New Year, New You: How to Make This Year Your Best One Yet
For many of us, a new year often equals a fresh start. We reflect on the past year and we look forward to a new year full of possibilities. We frequently start the year full of optimism and promise.
Yet, as we fall off the resolution bandwagon (how many resolutions have we all made but not kept?), we slowly lose that hope - the hope that this year will be our year.
So, here are a few tips to provide you with inspiration and motivation to make that optimism and hope last all year round - not just on the cusp of the new year.
1. Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions
Instead, make a list of your hopes and dreams for the general future. Write down S.M.A.R.T. goals and re-evaluate them throughout the year. Sometimes our goals change. Sometimes our hopes and dreams change. Just because it was a New Year’s Resolution doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. So, change your mindset. Don’t make them or call them resolutions.
For instance, maybe you thought you’d love that new fitness place that just opened up. A month in - you hate it. You absolutely dread going to it. It’s not your thing. But you promised yourself you’d get in shape this year. So you force yourself to go. Don’t. Change your plan. What else can you try to get in shape?
Start journaling instead. Or, write yourself a 2019 Manifesto. Allow yourself more time to reflect. Use this time to find what you love and what you want out of this life. It can also help you filter through those negative thoughts and emotions that pop up. In turn, you become better and stronger. And, you face less disappointment in those resolutions you didn’t stick to.
2. Focus on Small and Daily Improvements
Little things add up. These small improvements make big changes in the long-term. It might not feel like it. But somewhere down the road, you may look back and be like, “Wow I’m glad I did that.”
Take a page out of BJ Fogg’s philosophy. Focus on changing tiny habits. You want to go work out more often. Try 10 minutes, 3x a week. It’s totally doable. Or you want to build up to being able to do 10 full push-ups. Start with 1. You’ll want to get that extra credit at some point where you are doing more than your tiny change (or in this instance, more than 1 push-up).
Each day make a promise to improve yourself. Do small acts of kindness. Be nicer to people around you - and to yourself. Think before you speak. Challenge your negative thoughts one thought at a time. Compliment someone. Spread happiness and positivity. Check off 1 item from your to-do list. Give yourself time to relax when you need it. Be honest with yourself and others. Start small each and every day going forward. A year from now you’ll be happy you did.
3. Wake Up Grateful & Go to Bed Grateful
This starts and ends your day on the positive side. Begin by listing 3-5 things you are grateful for as you brush your teeth or drink your coffee in the morning. Do the same as you get ready for bed. Flood your mind with positive thoughts. It’ll shine through and you will become your best self through this process.
4. Start Prioritizing
You look at your to-do list. There’s a list of 10-20 items. The feeling of doom slowly creeps in. Tim Ferris suggests prioritizing. How? Out of this list - which tasks would make other tasks easier or make other tasks irrelevant? Start here.
I always prioritize my to-do list on deadlines and my stress levels. What am I most stressed or anxious about or absolutely needs to get done today? This often leads to a quick re-organization of my list and then I burst into action - getting things done.
5. Spend More Time With the People that Matter
I used to have a huge friend group - so much so that my really good friends, I barely saw for months at a time, which is okay. We all have our own lives and things on the go. But I realized a lot of the people in my life weren’t adding anything to it. While this might sound selfish, I started cutting people out.
Life is precious. You only get a little bit of time on this planet (as much as we hate to think about it - death is inevitable). And if certain people are only bringing negativity or drama, it’s time to cut ties. This way you can allocate your time to the people in your life that really matter. You can spend more time with your mom, your dad, or your kids. Trust me - It’s entirely worth it.
6. Do More For You
Go after what you want - regardless of anyone’s opinion. If you are always going to be wondering ‘what if,’ find out already. And if you fail, take it as a learning curve. You can always take something away from it. The only real failure is quitting.
7. Tell People You Love Them More
Tell people how much they mean to you. Most people don’t do this enough. And if you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you probably have thought of this more than a few times. Remember, the present is now. And that’s really all you have. So use it. When will you get another chance? You really don’t know.
8. Check Your Ego
Confidence is great. An ego that won’t let down - not so much. Know when to listen to your ego and know when to tell it to back right off.
Most people struggle with this during fights with a loved one. You can’t back down because well your ego. You can’t hurt your pride. But this is completely backwards. Standing beside your wrongs is hurting your pride.
Deflate your ego for a second. Reel it in. If you’re wrong, admit it. Take a step back if you need it. Start checking your ego at the door. It’s not you against them. Take on a more team mentality approach. It helps.
Think about striving for constant self-improvement. After all, you can’t control anyone but yourself. Then, take that step forward into your best year yet. Own it.