9 Simple New Year’s Resolutions

resolutions

Even though it’s the dead of winter, New Years is the ideal time for new beginnings!  New Year’s resolutions are exciting, but the question is: what resolution is right for you?  Sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly needs to be done in your life to have a personal revolution.  But why do New Year’s resolutions have to have such high stakes?  If you’re looking for some change with the new year, but not a drastic plan of evolution, consider some of these simple but effective resolutions.

Read More Books

I used to be an avid reader when I was in grade school.  I was absolutely obsessed with several different book series.  I really love reading, but so many things get in the way.  Usually, I make the excuse of not having enough time on my hands, but I can’t really say that when I’m filling it with Netflix and Youtube videos.  I think reading one book a month is a good goal to start off with.  I’m taking recommendations now!  If you’re a blogger (or any type of creative) I would highly recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.  You can read my review here.

Try Something New

I think this is a pretty common resolution for people.  Trying to expand your horizons with something new every month, or every week, or every day is an admirable goal.  I think we can simplify this just by changing our mindset towards new things.  Teach yourself to be more open about trying different things and look forward to change in your life.

Be Healthier

This is probably the #1 resolution for many people, but it’s probably the #1 failure as well.  Instead of sticking to a rigorous diet or exercise regime, commit to simply adaptive your daily routine and habits.  Hardcore changes in lifestyle almost always fail, so just make yourself more open to healthier options.  Start by drinking more water!

Use Less

Brainstorm some ways that you can cut back.  Try to take shorter showers or not charge your phone for longer than you need to.  Throw away or give away things that you don’t have a use for or a place to store.  It always feels good to know that your are playing a little part in cutting back on waste.

Pick a Word

I’m a fan of picking a word for a particular season of life I’m going through.  What better time to start a new season than New Years?  I am in the habit of picking one word to let go of for the year as well.  You can read about my focus words for the last season of my life here.  I have found that picking these words have given me something to cling to when my mind and energies are spent elsewhere.  How much simpler can you get than one word?

Go to bed earlier

This happens to be a particular favorite of mine!  I love being in a routine that gets enough sleep with a quiet evening at home.  Who couldn’t benefit from waking up earlier and feeling more rested?  If I had my way, I would be in bed by 10:30pm every night, however, this isn’t always possible for full-time students.  I think turning out the lights before midnight with a good half hour of quiet time beforehand is a good alternative.

Read the Bible More

A New Year is a new opportunity to get into the Word more!  Start this year by making a commitment to spend more time with God, and the best way to do that is to read more of the Bible.  Some other things you can do to have a more rewarding quiet time is journaling, drawing, listening to or playing music, and reflecting on what you’ve learned.  I even have a post about how getting into the practice of reading your Bible can make you a better student.

Reflect

The Honors Program at my college has instilled in me the benefit of reflection.  This is totally up for interpretation.  Maybe you would like to keep a journal, or draw your life, or start a blog.  2017 is a great year to start a blog!  Either way, putting your thoughts into words has always been a beneficial practice for me, especially through this blog.  You’ve got thoughts and feelings that mean something, why not share with others?

Be Friendlier

Sometimes friendliness means going above and beyond what you would normally do as a friend or acquaintance.  Support others and be more open minded.  Be more generous, more encouraging, or more willing to help out.  It doesn’t hurt to be kind!

 

The Art of Not Caring what People Think About You

the art of not caring what people think about you

I don’t really care what people think about me.

JK, I actually do.

Well, generally I think I am pretty good at being indifferent to the opinions of others, but I know that I fall short more often than I should.  I believe everybody has some concern over what others think about them, don’t you?  Haven’t you ever had to throw away something in class, but you refuse to get up and go to the trash because you don’t want people to look at you?  Precisely.  I would be willing to bet this happens to us all more that we realize, but of course there are those moments when you really don’t care.  For example: 14 year old me would never let me get away with this, but now I’ll go out in sweats and a t-shirt that are both grey!  Scandal!  I may think about it for a minute, but it doesn’t stop me from going out.

I have a totally different reaction about my reputation and past successes in theatre.  As this school year has gone on, I have become more and more self-conscious about my accomplishments.  I’ve even told people my acting resume is the most embarrassing thing about my life!  I try to take this with a bit of perspective, but it’s hard to go easy on yourself when you go to a school where it seems like everybody has played several lead roles and worked in professional theatres.

