A new year is all about a new beginning. Start as you mean to go on and find a way to improve yourself and your situation. We all get caught up in the idea of “resolutions,” resolving to start new projects and improvements, resolving not to get stuck in the same bad habits we’ve spent years cultivating. But this year, why not try to make the new year count by trying these 14 ways to make 2014 YOUR year?
1. Let Go So you, like millions of us, think your 2013 was the worst. year. ever. You are caught up in all the times that life screwed you over, and you resent the people who made your life miserable. Let it all go. Let the new year bring you peace and freedom from your worries and obsessions. Or, if you are one of the lucky ones who thought 2013 was the best year yet, you still need to let it go. Don’t rest on your laurels or assume that you’ve already got everything you could ever want. Remember that a new year presents its own set of obstacles, and you’ll need a strategy to keep up your momentum.
2. Be Grateful No matter what life throws at you, remember to slow down, take stock of what you have and be grateful for it. Sometimes the worst moments of our lives are punctuated by the best moments. Everything happens for a reason, and there is truly a silver lining on every dark cloud. Look for the good and be happy with what you’ve got.
3. Invite happiness There are some people who are determined to be miserable. Don’t be one of them. If you are constantly looking for reasons to be angry, sad or negative, then you will certainly find them. Instead, look for reasons to be happy, and you will be sure to find them. Whether it’s the discovery of something funny or beautiful or the RE-Discovery of something lost, there is always something to make you smile. Find it.
4. Strive for more While it is important to let go of the past and to be grateful for what you have, it is equally important to look for ways to have more. More love, more laughs, more money – whatever it is that makes you work harder, keep your goals in mind and work toward them. And when you reach that elusive milestone, set a new one! Never settle for what you’ve got.
5. Give back The best way to feel good about yourself is to help someone else. Give what you can – if not money, then time – and do your small part in making the world a better place. Even something as simple as donating your old clothes or dishes to your local charity shop could make a huge difference in someone’s life. Feel better through giving.
6. Have hope The world is a scary place. You watch the news or read your newsfeed and find a thousand different stories of horror and violence. You fear for yourself, your children, your spouse. It is understandable. But remember to have hope. It is the one thing that will light your way in the darkness. Feel it and show it to others, and it will grow and grow until you are basking in the soft golden glow of true excitement about the future.
7. Stop measuring your success It is so easy to get caught up in numbers when measuring how far you’ve come. Whether it be how much weight you’ve gained or lost, how much money you’ve saved or earned, or even how many miles you’ve run, none of it matters. A person who saved $50 can be just as happy about it as the person who saved $5000. The only thing that matters is how you feel about yourself. Life is about the journey, not the destination.
8. Reach out How many people have you lost touch with over the years? Even though social media allows us to connect with long lost friends and relatives fairly easily, how many of them are you truly interacting with and getting to know well? Reading a two sentence update on their day doesn’t mean you know what’s going on in their lives. Make the effort to reach out to them personally. Send them an email, ask them questions, phone them up. Get in touch with the people who mean something to you.
9. Learn something new You don’t have to go to college and get a degree or spend a fortune on night classes to learn something new. Of course, both of these are great, but you would be surprised how good it will feel just teaching yourself a new craft or learning how to do your hair a new way. Spend an hour a week reading something that interests you. Learn about it, and integrate that knowledge or skill into your life. Practice. By the end of the year, you will be surprised at just how learning something new has changed your life.
10. Get more rest There’s always a reason we miss out on a good night’s sleep. Rest doesn’t come easily. Whether it’s work or kids keeping us up at night, it’s all valid – but it’s also avoidable. It’s not reasonable to suggest that you can ignore responsibility in favor of sleep, but you should rest well whenever you can. Snuggle with a loved one on the couch, take a long bath, do some yoga, or wear yourself out by going for a run in the evening. Promote wellness through rest. Likely you will get more done day to day if you have enough rest, and in turn, you will find it easier to relax.
11. Explore Whether you have the money to take a big trip somewhere new or you just resolve to take a new route to work or school each day, exploration can open your whole world up. Find a new favorite spot. Find a secret retreat. Look at your own yard from a perspective you’ve never tried before. See the world as enormous and tiny at the same time. See the beauty that surrounds you.
12. Don’t judge We all do it. We judge ourselves. We judge others. We set impossible standards that no one can meet. We build others up just to then tear them back down again. We are famous for being fickle. So stop. Just stop. Let yourself be who you are, and don’t worry what anyone else thinks. And show the same respect to everyone you meet. Don’t worry about what he or she is doing unless it directly affects you.
13. Take chances You only have one life to live. And that is a scary thing to realize. You can’t take some things back once they’re said or done. But neither can you go back and do the things you wish you had done. Sometimes in this big, scary life we have to do something we’re unsure of. It might end up being wrong, but at least you won’t kick yourself for not trying. It is better to regret the things we’ve done than to regret the things we didn’t do.
14. Fall in Love Look at this great big glorious world and think about each small, insignificant life inside of it. Your journey is over before you know it, and whether your realize it or not, you are changing things in a million little ways that you don’t know. Your smile or wave or your glare or grimace can completely change someone’s life. So let yourself fall in love with everyone you meet. Fall in love with your house, your neighborhood, your mother, your child, your spouse, your best friend’s sister’s Uncle. Send love into the world and make it a little bit better. Who knows, if everyone falls in love in 2014, perhaps 2015 will see a new era in humankind.