Things you need to let go of this year

The new year is a great time to let go of things you do not need to bring with you into 2015. Here are some things you may be holding on to.

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  • When a new year starts, we tend to make resolutions to do new things, start workout programs, eat healthier, be nicer and spend more time with family, to name a few. But before we add more to our lives, how about we let go of a few things first?

  • Expectations

  • When we have expectations, whether it be of a person or experience, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Our expectations are almost always higher than what something really is. Even if someone does something nice, if we expected more, then we miss out on appreciating what they did do and only see what they did not. Instead, let go of expectations. Be free to enjoy what comes along without feeling like you are missing something you expected to be there.

  • Guilt

  • There are so many things to feel guilty about; spending too much money, eating too much junk food, not having enough educational activities for your toddler to do during the day... the list goes on. Instead of beating yourself up, take a minute to acknowledge that you could do better on some things, then move on. Try harder, but don't waste your energy berating yourself over your faults, it will not get you anywhere.

  • Comparing yourself to others

  • This one can cause a whole bunch of problems. When you compare yourself to someone else, you are being unfair to yourself. You do not know a person's real life or problems, especially if you are only using what you learned on social media as your measuring stick. Every person has her own trials and issues to overcome. You should only compare yourself to you. See how far you've come, how much you've grown and what you've learned along the way.

  • Perfectionism

  • No one is perfect. Some days your house will be a mess, you will yell at your kids, and you might even say something really dumb in front of someone really important. We all have bad days, even those of us who seem to never have a hair out of place, so don't be surprised when those days come. Learn to laugh them off and move on. Our imperfections make us who we are and keep life interesting.

  • Making plans

  • Trust me. My life is nothing like I thought it would be when I started making plans after high school. Some things are much better, and some things did not happen. My bank account is nowhere near as full as I thought it would be, but I have traveled to many parts of the world that I never dreamed of seeing. It is healthy to have goals, dreams and desires, but don't get discouraged when things don't go according to plan. Instead, enjoy the journey, roll with the punches and bloom where you are planted.

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  • Making everyone happy

  • It is important to be a nice person, to treat others with respect, kindness and love. But when we put everyone else's happiness above our own, we usually end up miserable. Our own happiness is just as important as others. In fact, when we are not happy, it usually impacts our behavior toward others and then no one is happy. Don't compromise your values, don't hide your feelings and abandon who you are in the attempt to make someone else happy.

  • Saying yes to everything

  • Are you one of those people who cannot say no? Someone asks you to organize a fundraiser, even though you are already running the book drive, and you say, "yes." Your sister asks you to watch her five kids for the weekend. You already have three of your own, all under the age of 6, yet you say, "Sure, bring them over."

  • If you are, you may need to learn to say no. There is nothing wrong with taking on challenges or doing service, but when we are already stretched to the limit, we may be setting ourselves up for failure or even a mental breakdown. Learn to know your limits, and how to politely say no.

  • Fitting into your ideal pant size

  • While you should aim to be a healthy weight and size, don't use unhealthy means to get there. In other words, be healthy. But if you're not the size you always dreamed of, let it go. Life is about more than just a number on your clothes, but rather taking the time to smell the roses, enjoy the moment and, yes, eating that piece of cake every once in a while.

  • By eliminating some of these obstacles in your life, it frees you up to enjoy the simpler things. It allows you to let go of guilt, stop beating yourself up for not being perfect, and even freeing yourself from expectations. Start the new year with less, and you'll be surprised how much more enjoyable your life will be.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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