This year is almost over, and I can’t help but feel reflective and sentimental. This year has been groundbreaking for me, in terms of opportunities I’ve been given, experiences I’ve been invited to have, and personal achievements I never thought I’d realize. Time and time again I found myself thinking “WOW. How did I get HERE?” 2012 was that year. I went to places I’d never dreamed of, met people I never thought I’d meet (much less would know my name), and was asked to appear (and sometimes speak) at events I couldn’t have even imagined. From the Oscar red carpet in February to TEDxPortOfSpain, where my mom, sister, and big brother got to watch me stand in the spotlight and give a speech about courage. 2012 was my year of rising to the occasion.

2013 image via Shutterstock.

Now we’re at that incredible juncture that we find ourselves at every 365 days. A new year is about to begin. I’m setting intentions and making goals. Dreaming big. My goal in this new year is to be a braver person, to push myself to be as great as I suspect I can be, deep inside myself. It’s already shaping up to be a new year of exciting opportunities and rise-to-the-occasion moments. But before we leap headlong into the newness of tomorrow, can we take a minute to appreciate everything that 2012 has been? Appreciate the bad things, because they’re teaching you lessons that will stand you in good stead in the future. Appreciate the speed bumps that slowed you down, because they allowed life to unfold at the pace it was supposed to for you. Appreciate all of it, because we’ve made it through.

As we wind down 2012 and move into this brave new year, I encourage you to join me, Slow down. Calm down. Look back at your year. Appreciate the journey you’ve made – the peaks and the valleys, the growth and the realizations. Be thankful for who you are, what you have, and the people who love you. Look forward to the upcoming year. Make plans that make sense for you, considering what you know you are capable of. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Rejoice in yourself. And know 2013 is going to be your year for greatness on your own terms.

Thank you to everyone who’s read my blog in 2012 or before that – I appreciate you all! Happy New Year, bellas!

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