A new year always brings the potential for renewal. 2017 was an especially rough year for many people, so you are in good company if you’re ready to see it go. While you can turn over a new leaf at any time, the new year always seems like a good time to begin. Here’s how you can make the most of your actions to hit the ground running.
1. Take Stock of What You Want to Change
A new year is a great time to evaluate your life and see what’s working—and what’s not. This type of decision-making process requires some quiet meditation and reflection. Try journaling or having an honest discussion with a friend or therapist.
2. Say Goodbye to What No Longer Serves You
Starting fresh in a new year means that you need to let go of some previous habits or commitments from previous years. You can take this literally: declutter your desk or go through your closet and get rid of old clothes. Or you may decide that a destructive friendship is holding you back and needs to go.
3. Start with a Realistic Number of Changes
You may want to tackle several goals at once. Even if you want to lose weight, quit smoking, go back to school, and volunteer for a good cause, you’ll burn out if you start them all at once. Choose just one or two goals to begin.
4. Create a Strategy
Positive changes don’t just happen by accident. It’s important to make a plan of the things you want to achieve and how you will make them happen. Make a step-by-step list of what actions you need to take to reach your goal.
5. Review Your Goals Every Day
Achieving new goals requires intention and effort. But many people make the mistake of thinking they only need to set their goals once. Reviewing your goals and committing to them every day will keep you on track for success. As soon as you wake up in the morning, remind yourself of the goals you want to achieve. This daily reminder will also help you stay focused.
6. Spend Time with Encouraging People
We’re all a product of the people we see most often. Surround yourself with positive people and you’ll find that your determination goes further. Being around upbeat and enthusiastic people will have a motivating effect on you.
7. Fuel Up the Right Way
Even if weight loss isn’t one of your goals, what you eat makes a huge difference. Eating a variety of healthy, nutritious foods will improve both your physical health and your overall outlook on life.
8. Get Enough Sleep
In the beginning of the year, days are still short and nights come early. Take advantage of the fact that you feel a little sleepier when you get home in the evening and go to bed early. The extra rest will make you feel more capable and optimistic.
9. Drop Your Time-Wasters
If you ask anyone, most of us will say that we’re too busy. But an objective review of our daily activities often reveals that we may be wasting many hours each day on unproductive tasks, like Facebook or watching TV. Keep a log of your daily activities and you may be surprised to find time-wasters you can cut.
10. Give Yourself Deadlines
If you have good intentions but no definite deadlines, you will likely find that your goals never come to fruition. Even if your goals are too big to accomplish all at once, you can break them down into smaller and more doable chunks. Each of those smaller tasks can be given a deadline to meet so you stay on track.
If you feel you one could benefit from counseling to start off the new year in a direction you want, please contact me.
Suzi Sena, EdS, LPC provides individual, couple, and career counseling to clients of Connecticut Integrative Counseling, LLC.