“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” ~Oprah Winfrey
The new year is right around the corner. Essentially, the new year is a reset button – a get out of jail free card. Regardless of how crappy your life has been so far, you can wipe the slate clean and start over. This belief that change is possible leads us to make all kinds of grandiose resolutions on New Year’s Day, whether it’s to quit smoking or finally lose weight. But the reality is that big resolutions don’t stick and that most people go back to their old habits.
Top 3 Tips for Living Your Best Year
All of us want our lives to be memorable so that when we look back at everything we’ve done in a year, the years themselves are distinct — or at least the time between December 31 and January 1. But nothing is stopping you from making it so, even if this is your 81st December 31. So here are some tips for making smaller changes each day – instead of keeping you from falling off the wagon, why not just keep trying until you get it right?
Plan Ahead for Optimal Success
The new year is a great time to take stock of what you’ve accomplished and to dream about how far you can go in the next 12 months. A significant benefit to creating a vision for the coming year – whether you do it at the beginning of January or in the middle of December – is that it reminds you of your goals and helps you get motivated to act on them.
You can apply this same process to your business, setting clear objectives for yourself.
TIP: Before you start brainstorming potential resolutions, define your vision by writing down some key points:
- What do I want from life?
- How will I feel if I’m successful?
- What does success look like to me?
Then, plan out ways to achieve those goals:
- What steps will I take?
- What small things can I do today that will lead me in the right direction?
- How will I measure my progress along the way?
Once you set a vision and understand where you’re headed, it’s easier to start making changes so that nothing gets in your way. Here are some great tips for making sure this is your best year ever!
Break It Down
Whether you want to save for a dream home, start a business or get healthier, you need to recognize it will take time. But, unfortunately, our desire for instant gratification can lead us to give up before we even really get started pursuing our goals.
Choose the one big thing you want to have by the end of the year, and then break down the steps you’ll need to take to make it happen.
Then break them down even further. Finally, come up with small tasks that you can complete daily in only 10-30 minutes.
That will not only help you see the goal as a journey (so you don’t give up too soon), but it also makes the goal easier to tackle.
Track Your Time
We’re all busy. But many people use busyness as an excuse for keeping the status quo, even when they say they want to change. A straightforward way to find “wasted time” in your schedule is to track it. For at least three days, keep track of what you do all day long. You can use an app, spreadsheet, or a simple notepad to keep track. You’ll soon start to notice you spend more time watching TV, playing games, and checking social media than you would have thought. Once you are aware of this wasted time, choose yourself instead. Use that time to research career programs, enjoy a hobby, or spend more time with family. Whatever your goal is this year, choosing to spend your time working on it each day will make sure you end the year where you want to be.
Redesign Your Life
Most of us sleepwalk through life more often than we care to admit. If you want to live a happier, more fulfilling life, take stock of what makes you happy. What brings you joy and makes you feel alive? Now, redesign your life to make sure those things are a part of it. Look back at your time-tracking list (from above). What obligations and expectations can you modify or delete entirely so you live a life full of joy and purpose. Finally, make a conscious decision to live life to the fullest every day.
By focusing on the little things each day, you can make a substantial positive difference. No New Year’s mantra or momentous resolution is needed. Instead, just adding a few things to your daily routine will help you stay on track for the whole year. In other words, it is time to put your money where your mouth is. There is value in small steps. It takes less time to achieve them, but the impact lasts longer.
Successful people set short-term goals and meet them regularly. It’s how they stay happy and productive in whatever field they choose to focus their passion and skill. So choose to be satisfied and effective this year by making better choices each day, no matter how large or small, as long as you aim high and cross the finish line each day rather than acting in reaction to a crisis that destroys your hard work.