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6 Steps to Making Effective New Year Resolutions

6 Steps to Making Effective New Year Resolutions

There’s just something about the short, cold days of winter, the long hours spent indoors and the overindulgence in rich foods over the holidays that inspires us to make changes at the beginning of the New Year. As the New Year brings the opportunity for change, it also brings the occasion for reflection of the personal, professional or physical circumstances in our life we’d like to change, and a reflection on how we created the circumstances we seek to improve in the first place. The areas that most people resolve to change as the New Year dawns include money, sleep, exercise, food, health, personal organization, and relationships.

Balance in all areas of our life is often a goal we aspire to, and since the holidays are often about imbalance—as we rush from one activity to another—the New Year seems like a natural time to reconnect with our mind and spirit to find the personal practices that will support our goal of renewal, rejuvenation and repair of the body, mind and spirit.

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The body, in its wisdom, provides an intuitive nudge as a reminder of the things we may need to hear, and although this method of communication is always present in the body, the New Year seems to be a time when this form of inner knowing can be the loudest. The messages might be about feeling better physically, looking better, feeling energized or well rested, having greater productivity, having a stronger body, feeling happier, or being in the flow and being peaceful in your life. At times circumstances prevent us from making these choices for ourselves and prioritizing our wellness. If it resonates with you, the New Year may be a good time to make a shift: love yourself more; feel better about yourself; heal your relationships with food, exercise, money, and/or work; and release the habits that have formed that are not serving your highest potential.

Here are six things you can get started doing right now to develop effective New Year resolutions:

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1. Reflect with Gratitude

Practice a daily, mindful exercise reflecting on the many ways your life is abundant right now and express your gratitude—what you focus on grows. Celebrate the things that are great in your life. They don’t have to be grand; the little things often mean the most. This can be a mental exercise or a written one, recorded in your journal.

2. Value Yourself

When you value yourself with a deep appreciation you will naturally show up for yourself in a much kinder way. Understand, acknowledge and celebrate all the things you do, the many roles you play: parent, spouse, employee, sibling, daughter, son, community volunteer and more. You offer so much to the world: start there with your gratitude and things will begin to shift for you.

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3. Start by Adding In

Think in terms of adding things, not taking things away. For example, add more greens to your diet, add more movement to your day, add more laughter and joy. When you add things in, the things that do not serve you seem to naturally fall by the wayside, especially when the feeling of deprivation is removed from the experience of change. No one wants to feel deprived of anything; life is all about abundance, joy and gratitude.

4. Self-speak with Care

Watch your words, be kind to yourself and avoid judging yourself for not achieving the things you want. Resolving to make changes is about finding ways to make choices that support getting control over the things that are important to you, not judging yourself harshly for not having arrived at those things yet or as quickly as you would have like.

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5. Assess Your Values

Think about the things you value. What do you want more of? Is it free time, health, adventure, friendship, community involvement, time alone? Consider how can you start to make changes to create these things in your life. Think about how your life will feel once you start making changes and how that will bring more of the feelings and experiences you want.

6. Consider Embodiment

What do you want to celebrate about yourself in 2013? Reflect upon one thing in 2013 that you embodied that you’re proud of. Are you better served by leaving certain things behind in 2013? And which qualities do you wish to embody in 2014? Reflect upon your circumstances and determine some daily practices that you can engage in with ease and grace that will allow you to begin embodying the physical and emotional qualities that you wish to welcome in your life in 2014.

As you reflect on your past year and set out to make goals for the New Year, stay committed to creating opportunities for your personal and physical growth and allow yourself to be the filled with abundance and vibrancy in 2014.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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