“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” – Chinese Proverb
It’s that time of the year again.
The time for reflection. The time for clearing out the old. The time for setting new goals and intentions so that the coming year will be better, brighter and more blissful.
Even though every day is a chance to start something new, there’s something special when a new year comes knocking on the door.
To help you make the best of 2017, here are some ideas of what you could start doing:
1. Start focusing on something greater than you
When you’re driven by a cause or mission, you’re propelled by meaning. You have a clear WHY to what you do and how you do it. An inspiring project or appealing vision not only triggers you, it also triggers those around you.
So, take part of something bigger than yourself. And if you don’t know what it is yet, make it your mission to find it.
2. Start watering your own grass
When we focus on other people’s achievements, we lose time that we could otherwise invest in ourselves. We don’t grow green grass by focusing on our neighbor’s garden, we do it by nurturing our own.
So stop comparing your path to someone else’s. Instead, start creating, investing, and caring for your own. Remember, you can only run your own race.
3. Start being honest with yourself
Take a look at your life. What is working and what isn’t? Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve and who you want to become. Praise yourself what you’re doing right and think about how you can change what needs to be changed.
Only when we acknowledge how things really are can we change them. As Christian Nestell Bovee said, “Honesty is not only “the first step toward greatness,” it is greatness itself.”
4. Start giving better meaning to things
We constantly have experiences that we label as good or bad, depending on how we choose to look at them. For example, when dating coach Matthew Hussey accidently ripped his shirt apart on stage in front of thousands of people, he could have labeled that as “embarrassing”. But instead, he chose to label it as “hilarious”.
Label things in a way that will empower you. Turn a traumatic event into a blessing in disguise, a difficult situation into a challenge and an ending into a new beginning. You’re the author of your experiences.
5. Start taking care of yourself fully
Just like the oxygen masks in airplanes, we always need to tend to our needs before we can tend to the needs of others. Putting yourself first isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
Look at yourself from a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspect. What do you need more, or less of, to feel good? Remember: we can’t give what we don’t have. So, make it a priority to take care of yourself first so that you can give from a genuine place.
6. Start trusting others are doing the best they can
Trust that everyone (including yourself) is doing the best they can based on experience, state and level of consciousness. The person who cut you in traffic might have an emergency to attend to. The rude person in the meeting might be going through a breakup.
We never know what someone else is going through. So instead of assuming and judging, trust that everyone is doing the best they can. Not only will that lead to greater compassion, it will also save you from unnecessary frustration, disappointment, and anger.
7. Start focusing on what you have
It’s easy to focus on lack. To look at what you want and shift focus to not having it. Abundance isn’t something we acquire through stuff, money, or status – it’s something we tune into by acknowledging all the good that’s already in our life.
As Oprah said, “If you concentrate on what you have, you will always end up having more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
8. Start using your imagination for creating, not destroying
Imagination is powerful. It can hook us up to the most horrible scenarios – or it can enable us to innovate, explore and create our deepest desires.
It can be our most powerful tool in making our dreams happen, or it can be the greatest blocker of them. Make sure your energy is channeled towards creation, not destruction.
9. Start living in the present
Many of us postpone life. We focus on the past or the future and neglect the one place where it all takes place – the present moment. We’re good at preparing for the life we want to live, but not so good at actually living it.
Don’t wait for the next achievement, Friday, or vacation before you start enjoying where you are. Instead, shift focus to the present moment no matter how irrelevant it might seem to your mind. When you drink a cup of tea, make that the most important thing in your life. When you’re speaking to someone, make that the most important thing in your life. Simply, start living where you are here and now.
10. Start trusting yourself
When you feel drawn towards something, trust that you’re drawn for a reason. When you get red flags about a person or a situation, trust that there’s a reason for it. When you have a sense or knowing, trust that you have it for a reason.
