First off, Happy New Year! I love this time of year where we get all sorts of ideas to do it right, and kick-start the year off. It seems rather cliché to talk about how to make this year right. Everyone is talking about it, and even give you some (awesome) tips to get started.
But let’s be honest–we’ll do these things, and maybe within the first 3 weeks of the year, the newness wears off, and we are back to doing what we were doing before. I’ve been there–I know.
This year, I’ve started to do things differently–I’ve started to plan my new year back in 2018. A bit excessive, I know, but I really wanted to make some changes. It’s a well-known fact that changes do not happen overnight, so if we want changes, we have to plan for them.
Here are some things that I’ve started, and will be making an effort as this year progresses. You can borrow some ideas, or take all of them (up to you), I just wanted to share with you what I’m doing.
1. Surround yourself with positive people.
It’s common knowledge that we tend to behave the same way as the people we surround ourselves with. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose weight, quit a bad habit, or pick up a new one.
The same goes for those who tend to be on the negative side. From my experience, negative people (those that complain, never find anything going well in the world) tend to zap all of my energy. I need my energy.
I can start the day in a great mood, and person negative starts, and those are my good vibes. For my sake, and those around me, I’m going to have to surround myself with positive people.
2. Don’t make resolutions, plan
Every year, hundreds of people will make a new years resolution. They are usually very broad, like,–lose weight, exercise more, eat healthy. While those are great ideas, they are just too huge to tackle.
Usually, we’ll all be in on January 1st, but by the time February 1st rolls around, most of those changes could not be sustained. It’s best to not make sweeping statements and instead make a plan.
So what do I mean? You plan on losing weight–well it starts in the kitchen. Opt to eat healthy, and there will be positive snowball effect.
There’s a positive snowball effect? Why, yes.
Just as negative experiences can lead to more negative experiences (the snowball effect), positive changes can do the same creating a “positive snowball” effect. Adept positive psychologists and coaches capitalize on this virtuous circle in their work with clients, helping them to build strengths that in turn “build up” other strengths. (source)
This year, don’t make sweeping statements, instead–plan out what changes you would like and carry them out slowly. Start with bringing your lunch to work instead of buying it, and see where it goes from there. Which brings my next point.
3. Find Ways to Save
In a consumer culture, we’re told that we need the latest gadget, the better cloths, and of course the best shoes. Honestly, that’s just superficial. In order to have complete control over your finances (and future), think of ways to save your money.
Do you always need the latest phone if your old one works just as fine? Do you really need to have those expensive pair of shoes? Would it seriously improve your life?
Asking questions like this helps us to decide what we truly value, and free up our finances to either experience the things we truly want to, or save up for our future.
I gave one example: bringing your lunch to work. But there are other things that you can do to save more. You can eat breakfast at home. You can make it the night before and bring it to work if you can’t eat it at work.
If you are a coffee drinker and like those frothy cups of tea, consider getting the machine and do it at home. It would definitely be cheaper than buying that cup of coffee for $5 a day.
4. Empower Yourself
This is hard to do because sometimes we like to throw ourselves a pity party. The truth is, we are not a victim. Yeah, bad things happen to good people all the time, but it’s our mindset that allows us to either over come obstacles or wallow in them.
I think we have all been around that one person who doesn’t understand why things never right for them. Then the conversation turns into a negative one (see number one) and next thing you know, it’s a pity party and you’ve been invited to watch.
Some things that I’ve learned is that we are the sum of our choices. Now, I’m not talking about the stray bad luck that we tend to get, but I’m talking about truly doing something and expecting nothing bad to happen.
If we eat poorly for years, and develop a health condition, it’s not divine fate. There are natural consequences for the choices that we make. Some of those consequences affect our health. Instead of pointing out the problem, look for the solution.
5. Read More
Read more this year. Not just causal reading, but read books to improve yourself. What I love about self-help books is that they help me look at situations differently than I would have normally seen them.
We read to grow and to become the person who we want to be. I love this idea. You want to be more spiritual–read more spiritual books. Whatever you do, read something that will allow you to grow.
One of the mistakes that we all make is thinking that we don’t have enough time to read books. However, if we really look into our day, we see that we spend so much of our time doing things that we don’t want to do.
This is the year we change all that! Which brings me to my next point.
6. Get Offline
One of the saddest things that I see these days is people looking down on their phones while out in the street. I wouldn’t say it’s comical, because I honestly think it’s pretty sad.
Yes, we are all attached to our devices, but it’s to the point when we miss the world around us looking only into a virtual world. Take time out this year to set clear times when you plan on being online and when you plan to actually do stuff.
Once when you see where your time is going, it’s going to be very freeing to know that you have so much time in your life.
I’ve talked about this before, but late last year, I decided to remove the social media accounts from my phone. I haven’t made a plan as to when I want to be back on, but I can honestly say (as of writing this post) I’ve felt very calm, and haven’t a want to get on social media.
Truth is–you won’t miss anything, unless you’re whole business involves being online. But if you’re like most of us, my life is outside of the screen, so getting offline has helped me focus my thoughts.
7. Get A Hobby & Challenge Yourself
Once when you are finally offline, you’re going to find that you have a lot of time to do the things you love. This is the perfect time to plan to try something new.
Maybe you always wanted to learn how to play that recorder (my daughter is trying), or maybe try a new fiber art. Or, you had a hobby, but you just didn’t have enough “time” to actually do it.
This is the time to start planning your hobby, and challenging yourself you do better, and to expand yourself.
Two years ago, I’ve decided to learn to crochet. I managed to make a shawl, and three blankets. Then I decided to learn to knit. I haven’t looked back since. Turns out that I really love knitting, and since learning how to do simple things, I’ve made mittens, a shawl, finger-less gloves, and two sweaters (which I have yet to talk about yet).
8. Plan Your Day, Don’t Just Let it Happen
This is the year that I’m finally implementing the Bullet Journal (soon to be posted). I’ve tried to use it in the past, but I think all the visual candy turned me off because I didn’t have time to draw.
What I have taken away from it so far is not to let the day get away from me. I need to constantly make a plan, and get things out of my head. Between homeschooling and managing my home, things can get pretty overwhelming very quickly.
It doesn’t matter if you choose the Bullet Journal or not, just find a system that you like to plan you week. The days that I didn’t plan anything, I found myself always running behind myself, trying to pick up the pieces.
9. Take Things Slow
This is why I’m so loving the analog system of doing things. I noticed that I’m always “plugged in” throughout the day. To either print things out, or just do things the “old-fashioned way,” I have more enjoyment completing a task.
Since I like to think I’m an avid reader, I like reading books on my book reader–but I read slower and more carefully when I pick up the real book.
The other ways I have worked this into my life to see what really add value to it. Always rushing makes me feel like I’m always rushed. There are too many distractions that stop us from doing the things we want to do. Before we know it, there won’t be anymore time to do things. I’m working on removing those distractions and time wasters from my life.
10. Prayer & Family
This is the last number, but it’s the most important for me. This is the year that you can give more time to prayer and to you family. Sadly, in this digital world, we push the people who love us the most off to the side.
In 2019, we can dedicate more time to our family and our prayer life. This year, I’ve decided to make a Bible reading plan for myself in my Journal. I’ve done this in the past and it really worked for me.
Last year, I figured I had it “together” and I didn’t read my Bible as constantly as I had hoped to. This year, I’m going to get myself together and mark down how much I am to read in one day.
Overall, I hope that some of the ways I’m starting this year differently will inspire you to make some changes, and think about how you plan on getting them done. Just remember that it’s okay if you fall off the bandwagon, what matters is you getting back up.
Once again, Happy New Year you and yours.