At the stroke of midnight we said farewell to 2014 and gave a warm welcome to the New Year. Many of us look ahead to 2015 as a fresh start, a new beginning. Last night millions of people made resolutions for personal improvement. Unfortunately for many resolution-makers statistics show that nearly 80% of people abandon their grand ideas by the end of January. I was never one to make a resolution but I do like to use this time to reflect on my goals for the year ahead and imagine what I may need to do to bring them to fruition. Wanting to make 2015 a better year is a great goal but should be just that, a goal. I have put together five of my favorite tips for having a great year without making (and breaking) a resolution!
#1 Don’t Make a Resolution – I can’t stress this enough. Many resolutions are overly grandiose and often set you up for failure. If you make a resolution to run a marathon in 2015 but have never run a day in your life there is a good chance you will get frustrated and abandon your resolution. Setting and then breaking a resolution can have profound effects on your self-esteem. People tend to see the worst in themselves and when we fail at something the critical voice in our heads just gets louder – so save yourself the heartache. I do, however, believe that it is a great idea to set small, achievable goals. If you want to lose weight in 2015, for example, set a goal to drink one less soda a day or to get outside for a walk at least three times a week. Small goals taken with baby steps can add up to big rewards by the end of the year!
#2 Get Your Finances in Order – Getting your financial affairs in order for the New Year is a great goal, money is the number one thing couples fight about – whether it’s how to spend it, how to save it or invest it. Money trouble can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep and can even cause daily stress. The easiest way to get your money in order is to hire a financial advisor but if that’s not an option for you there are a lot of great software programs on the market that show you, down to the penny, where all of your money is going. Many people who have debt tend to ignore the reality of their financial state either by not knowing exactly how much debt they owe or by running from it. Money is something that is a part of our lives and if we do not have a good grip on it, it can swallow us whole, ruin our peace of mind and even make us sick with worry. Just like with weight loss, small steps yield the biggest results so start small by compiling a list of every single dollar you owe. It is easier to battle an enemy if you know what it is!
#3 Laugh More – Laughter is truly the best medicine! When we laugh we increase our endorphins: a hormone that triggers the feelings of joy, love and happiness. Find time to laugh every day. Laughter helps reduce stress, promotes feelings of peace and gives you a more positive outlook on life. Watch a funny YouTube video (I crack up especially hard watching goats yell like humans), tell a joke or just be silly! But no matter what, get laughing!
#4 Be Grateful – For some reason, at least for me, it is easier to focus on all the things going wrong in my life then it is to pay attention to the things going right. I have to make a conscious effort to remind myself of the good things by keeping track of them in a journal. Writing down at least three things a day I am grateful for makes it easier to see everything in my life that truly is a blessing. Being grateful will not only help you foster a more positive outlook, but can help you better identify opportunity when it presents itself. Having a positive outlook is something I have to work at every day of my life; it’s hard and takes effort but makes life a lot more fun!
#5 Uncover What Scares You – then do it! Fear is often a defense mechanism or a way of protecting ourselves from danger. We often use fear as an excuse not to do things so in 2015, work on identifying those things that scare you and then make an effort to pursue them. Maybe you want to change careers, go back to school, travel somewhere exotic, start a blog or open a business but find yourself dragging your feet and making excuses for why you can’t. Getting over your fear of failure can often take practice but what I have discovered is the dreams, plans or goals that scare you the most are by far the most rewarding to achieve – and it’s never as scary in reality as it is in your head! If you are afraid to fail at something then it’s probably the right thing to do!
If you make small, positive changes on a regular basis you will feel in better control of your life, you may feel less stress, hell, you may even feel more happy! Life takes effort and is lived one step at a time so keep moving forward, hold your head high and be a beacon of light and positivity for those you love! Wishing you and yours all of the joy, success and love in 2015! Happy New Year!!