Comparison is the ultimate downfall to relieving yourself of others opinions.  I am super guilty of playing the comparison game, and that’s just not fair to myself.  Nevermind all the crazy standards portrayed in the media and movies; I know some really stellar people in real life that I wish I could be more like!  Being surrounded by people who embody all the characteristics you wish you had is pretty intimidating, how can you not compare yourself to people like that?

The key to overcoming comparison is to strive to be the best version of yourself.  Chances are the people you admire aren’t amazing because they are a carbon copy of one of their role models.  They are amazing because they are the only ones that play their part perfectly.  You can do the same!

Everything is so much easier when you aren’t concerned about what people are thinking about you.  Have you ever been on a trip away from home, and you just don’t care about how you look or act because you will probably never see any of these people again?  Well, it’s possible to live like that all the time.

The most important thing to remember is that you have something to offer this world.  Wherever you go and whatever you are doing, just be prepared to live your life honestly and play your character right.  You are smart, you know things, and that’s what people want to see.

Why is it so hard for us to let go of what others think about us?  Because not all opinions people bestow on us are bad ones.  Approval from others can be a very addictive thing to pursue, but being dependent on positive opinions of others doesn’t just work one way; you are ultimately affected by the bad ones too.

To avoid this dependency, we have to find our value in something much more stable.  In the grand scheme of things, no one is qualified to pass judgement on anyone else, so don’t worry about it!  We also have to accept that everyone is an individual and we are all on our own walks of life.  Overcoming the opinions of others isn’t easy, but it can really save you some stress.  Don’t you have enough things to worry about?

I am calling this practice of overcoming the opinions of others an “art” instead of a “how to guide”.  Art is something that can always be improved and is never really finished.  Learning to let go of other people’s opinions of you is something to work on constantly.  We are likely to fail many times, but there is also great joy to be found in this practice.  Therefore, it is an art. 🙂

The thing is this: no one ever got anywhere by playing it safe.  We should not be afraid to embrace our individuality just because others who are equally as flawed call us out on it.  Our world would lack so much color if everyone lived in fear of other’s opinions.  Nearly everyone who has made a name for themselves had to ignore some haters at one point in time.

Do you know what the real secret is to being successful as an actor?  You have to be yourself.  Offering the world of theatre something that they have never seen before is the best way to get noticed, and ultimately someone will appreciate your individuality.  However, this goes for every single thing that we face as humans.  The secret to success is being yourself, and that’s what your are automatically best at.

I hope these few words were encouraging to you.  If this is something you struggle with, just remember that it’s perfectly natural, and perfectly in your control.  🙂

Let’s Rethink the Way We Look at Honesty

Let's Rethink The Way We Look At Honesty

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  -John 8:32

Dishonesty is a defense mechanism, at least it is in today’s culture.  People lie all the time to get out of trouble, clear their name, or even make money; and that’s acceptable.  If you have to lie to protect yourself, surely no one will hold it against you.  I think this especially applies to the politicians and celebrities of today’s world.

Honesty, on the other hand, isn’t such a virtue today.  Sometimes honesty is viewed as a vulnerability.  When you are completely honest, you look weak.  Your flaws and insecurities are exposed, and that’s not acceptable.  Even when you have only good things to share with the world, honesty can sometimes be considered annoying.  When you’re a Christian, people might not want your honesty at all.

Shouldn’t we do a double take about now?  There is a truth that is meant to set us free, but this doesn’t seem like freedom at all.  Lying is second nature to many, but maybe just telling the truth can move us towards freedom.

I think it’s about time we rethink the way we look at honesty.

Being Honest With Yourself

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?”  -Jeremiah 17:9

Wouldn’t it make sense that we have the ability to understand our hearts?  I mean, it’s not like anybody else can tell us our own thoughts and feelings.  For whatever emotion we are experiencing, there must be some reason for it.  But have you ever wanted something that you know is bad for you?  This is what Jeremiah 17:9 is talking about: our hearts deceive us.  They make us think we need something in our lives that would hurt us to pursue; like money, fame, success, relationships, respect.  Our heart makes us think that we are entitled to these things, and though these things are not evil in themselves, you could waste a lifetime of energy on pursuing your hearts desires.

Oh, but shouldn’t we follow our hearts?

