1 Learn from your mistakes
Did last year disappoint? Were there some failures and mistakes along the way? The dawn of the new year is the perfect time to put those behind you and look forward. Treat past failures as opportunities to learn. Forgive yourself and start this year with a clean slate.
2 Dream big and create manageable goals
Take some time to think about where you want to go and set some goals that will lead you in that direction. Success Coach, Michael Hyatt, suggests setting five to seven specific goals from different areas of your life. That might seem ambitious, but casting a vision for the future and planning tangible steps toward it will be a giant leap to creating the future that you desire.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
– Yogi Berra
3 Add one thing that scares you to your list
Stepping out of your comfort zone can teach you a great deal about yourself. At least one of your goals should be a stretch that intimidates you to some degree. If you don’t challenge yourself this year, when will you? In his book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, John Ortberg said, “Apparently there is something about all living creatures, even amoebas, that demands challenge. We require change, adaptation, and challenge the way we require food and air. Comfort alone will kill us.”
Make it a point to develop new friendships and deepen the relationships you have. This will require intentionality on your part, but the rewards can be endless. Not only does being in relationship with others make us happier, research tells us that friendships make us healthier and help us to live longer, as well. As a side benefit, remember those goals you set? Your new friends will hold you accountable and do whatever they can to help you achieve them.
5 Find Perspective
Everyone goes through hard times and last year might have been a difficult one. The new year is a good time to focus on the positive things our lives, even if you have to dig to find them. We all need to consider how fortunate we truly are. In fact, since you are reading this online, you are already better off than half of the world’s population. If you own a car, you are in the top 10% of wage-earners in the world. Of course, wealth doesn’t automatically create happiness, but if we try, we can all find blessings to count. The key is taking time to look around.
“In a rapidly ascending balloon were two men. One watched the earth getting farther and farther away. One watched the stars getting nearer and nearer.”
-George Jean Nathan
6 Engage in at least one activity that helps others
There is growing evidence that volunteering can help counteract the effects of stress, anger and anxiety. Additionally, it can combat depression and make you happier. Human beings are hard-wired to give to others – the more we give, the happier we feel because doing something for others gives us a sense of purpose. With that in mind, this last action could be the most important springboard to making this the best year ever because the resultant frame of mind will go a long way to helping you accomplish the other five. This year, find your place of service to others.
Best wishes for 2018. May it truly be your best year ever!