It’s January, the holidays have passed, and we’re now placed on the threshold of a new year – our minds focused on what it may bring. In actuality, the first few days of the year may be the closest the past, present and future ever come to meeting each other – our minds simultaneously re-evaluating old choices, taking stock of our current conditions and setting new goals. Yet I recently heard that only 40 to 50 percent of people bother to set resolutions for the new year. That number makes me wonder why. Is it because they’ve failed before and don’t want to subject themselves to further disappointment (they say that less than half of all resolutions succeed), or does it come from a more positive place with the realization that each new day offers a fresh beginning?
Whatever the case, the truth is that NOW is the time to start living the life you desire. Here are some tried and true tips for making it happen:
1. Let go of past mistakes
“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves, so it’s best probably to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.” – Patty Duke
Everybody has regrets. There is no such thing as a perfect life – but we can use even our lowest points as a catapult to something greater if we can just get past them. Leave the past in the past but first, find the lesson, if you can (I call this prospecting for gold) and then allow that knowledge to help lead you forward to the right places.
2. Open yourself to the possibilities
“Finding oneself and one’s path is like waking up on a foggy day. Be patient, and presently the fog will clear and that which has always been there can be seen. The path is already there to follow.” ― Rasheed Ogunlaru
Sometimes we can get so focused on what we think we want that we can completely overlook what right in front of us. Keep heading in the direction you’re going but always be on the lookout for side roads that may take you to exciting and unexpected places. The most successful people in history have allowed themselves to venture off the beaten path in order to discover something new and remarkable.
3. Be willing to take action
“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.”- William B. Sprague
When you have an idea of what you want to do – get busy! Brainstorm ideas and outline a plan of action. Once you’ve gained a certain amount of momentum you may be surprised to see new opportunities begin to present themselves. But the first step is elevating you desires from thought to action.
4. Don’t give up
“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose…not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.”
~Anne Sullivan Macy
Nothing great can be accomplished, or even maintained, without effort. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to live and die with every outcome. Learn to place as much emphasis on your progress as you do your advancements. This mindset will keep you steadily moving forward, increase your energy and allow you to keep your eye on the big picture.
5. Cultivate happiness now
“When you’re unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. And you get to take yourself oh so very seriously. Your truly happy people, which is to say, your people who truly like themselves, they don’t think about themselves very much. Your unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwellin’ on himself and start payin’ attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence.” ― Tom Robbins
While setting goals and taking action are wonderful, our happiness should not be the prize at the end of the line. We can be happy every step of the way as long as we choose to be. The little successes and failures along the way don’t define you – so don’t give them that sort of power. We live in a glorious world full of things to uplift our senses and remind us of the gift of truly living. Walks in nature, laughter with friends, and enjoying a good meal all have the power to bring us back to a happy place as long as we’ll allow them to. While goals may take effort, happiness is really very simple – keep it that way.
Maybe there’s a third possibility to why some people don’t set New Year’s resolutions – maybe they’re already doing all these things and completely happy with the flow of events in their lives. If so, that’s the way it should be. We should all be so lucky!
Copyright © 2013 marciwise.com. Material is copyrighted but free to repost as long as proper credit is listed, including our website address. Marci Wise is the author of Pain, Passion & Purpose. “Like” us on Facebook.