Well, perhaps.  But, that doesn’t mean you should follow your every whim.  Our hearts are a major way that God communicates with us, so pray that He would live inside yours.  In truth, it is the unguarded heart that will trip you up, so make sure you are always praying that God would live in your heart to protect you from it.

Being Honest With Others

“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”  -Colossians 3:9-10

If you are a Christian, that means you’re a Christ-follower, but it’s more than that.  Christians are meant to be people who strive to be like Christ.  And of course, we know that Jesus always told the truth.  That is what the Bible is built on; telling us the truth.  There are a lot of lies that people tell us in this world, but the Bible is the one thing we can rely on to always speak the truth into our lives.

We, as Christians, should be doing the same for others.  Whether or not the people you encounter on a daily basis are Christians, you should always strive to be honest with them.  Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and make yourself vulnerable.  Tell your story; God has done amazing things for you, and it would be lying to say that you haven’t been changed by Him.

Being Honest With God

“Then hear from heaven, your dwelling place.  Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men)”  -1 Kings 8:39

This seems kind of silly to say, but you can lie to God too.  Of course God knows every part of you, so it seems like lying to him wouldn’t be an issue, but when you aren’t honest with God, it means that you aren’t putting all your trust in Him.

Sometimes I’ve lied to God when I’ve said I’m ok.  I’ve found myself wanting to pray about something that’s bothering me, but then I don’t because I realize that there are some people who have it so much worse than I do.  However, God cares about all of our little problems that we face in life.  By refusing to pray about something that’s bothering me, I’m basically saying “Never mind God, I’ll handle this one!”  That’s certainly not what He wants, and I probably can’t take care of myself as well as he can.

I just realized this today, but the root of the word “honesty” is honor.  I’m sure this means more than just telling the truth.  If God desires us to be honest, then having a truthful attitude brings God glory.  It think this verse sums it up nicely.

“Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  -John 12:16

Honesty is more of a matter of the heart than about whether or not what you say is truthful.  So, do a double take, reconfigure your code of honor, and don’t be afraid to tell the truth.

Much love,

Delaney

You Can Still Learn When You’re Tired

This week has been the most exhausting week of my college career thus far.  So far, I’ve been handling my first 18 credit semester pretty well; all I can do is take it one day at a time.  However, yesterday I woke up with no energy to make it through the day, on top of that, Fridays are my busiest day by far.  At the end of my four classes yesterday I went to my voice lesson of the week, where I learned some very valuable things that may help us all.

You can still learn whe you're tired- laughswithoutfear.com

Shout out to my cat for being today’s model.

I’ve been taking private voice lessons for about 4 years now.  Even if you are not trying to make a career out of singing, voice lessons are a good way to learn about yourself and have fun.  Even professional actors with thriving careers still get vocal coaching, there is always something to learn.

To those of you who aren’t singers, it may surprise you to learn that singing requires your entire body.  Likewise, whatever state your body is in will affect how you sing.  So you can imagine that at the end of an exhausting week, I wouldn’t have much energy left within me to belt out some show tunes.  Of course my voice teacher recognized this right away, and luckily she knew just how to use my exhaustion as a learning experience.

I like to push myself in all areas of my life.  This is a big no, no when it comes to singing.  That is a sure way to damage your voice.  Actually, I suppose that can go for many things…  During my voice lesson I really took the time to slow down and listen to my voice.  Was it damaged?  Was it dry?  Was it just tired?  Then I realized that I hadn’t been listening to my voice at all recently (I mean, this this is supposed to be my money-maker!).  I guess being aware of my voice is one good thing that came from being tired.

Point 1

-Being tired can force you to listen to yourself.  How are you doing?

Well, I thought I sounded awful.  But at least I stopped to listen.  However, I couldn’t find the energy within me to produce the sound I knew I could.  So, my voice instructor told me to understate everything I sang.  You know, not everything can a huge Broadway-belt moment.  It just can’t.  That’s where a lot of the story in every song is: in the quiet moments.

Point 2

-There is good in the quiet moments.  We need quiet to process our thoughts.

So I sang through a song.  If you really want to know, it was “Fly, Fly Away” from Catch Me If You Can.  I sang it horribly, of course.  I didn’t really sound like myself.  I knew this sound wasn’t anything I could present to the faculty at the end of the term.  I didn’t sweat it though, and I certainly didn’t push myself to sound better.

Point 3

-You can’t produce your best work when you’re tired, so don’t put that pressure of yourself.

