Starting off the New Year right is a common goal. Somewhere during the first month or so, however, if we believe what we read or hear in the media, most of us abandon our resolutions or decide we need to take a break. Either they were too ambitious, impractical, too many to reasonably accomplish, or some other real or imagined reason for quitting. What may be a far more realistic ambition, though, is to stick with overarching goals that allow room for incremental improvement — and a feeling of accomplishment. Here are 10 tips for a New Year and a new you.
Figure out what you’re good at.
Have you been told often by friends and family members that you show a talent for baking, or that you’re a whiz at math, can figure out how to take anything apart and put it back together the right way? Do you find that you’ve excelled at school in drama, or biology or know history easily? There are strong hints here that should tell you what you have an aptitude, innate skill or talent for, especially when you can do it with ease and find the process exciting and enjoyable. Math majors can find satisfying careers in numerous fields, from accounting at a business to becoming a CPA to branching off into areas like medicine, computer programming, and more. Once you determine what you’re good at — even if you’ve failed to consider this in the past — you’ve got some pluses in your quest to work on a new you this year.
Enlist support of friends to motivate and encourage you.
It’s easy to become discouraged if you’ve embarked on a journey to create a new you that’s so different and challenging you begin to wonder if you’ve chosen the wrong path. Thinking back to what you’re good at and what truly inspires you, if the stage of your journey you’re in seems a little tough to take, you need some words of encouragement and motivation from others to help you navigate the hurdles. Others may have suggestions, or just be there for you to listen and remind you how you’ve tackled difficulties before and come out a winner.
Make quality me-time a priority.
You’ll soon find it tough to keep going on your pursuit of a new you if everything you do involves heavy lifting. That means that you’re constantly on the go and taking on too much without giving yourself a break. Even machines break down without being idle at times, so it must be a priority for you to take time for yourself daily. It can be short, 10-15 minutes, or longer on some days, whatever it takes to allow you to recharge, relax and regain your sense of harmony. Be sure to stand up and move around, especially if you work at a desk. And, if you travel frequently, maybe cut it back if you’re too anxious and can’t sleep.
Use reminders to keep you on track.
Do you often find yourself coming up short at the end of the day because you’ve gotten off-track on one project or another? An effective way to ensure you stay on target with what you want to accomplish today is to use reminders. These can be sticky notes or electronic reminders, even a call from a friend. Getting lost doing what you like can also get you in trouble if you fail to tend to other pressing responsibilities or avenues you’ve allocated to research today for the new you you’re creating. Just make sure you’re not striving to be perfect, for perfectionism is an elusive goal and can exact a toll on your mental health.
Learn to regard mistakes as opportunities, not failures.
While it never feels good to fall short of an expected outcome or going completely off the mark due to errors in judgment, or due to timing, lack of resources, unfamiliarity or other constraints, when you train yourself to see mistakes as opportunities instead of failures, you’ll bounce back quicker and with less residual self-criticism. On your horizon lies the new you, and you can be assured that there will be many learning opportunities as you strive to make proactive changes in your life. Failure is a construct, a mind-trap you can eliminate. Learning from mistakes paves the way to better results, either the next time you tackle the same or similar endeavor or when branching off to something new.
When you find something that interests you, learn as much as you can about it.
Suppose you discover you have a keen interest in architecture, yet know little about it? Maybe you happen upon some historical fact that makes you curious to learn more. What about building a shed or a greenhouse as a DIY project and finding that you’re not only very good with your hands, but you also really enjoyed doing the project? There’s always more to learn, even if you’re considered an expert in your field. The secret to becoming the best new you may be as a voracious consumer of knowledge. The more you can learn something new about what interests you, the better.
Build upon your character strengths.
Along with knowing what you’re good at, keep your character strengths top of mind. These life-affirming qualities include resilience, truthfulness, integrity, ability to prioritize, working well with others, intuitiveness, creativity, problem-solving, being able to find common ground, sense of humor, determination, perseverance despite obstacles and more.
Capitalize on past accomplishments.
Everyone has had some successes, even if they don’t count them as such. Whether it’s at work, school or home, when you’ve been able to score a win, produce a stellar report, lead a team to victory, build a rock star website, you’ve got capital you can use to forge ahead. Mentioning such successes is common in resumes, but also in conversations with those you meet who may have an interest in that area. Contacts who know what you’ve accomplished can also refer you to potential employers or others who may be able to help you further your career advancement.
Endeavor to do something new.
Remember when you were a kid, and everything was new? That spirit of excitement and discovery isn’t lost when you become an adult, although many of us seem to forget what we find so intriguing. Even doing something that’s routine can take on new meaning when we approach it in a unique way. I made 101 chicken recipes when I was a teenager, mostly because I wanted to see how many ways I could surprise the family at dinner, but also because it was a lot of fun. Taking on the challenge of learning a new language, hobby, skill, tackling a project at work that’s out of your realm of expertise are all excellent ways to do something new.
Everything you do needn’t be all about work. Nor should it be so difficult that it drains your energy, makes you frustrated or unsatisfied. One proven way to smooth out bumps along the path toward success is to ensure you have a ready complement of fun things to do. It doesn’t matter whether that’s laughing at a raucous comedy or finding that appetizing recipe for barbecue baby back ribs, walking in nature, or skiing cross country, if the activity brings a smile to your face, it qualifies as having fun. Best of all, there are unique fun things to do each month, along with your favorites. So, there’s always opportunity to enrich your spirit and bring life into balance by doing something fun.