I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely still feeling the electric buzz that comes with starting a new year.
As cliche as it may be, with every new year comes a fresh start and renewed sense of optimism.
I know, I can feel it.
Now, I’ve never been a big fan of resolutions – mostly because I tend to toss them aside once I get busy again and that thing called ‘life’ happens. But, as someone who needs some sort of goal or direction to work towards, I definitely understand the allure of New Year resolutions.
With our ‘Go-Do-Acheive’ society, it can feel as if life is passing you by too quickly. You wake up, go about your routine, go to work, take care of daily tasks, and before you know it it’s time to head home, go to bed and start the whole cycle all over again.
It makes you wonder – is this it?
As such, It’s no surprise so many of us tend to add “live life more fully” or some variation of the sort, to our list of resolutions.
If that’s the case – honey, I feel ya. I also feel like sometimes I’m just going through the motions of day-to-day life.
The good news is – we can change that! And the even better news – it’s not as daunting as it may sound.
There’s no magic involved and you will have to put in work. However, if you’re committed to gradual change, you can increase your happiness and satisfaction with your life this year.
Make 2016 your best year yet with the ideas below that’ll help you create a more amplified and full way of living this year!
Create Habits, Not Resolutions
The reason I’ve developed a resistance to resolutions is because I see them more like wishful thinking.
They sound really pretty and you may be super gung-ho about them initially, but they tend to fade away as the year’s newness wears off.
They also promote an all-or-nothing mentality – meaning if you can’t do all of it, then you’re doing none of it. Which is unfortunate because most resolutions are set with the best intentions.
So instead of declaring resolutions, try focusing on a creating habits. Here are 5 quick tips for how to build good habits and make them stick.
- Choose ONE thing at a time – I know it seems too simple, but if you really want to make a habit stick, focus your energy on one at a time, rather than spreading yourself across 5 different ones. You’ll find it hard to stay motivated for all of them and talk about overwhelm – yuck.
- Make it specific – While “get fit” is a great idea, it leaves a lot open for interpretation. What exactly do you mean by “get fit”? How are you going to “get fit” – eat healthier? Go to the gym? Detox? And how will you measure your progress? The more specific you get, the more likely you’ll see it through.
- Accept you’ll have to add or subtract something else in order to make room for the new habit – So you want to go to the gym 3 days a week? What will you have to essentially give up, in order to make that happen? An extra hour of sleep in the morning? Or maybe happy hour with friends? It’s better to acknowledge and accept that you’re going to have to do some shifting in order to really commit.
- Find a way to stay accountable – Bring along your partner-in-crime, put money on it, share your progress with others. Whatever will help you stay accountable – do it.
- Ask yourself why – This should really be the number one thing you do, but as they say – save the best for last. With anything you strive to do in life ask yourself why you’re doing it. Then, be sure you’re doing it because YOU want to, not because it sounds good or because you feel you should. If you’re constantly telling yourself you SHOULD be doing something, you’re going to find it very hard to stay motivated and committed.
Devote Time to Your Tribe
Our friendships and social interactions outside the home and work circuit are one of the best ways to destress and feel happier. Additionally, healthy friendships can provide a sense of fulfillment that’s separate from work or family – something that’s great to fall back on when other things go awry. So make the effort to grab coffee with your bestie during the week, join a meet-up group, or set up a night out with the ladies. Woo! Party time!
Be All In
Many of us, myself included, tend to fall short of our resolutions because we let ourselves quit when things get hard. But if you honestly want to see change in your life than you have to give it everything you’ve got – go balls to the wall, full throttle, pedal to the metal style.
Or in other words…you gotta fully, 110% commit.
Here are a few quick tips for how to fully commit to change.
- Refine your goal – it’s hard to commit to something if your finish line is some vague space off in the distance. So just like creating a new habit, in order to commit you’ve got to get super specific and crystal clear on what it is you want.
- Find intrinsic motivation – Again, you’ve got to truly want to accomplish this from the depths of your soul, because YOU want it – not anyone else.
- Focus on what’s important – Just to be clear, “being all in” doesn’t mean quadrupling your work load, or working out 3x a day, or starving yourself, or getting rid of all your possessions at once. While I would admire your zeal, trying to do all the things will get you nowhere, and is downright exhausting. Instead focus on what’s most important to reaching this goal and put your energy towards that.
- Hold yourself accountable – Again, find a buddy, join a community, simply tell others what you’re doing in order to have support and encouragement when you can’t find it within yourself to keep going.