I’ve never had any belt training.  (You know, that big Broadway sound?  I have no idea how people do that…)  So I asked my teacher how on earth singers achieve that.  With some technical work, I was soon belting out a wave of sound that I had never experienced before!  I got shivers, like I just had a huge breakthrough in my education.

Point 4

-Just because you’re tired doesn’t mean you’re useless.

The most amazing thing I learned was that you can still learn when you’re tired.  It’s just a matter of learning how to learn when you’re tired.  Because, let’s face it: we are going to be tired for most of the time we’re in college.  Let’s not let that time go to waste. 🙂

Little Ways to Cut Negativity Out of Your Life

Little Ways To Cut Negativity Out Of Your Life

What people don’t typically realize is that we have a lot more control over our outlook on life than we may think.  We make decisions every day about how we look at and feel about things, in fact, this may be our own personal superpower that we sorely under use.  Sure, there may be things that get us down no matter what, but lingering in that negativity is completely our choice.  Getting into habits that help you let go of negativity can really help your outlook on life in the long run.

The inspiration for this post came to me at a moment when I was feeling especially sorry for myself, which I’m sure happens to everyone.  I was just unhappy with the whole first-year-of-college experience.  Dorm life, lack of personal space, the dining hall, and loud noises were just getting to me.  Then a thought suddenly struck me: what would I tell someone who was in the same situation as me?

Here are some little ways that you can cut negativity out of your life. 🙂

1)  Clean up your space

I hate looking at a mess, and organizing is actually pretty therapeutic for me.  Spending just a few minutes to make your bed or clear off your desk can do wonders to improve your mood.  After coming home from a long day, it’s nice to have a clean space to look at.

2)  Check what you watch, read, and listen to.

I have been in denial about this subject on several occasions, but the truth is that these things really do affect you.  You may not always realize the effects right away, but I promise they do happen.  There have been several times where I’ve finished a novel, or watched a movie that made me slightly more irritable for days after.  Other times, it just takes your mind to a dark place (example: the Twilight era, now do you believe me?).  Remember, just because you don’t notice a change in your demeanor, doesn’t mean others won’t.

3)  Check who you follow on social media

Omigosh!  This is a big one!  I’m sure we all have those friends on Facebook that drag everyone into their issues, and your energy is better spent elsewhere!  I often go through and unfollow people that have nothing good to say, or even those who I’ve fallen apart from.  The same goes for other platforms of social media.  I’m sure we all like a good joke now and then, but that’s a prime way that negativity seeps into newsfeeds: through humor.  When going through your feed, ask yourself if those who you are following are really uplifting, or if your life would be just as complete without them.

4)  Don’t invest in friends that don’t really care for you

Do you relate to this?  You hang out with the people you happen to be around, even though they may not be your genuine friends.  I certainly do.  I’m not saying to cut these people out of your life completely, after all, we should treat everyone with the type of love that Christ extends to us.  Just don’t invest in a relationship that brings you down.  I listen to people complain about their lives and bash about other people everyday, and acting like that may seem like an easy way to fit in, but participating in this type of attitude is a choice.

5)  Be kind to strangers

Typically, being kind isn’t exactly the priority of most people when they are out and about.  In fact, I’m sure most of us have encountered some very rude people in public.  Nevermind that, just make it your goal to be kind to everyone when you are out.  I like to think of this as a little shield of positivity you can take with you everywhere you go. 🙂  This way, you can guard yourself against negativity and brighten someone else’s day at the same time.

6)  Practice letting things go

This is something you can do all hours of the day.  Of the thousands and thousands of thoughts we have in a day, roughly 80% are negative ones.  When you catch a negative thought entering your head, just let it go.  You won’t gain anything by hanging on to these thoughts, so move on with your life.  Sometimes, my life is just moving too fast for me to manage my thoughts like this, but when I’m in the shower, trying to sleep, on car rides, or even in class I can practice letting go of the negative thoughts that are occupying my brain.  Honestly, this is such a good way to relieve stress and concentrate on the tasks ahead of you.  Sure it takes practice, but it’s worth it!

Did you know that people, actually everybody, is automatically drawn towards negativity?  In fact, that’s what most of the media is built off of.  (Why do you think the Kardashians and Donald Trump are so famous?  Negativity)  Even you love to think negative thoughts, though you may not realize it.  The good news is that you have more control over the negativity in you life than you may realize.  I hope these tips were helpful to you!  Best of luck!