Start acting as if you trust yourself fully. It doesn’t have to be graceful. You don’t need to get it right every time. But, the more you start acting like you trust yourself, the more you’ll actually begin to trust yourself.
11. Start telling empowering stories
We all have stories that define us. Stories about our childhood, financial situation, and living situation. Empowering situations create empowering stories – empowering stories create empowering situations.
Look at one area in your life you’re not happy with. What is the story you’re telling yourself about it? Give up the stories that limit you and turn it into a story that will empower you. As Tony Robbins said, “The story you tell is the life you live”.
12. Start celebrating your stumbles and falls
That’s right! What hinders so many of us from realising our visions is the fear of failing, making mistakes and looking like fools. But, to learn something new, we need to allow ourselves to be beginners. To do things now we’ll later look back with an “Oh, haha, can’t believe I did that” comment.
Stop seeing failures and mistakes as something bad. Instead, see it as a sign that you’re taking action. Remember: it’s the not critic who counts, but the person in the arena who tries for something.
13. Start getting perspective on your problems
Someone once said, “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” Problems can seem gigantic in our minds and to move past them it helps to get some perspective. When I freeze or get overwhelmed, I remind myself that people all over this planet are fighting for their survival. What I battle with is nothing compared to that.
Acknowledge your problems, then start mobilizing yourself into action. How can you get control over the situation? What do you need to do? Who can help you move forward?
14. Start clearing out space
What can you de-clutter in your life? Practice letting go of what doesn’t serve you physically, mentally and emotionally. Rid yourself of clothes you don’t use, activities you don’t enjoy, and unfullfilling relationships .
Clear out the old, so that new and better things can enter your life.
15. Start saying YES to what is
Accept everything in your life – wanted and unwanted. Change doesn’t come by resisting what it, it comes by first accepting what is.
As Eckhart Tolle said, “Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? What could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”
16. Start embracing your vulnerability
Vulnerability. It’s the first thing we look for in others, but the last thing we want to show about ourselves. As Brené Brown said, “Most people believe vulnerability is weakness. But really vulnerability is courage. We must ask ourselves…are we willing to show up and be seen.”
Vulnerability is the key to change, creation, and true connection. It’s the gateway to growth, love and authenticity. So, allow yourself to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to meet your fears, fragilility and dark sides. Allow yourself to step into your vulnerability so that it can be transformed into strength.
17. Start focusing on others when you suffer
Suffering comes when we obsess about ourselves. When we focus on where we should be, what we should have done, or what others should do for us. It comes when we look at ourselves and aren’t happy with what we see.
So when you suffer, take focus off yourself and place it on someone or something else. Donate money to an orphanage, do something good for the rainforest or help a friend out. Simply, shift focus from ME to WE.
18. Start taking 100% responsibility for your life
This is a big one. To take full responsibility for all areas of life – finances, results, relationships, health, feelings, and so forth – isn’t easy. It’s easier to blame it on something else, our parents, the economy, or our childhood.
But, placing the responsibility on someone or something else also means giving your power away. Only when you step in and take full responsibility for what has been can you change it. So decide to take full responsibility for your life and know that the power is right where it belongs – with you.
19. Start living the life you want now
Often we tell ourselves things such as: “When I have this in place, I’ll take time off” or “One day, I’ll live the life I truly want”. But to live the life you want in the future, you’re gonna have to start crafting it now.
Not just thinking about it once in awhile, but really start living it. If you were your most attractive, fun, loving, successful, kind and inspiring version of yourself – how would you think, act and behave? Then, step into that version.
20. Start asking better questions
Tony Robbins said, “Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
Asking a question such as “What can go wrong?” can be absolutely detrimental. Why? Because there are NO positive answers to it. Instead, try asking questions such as “How can I set myself up for success?” Better questions give better answers, which results in a better life.
21. Start developing an abundance mindset
When you live in lack, you protect and hoard. When you give, you signal that you have more than enough for yourself. Don’t feel like you get enough love? Give love to someone else. Don’t feel like you make enough money? Give money to someone in need.
