By Lisbeth Darsh
You hear it all the time: “New year, new you.” Drawn by the power of the calendar, we see the start of each year as a wonderland of opportunity and growth and we’re ready to grab it all. More success, more love, more everything.
But how to do that? How do you seize a new year? How do you make certain you don’t get stuck in a familiar rut of new plans followed by old results?
Here are 5 simple steps that can help you seize this (or any) year:
1) Think “What Can I Celebrate?”
Michael Beckwith offers this question as a powerful tool in his book The Answer is You—and it’s a great question to ask. Even when our world seems dark, there is still much to celebrate, much to enjoy, and much to applaud, but we forget that sometimes. Yet it’s important to focus on joy and the potential for joy because this is how we find our path forward, by remembering what feels fabulous and stirs us to action. So, celebrate your family, your community, your faith, your work, your pets, whoever and whatever adds value and meaning to your life. Big round of applause and gratitude!
Then, go one step farther: look inward. Moving into this year, take more of Michael’s advice and abandon the agreements you have made with mediocrity. If this is going to be your best year ever, then there is one more crucial answer to, “What Can I Celebrate?” … And it’s you. Celebrate you.
2) Dive Deep into Something New
Stretch. Plunge headfirst into learning something you always wanted to know more about. Take a course or learn a skill. Grow your brain, grow your spirit, grow your body, grow your life.
While this step seems easy, as adults sometimes we hesitate to jump into learning experiences because learning new things can be a bit scary. We’re used to being seen as competent authority figures, and to admit that we don’t know everything can be daunting.
But it can also be freeing.
The same things that can make a plunge seem perilous—we’re not in charge and we’re trying something new—can also make our new adventure extremely exciting—because we’re not in charge and we’re trying something new. Adopting a beginner’s mindset can bring you back to the thrill of childhood and open your brain to many wonderful opportunities for growth.
Bruce Lipton, PhD, says, “You will not do what you think you cannot do”—and he’s right, so change your thinking and do. Dive deep into something new.
3) Say Yes to Your Dreams
We all have dreams we pursue and dreams we put on the shelf. Time, money, careers, kids: so many responsibilities fill our schedules and lives. But the truth of the matter is that not one of us is getting younger. So, maybe this is the year that you should take at least one of those dreams and go for it. Maybe this is the year that you start that business you always wanted to start—whether that’s a full-blown Silicon Valley start-up or a small side business to tend and grow in your spare time.
But first you have to say yes and decide to begin. Mike Dooley says, “The one thing all famous authors, world-class athletes, business tycoons, singers, actors, and celebrated achievers in any field have in common is that they all began their journeys when they were none of these things. Yet still, they began their journeys.”
Begin your journey.
4) Change Your Energy
If life puts you in a slump at any point during this year, remember that you can dig yourself out of a hole. No situation is permanent unless you accept it as permanent.
But to get out of that hole, you might have to change your energy. Panache Desai talks a great deal about how to change your energy, and one of his suggestions is, “accept everything (for three minutes).” He advocates three minutes of stillness and “profound acceptance” every day to help you unstick what has you stuck. Try it.
5) Calm Your Mind
Our brains are on overload daily. Bombarded by our digital universe, we can often find ourselves in a state of what feels like continuous agitation. We get stressed, twitchy, and touchy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take time daily to calm your mind. That can mean doing yoga, meditating, running, lifting a barbell, reading, or simply taking a walk in the woods with your dog. Do what works for you, but make sure to do something. Richard Davidson, PhD, says, “The key to a healthy life is having a healthy mind”—and he’s right. So take care of your mind by calming it. Then, when you need it, rev your mind up and go.
These 5 Simple Steps aren’t the answer to everything in this coming year, but they’re a great list to keep handy so you can keep going. Good luck, and may this be the best year of your life!