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15 Successful Habits To Begin For the New Year

15 Successful Habits To Begin For the New Year

We have a new year, a new start and an opportunity to improve habits in our daily lives. These 15 successful habits to begin for the New Year can help make your life easier. Many of these habits we know are good for us, but implementing them on a daily basis takes practice.

For myself, managing my time is tricky. They say it takes 21 days to successfully begin a new habit, or to stop a negative one. Many times I am good with the first few days or week and then some of my old habits begin to creep in and before I know it I’ve lost momentum. This list includes small yet significant changes that can provide better balance and emotional health in our lives. If we can truly start to implement and live by them, we will be able to handle anything that may come our way in the coming year. Remember, the success of our lives and how we navigate through each and every day is within our control. The key is to realizing what is our responsibility and what is not. Once we can accept that life is truly what we make of it based on our attitude, the better we can maintain balance and peace on a daily basis.

1. Begin Each Day with Time for Yourself

I used to stay up late and get up just in time to get dressed and go to work. After realizing my day starts off rushed and often ends with me being entirely exhausted, I started making myself get up early. Now my morning time is somewhat sacred to me – my time for silence. I have no children awake and I have time for me to think about my day. I use this time for prayer and meditation, but it can just be quiet time before the rush of your day, or even planning time to sort out your day. Each and every day I do this, my day goes so much better.

2. Question your Motives in All that You Do

I used to run my life based on my feelings. If someone upset me, I gave them a piece of my mind or immediately said the first thing that popped in my head. Those habits didn’t prove successful for me. I have since accepted my sole responsibility in life comes down to my actions and reactions to any situation and the words that come out of my mouth.  Be sure that whatever your response will be in any situation, that your motive behind why you are doing it is true to who you are and what you want. Make sure what you say or do is not something you might regret later because you did it out of anger, spite or revenge.

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Sometimes just taking a moment to ask yourself what your motives are before you say or do something can be a way to keep yourself in check, especially if you are experiencing heightened feelings or emotions.

3. Remind Yourself of What You CAN Control

What can we control in our lives? We cannot control the weather or the company we work for suddenly deciding to lay people off through no fault of our own. We cannot change another human being, only ourselves. Before I tried to control others, and I failed miserably. Once I finally accepted that the only person I can change is me, it became kind of freeing. I can stop worrying about the other person or devising my next plan to try and get them to do this or that. Believe me I wish I could control my children, especially when they are having a meltdown at the grocery store but I cannot. What I can control is how I talk and act around them and the boundaries I set with them.

4. Don’t Take Anything Personally

This one is sometimes so hard to do. The truth is hurting people hurt other people. I have been that person at one point in time that hurt others. We need to accept that some people are in a place in their lives that causes them to lash out in anger or bitterness which means we can get the brunt of it. When we realize other people might be in a bad season in their lives and project their negativity towards others that don’t always deserve it, we can’t own that.

When I started accepting people for who they are and where they are in their life and not taking things personally, my anxiety and worry decreased. I can choose whether or not to have a relationship with that person. I can choose to set healthy boundaries. This can be the same in business as well. Others may get a promotion over you, the company may lay people off and you get the pink slip. It is a business decision that we can’t own or control. All we can do is accept it and move on to the next great adventure.

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5. Embrace the Differences in Others

The world is so diverse. We have so many different people in the world which makes it way less boring. If we all thought the same, if we all believed in the same things, where would passion lie? Where would healthy debate go? There is a huge difference in being passionate about something you believe in and being arrogant or judgmental about your passion. This mainly lies with religion and politics or certain life issues. I have seen some hateful memes and posts when scrolling through my Facebook feed. I am almost saddened to see that some adults think it’s perfectly fine to chide, ridicule and make fun of someone they don’t like or agree with.

If it’s a political figure – go vote that person out of office instead of riling up others that don’t share the same opinion as you. There is a way to have healthy debates and be respectful of another person’s point of view but unfortunately that is not the norm. What happened to the golden rule? How did adults turn so childish in this area? Love and respect people no matter what they believe or whether you agree with them or not. Think before you post!

6. Be Encouraging to Others

We live in a world full of negativity, natural disasters, loss and sometimes plain hatefulness. Terrorism is a reality, race relations are still an issue and most everyday you turn on the news, it seems to get more depressing. We have the power to change what is put out into the world. Tell someone they did a good job today. Ask a co-worker if you can help do anything for them. Call up an old friend and see how they are doing. Tell your waiter or waitress you truly appreciate their service and leave a nice tip. Pay for the coffee of the car behind you in the Starbucks line. Kiss and hug your kids extra today. Meet your neighbors if you haven’t already and offer an open door if they ever need anything. We have the power to bring encouragement and love into this world. Why not start today?

7. Make an Overall Goals List

I did not want to make a goals list previously because I did not want to fail. The truth is, it was not horrible for me if I failed at my goal. It was horrible for me to never even try. Failure is a learning experience and there is no reason to fear failure. Statistics show that 50% of people who write down and set goals achieve them over people who do not set goals. If you write your goals down, you have something tangible and real once you make the list. Post it somewhere visible to remind you. Check back every month or so and celebrate even the small steps you have made towards your goals.