As Stephen R. Covey said, “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are ─ or, as we are conditioned to see it.” Start developing a mindset of abundance by focusing on possibilities, alternatives, options, collaborations, and giving.
22. Start making more decisions
One decision can turn your life around in an instant. In every moment, you have the power to make yourself feel better, be better, and act better. You create your life by the decisions you make.
Make more and better decisions to actively steer your life in the direction you desire. Make decisions, not based on what you’ve gone through or are today, but based on where who you want to be and where you want to go.
23. Start forgiving yourself and others
Yesterday, I spoke to a friend who was beating himself up for something he did towards a girl 3 months ago. It’s always good to reflect, but at one point it’s time to let go and to forgive ourselves and others.
At times, we make mistakes. At times, we say the wrong things and hurt ourselves and others. But, that’s all part of being human. Instead of blaming yourself or others, look at the lesson behind. Be grateful for what you’ve learned and then choose to let the pain be part of your past – not your future.
24. Start spending time with the right people
You’re the average of the five people you spend most time with. You know this already. But, are you living it? Think about the people you spend most time with and how you feel after you leave them. Do they give you energy or drain you of it?
Your time is valuable. Set high standard for yourself and only spend time with those who make you feel better, do better, and be better.
25. Start planning for your goals
Do you have a bucket list? If not, start making one with 100 life goals. Then, make plans to check some of the stuff off in 2017. Book that trip, take that course and start that business you’ve always dreamt of.
Don’t be a waiter, instead take control and become a creator. Make sure that what you want to happen WILL happen.
26. Start taking control of your focus
These days everyone is fighting for your attention. No matter if you’re online or offline, you’re constantly bombarded with messages. Someone once said: “We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom”.
Don’t just absorb the information you get. Instead, seek out that which will help you to create the life you want. Take control of your focus or someone else will do it for you.
27. Start making your comfort zone bigger
Often when we talk about stepping outside familiar boundaries we assume that it’s gotta be something BIG. Like bungy jumping or talking in front of 3 000 people. But, a better (and way less stressful) way to enlarge your comfort zone is to take small steps outside of it every day.
Try smiling to strangers, giving compliments or cooking new dishes. Small consistent acts creates big changes.
28. Start asking for things
There’s only one way to get what you want: By asking for it. Whether it’s about getting support, finding an investor, or going on a date – we need to be willing to ask for what we want.
Start asking for things, not because you need a specific outcome, but because you want to make yourself proud. Make it about the act, which you can control, instead of the result. Then no matter what happens, you’ll know that you always did the best you could.
29. Start turning breakdowns into breakthroughs
Instead of focusing on what isn’t working, look for the message behind. What is the situation trying to tell you? What is the information you need to get a breakthrough? My experience is that any breakdown always holds a much greater breakthrough, if we’re willing to see it.
And in the words of Rumi, say to yourself loud and clear, “You’ve seen my descent. Now watch my rising.”
30. Start taking steps towards the life you desire
The life you want doesn’t come by chance – it comes by choice. To get to where you want to be, you need to start taking steps there. If you don’t know what you want, then make finding that your first goal.
Set yourself up for success by taking small steps forward. Don’t overwhelm yourself by setting too big goals or expecting things to be perfect. (They never are anyway). Remember: consistency beats intensity.
Set Goals You Can Actually Achieve
Most of us make New Year’s resolutions that lasts for a few weeks. Or if things go well, for a few months. But after 6 months, most resolutions are long gone.
Big goals can be motivating at first, but when challenges arise they can be very discouraging. So, instead of being overly ambitious, place the bar at a level you know you can achieve.
Choose 1-3 things to focus on and pour your energy into those things. Then once you’ve accomplished or gotten better at those things, choose something new.
Simply: set yourself up for success in 2017.
Photo cred: Sofie Stenmark, Model: Maria Stenvinkel