At the end of every year, I try my best to reflect and determine what needs to change and what needs to continue to help me achieve my goals and to improve myself. There are a few truths that I’ve come to recognize year after year, and some that were “Aha!” moments. Okay, maybe not aha! more like, oh my gosh, how was I so blind?! moments.
Some of these truths change, some stay the same year after year. What I need evolves over the years just like I do. I’m not the same person I was ten years ago, and will continue to change over time. It’s one thing I had to realize in the last few years. I was holding on to who I used to be years ago. It wasn’t until I realized I had to let go of that person to move forward that things started to fall into place and I found peace again.
Here are five of my top pieces of advice to start off a better New Year. These five pieces are open enough to help in anyone’s life, no matter what stage of their walk of life is. I hope you will find them useful 🙂
1. Start with a clean space
Ideally, we’d all love to start the New Years with a completely clean house. This is unrealistic for many of us, and trying to achieve this mixed in with the Holiday stress can really be an undoing. This is why I say a clean “space”. It’s better to start small and have a peaceful state of mind than to clean an entire house, not be able to achieve it, and feel down. That’s 100% not the right way to start a New Year!
Now, if you love cleaning and can absolutely get this done, by all means do it!
If you know that it’s going to be chaotic, and you will need to pick a single spot to work on, pick your favorite space in your house or yard. For example, I picked my desk. I love sitting at my desk and looking out at the view. It’s very peaceful and it’s MY very own spot in the house.
When I am stressed or wanting quiet, I can go to my desk and have a moment to myself. Because it’s clean, I don’t have to think of straightening it up and can just relax. Do your best to keep this one area clean so you can find peace at it for the rest of the year.
2. Make time for you
Many of us forget to make time for ourselves. We get caught up in the hustle and bustles of daily life. After my daughter was born, I had a hard time with this. I pushed my own needs out of the picture for so long.
It’s interesting because people will tell you this happens, but you don’t realize that it’s actually happening until you’re worn down. At this point, some of us will realize something needs to change, others will take a couple days to recuperate (usually because their body can’t take it anymore) and then start right back up again. Take time for yourself.
This is so important! For your own sanity and wellbeing as well as others, you need to take care of yourself.
This includes but is not limited to:
-quiet time to relax
-practicing your old/new hobbies
Seriously guys, make yourself a priority. Even if it’s just one hour a day.
3. Write down specific goals
We all have goals we want to accomplish, but if we really want to see these become reality, we need to set specific goals. Start with a stretch goal. A stretch goal is something that will stretch us past our normal performance. What do you ultimately want to achieve? Now break it down into a workable process with smaller goals and make those incredibly specific.
Stretch Goal– I want to write a book.
Specifics (SMART GOALS*)–
-I will write every day for 1 hour
-By June 16th, 2017 I will have my first draft written
-I will take a week break off before going back to my draft so I can start with fresh eyes
-By August 10th, 2017 I will have completed my 2nd draft
-August 11th, 2017 I will send it to 4 readers (Joe, Emily, James, and Don) to get feedback.
*SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound
Figure out what you want and break it down. You can achieve an incredible amount by working on something each day.
I highly suggest reading: Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
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4. Be positive
Train your mind to be positive. Your outlook on life will be better and you will be happier because of it. Just like you can train your body, you can also train your mind. If you think negative thoughts all the time, you CAN train yourself out of it. Stop yourself when you have a negative thought and think of something else. Focus each day on the positive that is going on around you. You’ll begin to see more of it overtime.
Find something you can use to remind yourself to find positivity in life. Use a piece of jewelry from a loved one, a small pebble, a string around your wrist, anything–find that something and touch it when you need a reminder.
5. Every day say 3 things out loud you are grateful for that happened that day
This will also help your outlook on life and increase your positivity. Make sure you say it out loud, or even write it down. Make it a conscious effort, not something thrown together sloppily. You will begin to see how many wonderful things happen in your life.
Make this a family practice. At the dinner table, have everyone say what they’re thankful for. Seeing thankfulness through the eyes of children can really humble you and also broaden your idea of gratitude.