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8. Clearly State your Wants and Needs

I used to expect people to read my mind sometimes, my body language and my attitude too.  I used to believe they were supposed to figure out what I wanted or needed. That attitude got me nowhere and I just ended up frustrated and confused. We have the right to express our wants and needs in any situation. If we do not ask for anything (or ask for someone to stop doing something) and then do not get what we want, that is on us. I used to care so much what other people thought of me, I wouldn’t ask for what I needed because I didn’t want to inconvenience the other person. Then, when my needs weren’t met – I blamed that person.

9. Practice Gratitude

I used to be a “Keeping Up with the Joneses'” person. I was focused on the next material thing that would make me feel better about myself. As time went on, I also started wanting what my friends had and sometimes resenting what I didn’t have in my life. It is a negative place to be, and I later did not feel good at all about myself. Once I started helping others – volunteering and seeing how some people live every single day without the basic comforts of home, my perspective changed. The more I started helping others, the more I realized that I am content and happy with what I do have. There are many online websites that can help you find a cause that is important to you and they will list numerous volunteer opportunities in your area.

10. Quickly Resolve Conflict

For many many years I avoided conflict. I didn’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I wanted everything to be easygoing and I wanted everyone to get along. Sadly, that is not reality. I avoided and ran away from sensitive subjects and internalized many situations because I did not have the guts to ask the hard questions to work out conflict with others. I still struggle in this area. Now, I am not as afraid of asking the hard questions or hearing the hard answers. I would much rather have a relationship based on honesty and truth rather than one with underlying tensions and issues. The sooner the conflict is resolved, the easier it is to maintain a positive relationship.

11. Own Your Actions and Reactions

“My brother made me do it”. These are statements I hear from my children often. They still live in a world where they believe others have the power to make them do something. They have not yet figured out personal responsibility. The sad truth is, as an adult for a long while I still believed others made me do things. I blamed others for my issues and problems and did not own up to my own actions and reactions. Taking responsibility for my part in my life assured that I became more honest about who I was and that I gained integrity in the process.

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“Honesty and Integrity are both essential for success in life – all areas of life. The good news is that anyone can develop honesty and integrity”. – Zig Ziglar

12. Spend Time with Nature

There is something freeing and wonderful about witnessing an amazing sunset or getting up early enough for a unique and beautiful sunset. Just as when you were a kid, it can still be fun to go outside and run around in a summer rain shower. There is something magical about nature and the world around us. It’s easy to sometimes get sucked into the technical world with smart TVs, tablets, PCs and everything else that is electronic. Don’t forget to travel or spend time with nature and remember just how beautiful the world around us can be. It is an instant spirit booster.

13. Dream

Being a responsible adult is boring a lot of the time. It is surrounded by responsibility, work, paying bills and balancing budgets. It is super easy to get wrapped up in the day to day routine and lose your zest for life. When we were younger, we all had dreams of some sort. Don’t lose sight of your dreams. It could be something as simple as taking a trip one year to somewhere you always wanted to visit. It could be learning to play a new instrument or any of your ‘bucket list’ items. Think about some of your dreams, make a list and see if you can make any of them a reality. Not only will you have accomplished realizing that dream, you will be encouraged to dream a little more and to live a truly fulfilled life.

14. Laugh

They say that laughter is the best medicine. My daughter pointed out someone she occasionally saw and said “Mom, why does your friend never smile?” I have in fact seen my friend smile and laugh but not when my daughter was around. I grew up in a household where laughter was a big part of our lives, so I know for a fact it works. Comedic movies can do the trick, as well as close friends who have a great sense of humor. They are ones you do not want to lose. It is easy to laugh with children, as they just want to be silly most of the time. It takes way less energy to smile than frown and the result is much more positive when we laugh and smile.

15. Dance Like No One is Watching

I might be one of the most horrible dancers on the planet, yes possibly even worse than Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. I rarely used to dance unless I was not exactly sober or if someone put me up to it. Now, I dance often with my daughter because she loves to dance. I love seeing her happy and joyful so in a way I do it for her by overlooking my own insecurities and labeling of myself as  ‘a horrible dancer’. There are numerous videos out there of people getting down at the local wedding or caught on the video cam at a basketball game. Deep down we all want to dance, so why not do it like no one is watching? Who knows– you might actually bring joy to someone else’s day, even if you are a horrible dancer like me. Live your life for yourself, not based on how you think other people want you to live. Just be you. Once I learned that simple yet important fact, life kept getting better each and every day.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Wendy Redden

Digital Advertising Account Manager, Music Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

1. Find Your Good Reasons

Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

  • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
  • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
  • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
  • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

2. Make It Fun

When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I enjoy this task?
  • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
  • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

4. Recognize Your Progress

Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

5. Reward Yourself

This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

Mix and Match

Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

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Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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