Follow Your Curiosities
Some of us tend to get discouraged when we fall off from our goals or habits – I know I do. It can be really frustrating and make you feel like you can’t do it. But if there is one thing I’ve learned these past couple of years blogging and pursuing the entrepreneurial lifestyle, it’s that those missteps are simply evidence that something needs a bit of adjusting. It’s a sign that it’s time to learn something new in order to get better. Be curious about what works for you and what doesn’t, what you like and what you don’t. Treat every success and failure as an opportunity to learn, and never stop learning.
Increase your Mindfulness
In an over-stimulated, tech-driven, instant-gratification filled life, the practice of mindfulness is more important than ever. When we’re not being mindful or engaged in the present moment we tend to go into autopilot mode, where we feel as if we’re simply going through the motions of the day. A lack of mindfulness is usually what causes us to feel as if we’re in a rut.
If you live a life that’s constantly on-the-go with a packed schedule, you’ll love these 3 simple ways to increase mindfulness throughout a busy day.
- Pause every morning – Mindfulness doesn’t have to take up a ton of time. I’ve started a practice mediating for just 10-15 minutes each morning, and that alone helps me keep a level head throughout the day. So start small and gradually build as you get more comfortable with sitting quietly.
- Refocus scattered thoughts – Multitasking is way too easy with all our technology today. You can quickly find yourself jumping from task A to B back to A then down to Y and then Z, unknowingly sabotaging your productivity and exhausting your mind. Whenever you feel you’re mind is acting like a pinball machine, take a moment and choose one thing to focus on for the next 30 minutes. It can help relieve the stress of too many things happening at once and get you refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your tasks.
- Take time outs – Check out at least once during the day, step away from the computer, put down the phone, go outside and just be. This will allow your brain to take a breather, recharge, and get ready to take on the rest of the day.
Make time for your creativity
We often let go of our creative pursuits because we feel they aren’t a good use of our time, especially if you’re not intending to make a full-time career out of it. But if your creative hobby brings you inner peace and happiness, you should most definitely be making time for it! Spending time on enjoyable activities stimulates your brain and encourages you to be more creative and think positive.
I wrote a whole post on how you can start making time for your creativity – the number one takeaway was to simplify. Simplifying helps you to create space that you can then fill with your creative pursuits.
Related Post: How to Start Making Time for Your Creativity
Life can be really negative sometimes, the world is filled with negativity from our own personal problems to larger societal issues. As such, positivity has become one of the more undervalued resources. Now, I don’t mean positivity as being a Pollyanna type where you see everything as rainbows and butterflies all the time. Being positive is about acknowledging negativity and choosing to make the best of it, rather than letting it bring you down.
What you may not realize is you can actually train yourself to think more positively by understanding the 3 core foundations of thinking positive:
- Understanding a positive attitude is a choice – This is HUGE. Being positive (and on the flip side, being negative) is a choice, and you guessed it – it’s not always the easiest choice. At times it may feel better to point fingers and put blame on outside forces, but the foundation of practicing positivity is realizing you are in control of your attitude and you get to choose how you react to any situation.
- Developing resiliency to negativity – It’s hard to live a positive life when negative people and behaviors continually pull you down. Eliminating the negative and building resiliency is another core foundation to practicing positivity.
- Reinforcing positivity within yourself – As with any sort of training, the more you practice the better you get, so practice being positive by reinforcing it within yourself. Recite positive self-affirmations, start a gratitude journal, or simply remind yourself of your positive attributes every day. It may seem silly, but I promise you they’ll have an immense impact.
Related Post: 25 Positive Affirmations & How to Use Them Everyday
Broaden Your Perspective
There’s two parts to this one – first it’s about broadening your perspective situationally. Pushing your boundaries once in awhile can make you a more productive, adaptable, and creative person. And just FYI – getting out your comfort zone doesn’t have to be a major event like sky-diving or getting a dramatic hair cut. It can be little things that fit into your normal routine like riding a bike to work rather than taking public transportation or picking up a book in a genre you’ve never read before.
The second part is broadening your perspective geographically. Traveling is the best way to expand yourself and your knowledge on other people, cultures, and the world as a whole. Now again, this doesn’t mean you must travel to a remote island in the South Pacific ocean to experience the world, you can still see new and amazing things even in the smallest of towns. It’s simply a matter of keeping your ears, eyes, and heart open.
Here’s to a MAGICAL, PUMPED-UP, OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD 2016.
| Original Photos by Treasures & Travels |