is to find the courage to allow for vulnerability. I’ve held back tears and I’ve learned to let them fall free. All of those tears each held a bit of pain and each release enabled me to become that much more free from everything that once held me back from being who I was designed to be.
In 2017, I hope you will allow yourself to begin your own journey of healing if you haven’t started already. For you, I desire joy, peace, and authentic living. It’s time for you to start living in your greatness even while acknowledging your smallness. For you, it is time to start embracing your own gifts. 2017 is a year to release any feelings of jealousy, any feelings of being unworthy or undeserving (you deserve all the good that comes your way), any feelings of unforgiveness that is holding you prisoner to someone else’s walk in life. It is time to let go of that which no longer serves you, including toxic relationships, toxic habits, and toxic thoughts. It is time to embrace “newness of life” and new opportunities. It is time to move forward trusting the journey, embracing the discomfort of uncertainty, and having the courage to move through any fear that attempts to block you from fully living your life to the fullest.
You have been given this gift of life and there’s no guarantee as to how long you will have to fulfill your life’s purpose.
2017 is a year for you to begin making the most of life, to live in a way that you’d feel fulfilled and without regret if your last moments were to come tomorrow. Not to sound morbid, but I tend to meditate on death and my own end of life. It keeps me accountable. It keeps me moving forward. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, but if I were to die today, then I would die feeling fulfilled. I am at peace with where I am in life. I’ve come to a place that I had only hoped for and envisioned when I was back in 2011, in Michigan in my bed feeling all alone after my near-fatal accident. I remember thinking that if I could survive what had threatened to destroy me, then I’d want to be a voice of hope for those who were feeling like I once did – all alone. I am grateful to say that although I’m still traveling my journey, that I’ve also arrived. In looking back at all of the pain, all of the loss, all of the times when I’ve thought that it would be easier to give up, I feel gratitude. This feeling has come through the practice of positivity and faith, and this has gotten me to where I am today. Although I feel a sense of peace in regards to where I am at in life, I also hope to be granted many more years of life. I have two little ones that motivate me and inspire me to truly keep living and I hope to be given the opportunity to spread my message of hope; so I can tell others, like yourself, that if I have been able to travel this difficult journey and arrive at this place of joy and peace that surpasses all understanding, then so can you.
That is why for me, 2017 will be a year of increased focus, so I can do my best to not only make the most of each gifted day but so I can help others arrive and to share my message of hope.
I’ve decided that in this new year I will start offering group and limited one-on-one mentoring. This is really just me taking all of my gifts, all of my life experiences, all of my education and allowing myself to dive deeper with those individuals who feel led to walk more intimately alongside me. For the last five years, I have had the opportunity to serve tens of thousands of individuals through the Facebook communities that I’ve felt led to serve at.At first, it was Motor Vehicle Accident Survivors, which I started for my one-year accident anniversary. Then, I started a page called Brain Injury Awareness Month, which served it’s purpose for a good period of time. I was featured as a traumatic brain injury survivor with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which was an honor; and news to me literally just in this moment, with The Huffington Post – that was quite the surprise to find! I also had the opportunity to share part of my message with .MIC. The way that I look at it, any opportunity to share about acquired brain injury and the effects of a concussion is an opportunity to bring awareness and light to an issue that many healthcare professionals are not even highly knowledgeable about. If you want to learn the in-depth details about a condition, then my advice is to go find individuals who have personally lived with these conditions and to listen. Nobody can understand a health issue more than someone who has actually experienced it and lived with it, and THAT is something that I wish more health care professionals would acknowledge.
After serving at Brain Injury Awareness Month for a good period of time, I began to dedicate my time to my Facebook community, Dr. Nicole M. Eastman, D.O. This page started as a way to share how I was serving others and then, it became about how I could truly be used to serve others. This is where I started to share my journey of healing, my life, my thoughts, and daily encouragement for others. This community has been more than I could have ever asked for. I’ve been given the opportunity to walk alongside and lift up those who have experienced great losses and immeasurable pain, and I’ve also celebrated alongside others in their successes. What a tremendous blessing and honor this community has been and as I’ve continued to heal, I have witnessed so many others heal alongside me. To me, that is what I consider success and purposeful living. I realize that this is a big part of why it was that I had to survive my accident and that my gift of encouragement goes hand-in-hand with the calling of helping others to heal.
