to Thrive

On my commute to work, I can’t help but to wonder, how many people are aiming to get through the day?  How often do I start my own day thinking, I’ll be happy when this day is over. Unfortunately, too many people go through life merely aiming to make it through their day.

In the immortal words of Switchfoot, “I wanna thrive, not just survive.” But what does it mean to thrive? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to thrive is to:

(a) to grow vigorously, to flourish

(b) to gain in wealth or possessions, to prosper

(c) to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances

Personally, when I envision the word “thrive,” I see lush green vegetation blooming, regardless of the weather or the environment. Given my propensity to post flower imagery on this blog, it should come to no surprise that thriving is synonymous with flourishing.

Over the course of a year, I’ve quickly learned that thriving does not mean attaining wealth or possessions like Merrium-Webster’s second definition might suggest because the joy that material items bring is temporary. Instead, I’ve found that thriving is sustaining a balanced life – one in which I am able to spend quality time with my friends and family, while continuing to pursue my dreams and maintain financial independence. Additionally, ensuring that I spend time each day praying, journalling, and reading the Bible is essential.

Although I made great progress on my 2017 goals, I am continuing to pursue my dreams and to change my bad habits. By the end of 2016, I found that my shopping habits became uncontrollable because I used shopping as a means to “buy” happiness. Fostering an unhealthy attitude towards shopping cost me financially, as well as personally because I lacked the funds to engage in fun experiences in my ofttimes. Thus, my major goal for 2017 was to cut back on my spending – largely within beauty and apparel categories. This is a goal I rigorously kept track of and continuously worked towards throughout the year. Despite my progress, my shopping habits are something that I want to continue to work on in 2018.

However, flourishing might look different to you due to your circumstances or goals. If you find yourself stuck in your life, unsure of how to make positive changes, start small: make a list of the areas or things that bring you the least amount of satisfaction. Once you have a concrete idea of what is adding to your unhappiness or contributing to your stress, you can start to set goals for how you want to move forward.

Some goals are dependent on others, while other goals are more easily tackled through your own efforts. For example, relationship building takes the effort of more than one individual, while wanting to eat healthier is only contingent on your time, tastes, and budget.  Focusing energy on the things that you can most easily change is often a great way to enact sustainable change because you can monitor your own progress and set goals that will be feasible for you achieve and maintain moving forward.

Also, working towards one goal at a time is a great tactic to affect change in your life. For example, if one of your goals is to cut down on the amount of money you spend on takeout, you might set a goal to bring a lunch to work everyday. Although this change might be small, keeping track your success here can help to keep you motivated to start approaching some of your larger goals. Additionally, checking your online bank statements will allow you to see how much you are actually saving on a weekly or monthly basis.

Life is too short to feel trapped by bad circumstances. Hopefully 2018 will be a great year for personal and professional progress.

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How can you start flourishing in your daily life? How do you approach goal-setting?



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