Publisher - January 2024

“You don’t need a New Year or a new day to start fresh, you only need a new mindset.”

For me, 2023 was a difficult year. Probably more than 75 percent of my days were filled with stress and just felt heavy. Finding joy became an arduous task, mainly because my stress was bullying me. However, almost 100 percent of the time, I got up, I got out, and I did what had to be done. Some of those days I soared, which felt incredible. As I look back over the year as a whole, though, it wore me out.

I refuse to allow this year to follow suit. Bad years need to step aside because I’m putting measures in place, that no matter what, I’m going to make my well-being—both physically and mentally—a priority, and that includes not only finding joy, but living joyously!

I learned a great deal from the heaviness of last year that has helped me harness and focus my power, which often I forgot I had. A lot of it involves what I’m willing to dedicate my time to…and what I’m not. I have begun to quantify my time, how I fill it, and who I fill it with. How? By being more mindful.

Mindfulness has become a popular buzz word surfacing over the last few years, and at times, can come across as overwhelming. For me, getting mindful did not involve yoga, meditation, or anything of the sort, (even though I want to do those things). I simply took my mind and habits off of autopilot and started tuning into my thoughts and actions. I literally had mental conversations with myself, questioning my actions and asking things like: Do you need to do this now? Do you need to do it at all? When would be a more effective time to do this? How will delaying this help you today? Do you need to spend this money? What can you do to make this task less daunting? Do you need to say no to this? Who can you reach out to for help or support? (Great questions, aren't they?)

Being mindful isn’t woo-woo; it actually took much of the wasteful woo-woo out of my daily grind. This is a great start. Minfulness has me thinking about what I want and how I want to feel on a daily basis. It helps me harness emotions and distractions for what they are and keep them in their place. It also helped me get clear on what’s missing! Then of course, once I began to trust my mindfulness, it started to jiggle loose the doctrines and burdening thoughts that had set up camp in my mind—some from all the way back in my childhood.

This has helped me reduce stress, which is important because it was mucking up my mojo. Though none of this is a magic solution to lifting the weight of the world off your shoulders, it is a way to put the weight down more often and give yourself a break.

As I move into the New Year, I am determined to live differently, and for me, this means focusing on the lighter side of life. It starts with thinking about all that I am, instead of all that I am not. When I look back over 2023, there are many things I did right, even excellent, and things I accomplished, too. Unfortunately, these things tend to be invisible when stress and worry keep you focused on downfalls and woes.

Here are a few things I plan to incorporate in 2024—all year long!—to stay on the mindfulness train. I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Keep priorities priority:
Nothing indicates losing yourself more than not doing the most important things for yourself. Whatever your most important things are—exercising, reading the Bible, meditating, washing your face, playing with your children, etc.— never put anything in front of them! Whether they take two hours or 15 minutes, carve out the time and make it sacred. Do not let yourself down! These are your non-negotiables.

Make a list of what makes you happy and just do it:
When I first started Pink almost 20 years ago, I was burning the candle so hard, I forgot what made me happy. I had to make a list so I could remember and refer to the list so I would do one or two of those things occasionally. Here I am with an empty list again. I have to take inventory of my daily life. What’s fulfilling; what’s fun; what’s heavy; what’s awful; what’s necessary; what is wasting time and/or energy; what lights me up; what brings me down? It’s a lot of thinking, but it’s the only way of knowing for sure what I'm dealing with. It can work for you, too! Take action! Tackle one bad thing. Figure out how to make it better, or if it can be culled out altogether. Put more emphasis on the good things. Can they be expanded? Is it possible to make sure there are more things you enjoy than dread? This is simply planning to be happier and implementing it.

Plan something to look forward to or work towards:
It’s exciting to have future plans! Whether it be a trip, a renovation, a purchase, a marathon, or a reunion, having something to look forward to is proven to be both a motivator and pick-me-up. Working toward a goal and seeing yourself get closer and closer to achieving it is a huge confidence booster. Humans love to accomplish things; you know, check the box—it lights up your psyche. Very seldom do we wait for anything anymore. If we want it, we buy it. I encourage you to plan something that is at least six months out. Imagine the anticipation, the enthusiasm, the thrill that will build as you execute your plan and see your vision grow closer to reality. I’m pumped just writing about it!

Please join me in leaving 2023 in the dust and giving it the finger (just to be sure it’s gone!). Now let’s inform 2024 who’s in charge—We are! You’re just a year, 2023. You’re not the boss of us. We get to choose if you’re good or bad, so remember that, and we will get along swimmingly. Yes. That’s what we all want—a swimmingly delightful year. Happy New Year, and You Go, Girl!

Think Pink,
Elizabeth Millen