Since my accident, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and that included learning that to help others, I had to first help myself. In 2016 especially, I had to learn the value of self-care. I had no choice. In embracing self-care, I had to establish healthy boundaries, I had to say “no” to unhealthy relationships and “no more” to those who did not care to honor and love me for me, I had to exercise courage as I stood up for myself and exercised my voice to those who tried to silence me, I had to allow myself to learn and come to a greater understanding of myself and my giftedness, and I had to go deeper in faith and trust the journey that is continuing to unfold.
Despite some unresolved health issues ongoing from my accident complicated by my inherent hypermobility, and despite not having the type of financial security in my life that I had hoped for at this time in my life (apparently God didn’t plan for me being a millionaire at the age of 35), I ended 2016 with more gratitude than I’ve ever known before. When I look back at 2016, and if I had to give it one word to sum it all up, my word would have been gratitude. I look back on my journey and where I am at now, despite unresolved issues, uncertainty, and not having everything in place, and I just feel so incredibly thankful.
In looking forward to 2017 and how I plan on making the most of it, my new word is FOCUS.
In 2017, I am going to focus on what matters most, and I hope you will too – wherever you are at along your journey. What is it for you? At the end of this year, what will make you feel accomplished, complete, and content? Maybe it is growing deeper in faith, or maybe it is gaining better health, or maybe it is strengthening your relationships with others who honor and love you, or maybe it releasing those who don’t? Maybe it is learning to better manage your time, to set goals and to stick with them, to remember to include self-care somewhere in all of that, therefore allowing for balance. Maybe in 2017, you are going to stop looking at closed doors and start focusing on doors that are opening? Maybe you’ll finally write that book, or you’ll finally start saving for your future, or you’ll finally start just getting real and be the real you that’s been hiding below the surface just waiting to be given permission to arrive in this world. Maybe you are going to finally allow yourself to live in your greatness, to give yourself time to figure out what your life calling is if you haven’t figured that out thus far, to finally use this calling to bring good to the world.
So, let me ask you:
What are your goals for 2017? I’d love for you to take this moment to write down 5 specific goals and your plan for accomplishing these goals and I challenge you to really commit to making this vision a reality.
Where do you envision yourself in a year from now?
Who do you envision yourself being in a year from now?
What do you wish to release in 2017?
What do you wish to embrace in 2017?
You have one life to live. Your time here is not guaranteed. Your health is not guaranteed.
How are you going to choose to make the most of 2017?
If you are having a difficult time answering these questions or even if you feel clear on where your journey is leading you, but you’d like to have someone walk alongside you, encourage you, and help guide you to your best life possible, then I’d like to invite you to an opportunity to be mentored by me. This is, I believe, a calling that has been placed on my life. I’ve been mentoring and encouraging others most of my life. As I look back, it was my grandmother who taught me to become the mentor that I’ve become today. I think back to all of those years of invaluable kitchen table talks filled with love, graceful honesty, acceptance, never an ounce of judgment, and continuous encouragement. Now, I’ve switch seats – now I am able to sit in my grandma’s chair looking across to someone who is not seen as lower than me, younger than me, or lesser than me, but rather equal to me, respected, and loved. I do not think that I am “better” than anyone and I truly care. I have a heart for serving others. I look back at those who I have had an opportunity to mentor even in the last five years, and it has always humbled me in knowing that so many of the individuals that I’ve been used to serve are decades older than me in years. This old soul of mine has been gifted lessons learned through painful experiences, insights far greater than my years, wisdom, empathy, and insight, which I have learned not everyone has been gifted with.
Maybe this is why I chose to study psychology during my undergraduate education, maybe this is why my personal training clients always did so well when it came to reaching their goals, maybe this is why my peers decided to choose me as one of their Peer Mentors of the Year when I was back in medical school studying to become a doctor, maybe this is why I “got in trouble” for leading group therapy sessions when I was going through my own journey of healing after my near-fatal accident (haha that makes me laugh a little inside), and maybe this is why I have been entrusted with helping so many others along their journey of healing. Maybe, just maybe, my Grandma Donegan was preparing me for life in a greater way than I had ever realized back when I was that sensitive little girl – a little girl who got in trouble because she just could not stay silent to abuse, injustice, or to settling to do things just because I was told to do them without having the opportunity to understand why or better yet, a chance to challenge another’s reasoning. It took me 35 years to understand my giftedness and how to live in my greatness, despite my smallness, to help others do just that, too.