As the world prepares to flip their calendars from 2016 to 2017, how will you prepare? Many people will celebrate by partying long into the night, watching the ball drop on Times Square in NYC, or having a quiet gathering with friends. Others will spend the day like any other day, doing whatever they do in a typical day. Some will make New Year’s resolutions to improve themselves – often in the form of health, diet and exercise. Some people will vow to find love, improve their relationships, save more money . . . whatever they think will bring them happiness.

This year, as I am writing my third book, Choosing Me Now: Letting Go of What Doesn’t Work to Make Room for What Does, the new year is presenting a different type of opportunity. I love the idea of using this time to take stock and make improvements but I want it to be different than the typical resolution that is quickly forgotten by the time the Super Bowl airs. This year I want to focus on developing and improving myself, rather than outside of myself for happiness. I know I am already happy; happiness is a choice I make everyday. The question I am asking this year is: How can I become a better person – physically, emotionally, financially, intellectually and relationally?

I have created a 5-step Process for Successful Resolutions:

  1. Relax – In order to optimize your thinking processes, it’s most helpful to be relaxed. I recommend some meditation to begin your planning session.
  2. Reflect  – Before beginning to set goals, it will be helpful to review where you are now and the progress you’ve made thus far. If you begin to beat yourself up for not making the progress you think you should have, put the brakes on and be kind to yourself. If you have something you want to do, you have at least been thinking about it, perhaps researching it, and talking to others about it. All of this is progress. Give yourself credit for anything you’ve done, including reading this blog.
  3. Rejuvenate  – Rejuvenating is about doing something that rebuilds your energy. If you are serious about making changes in your life, it will be much easier to do when you are feeling energetic and optimistic rather than feeling exhausted or beaten down by life. Make time each day to do something you love that replenishes your energy.
  4. Renovate  – Renovating is about deciding what changes you want to make, what goals you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to get there. It is also helpful to write down the “why” of what you intend to do. If you want to lose weight, and your why is so you can buy cuter clothes, that may not be a reason that will motivate you when you are losing the energy to stay your course. But if losing weight is so you will be healthy enough to play with your grandchildren, that may be the reason you will stay on track. You need to find the motivating reason for you.
  5. Remind – This is the step that is often forgotten. You will need to build in a system to remind yourself of your commitments. This can be done by calendaring the steps you’ve committed to, engaging a reliable accountability partner, hiring a coach or joining/forming a mastermind group. During this final step, it’s important to remind yourself of your heartfelt reason for wanting to accomplish your goals. It is that reason that will internally motivate you to continue your journey toward your goals instead of ending your quest with the Super Bowl kickoff.

I wish you a most successful new year, whatever your goals are!

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