The new year brings about a time to look toward the future and expand your horizons while exploring yourself and the world around you. It's about more than making resolutions and setting goals. It's about freeing yourself of unrealistic expectations and adjusting your mindset to be happy with the person you are today and excited about the possibilities of new opportunities in the future.
As you roll into 2014 with endless potential to make a better life for yourself, make sure to focus on the people and things that truly matter to you. If you need help embarking on the new year with a positive attitude and worthwhile approach, the following simple yet effective tips are a good place to start for turning this into the best year of your life.
Be In It for the Long Haul
Setting goals to start off the year is a good way to focus your actions and reconfirm your commitments. But, living the best life you can takes more than making a one-year commitment that expires when you buy a new calendar.
Becoming truly happy with who you are and where you are going in your life requires making a lifetime attitude adjustment. It means making the decision to engage in daily behaviors that will help you get to where you ultimately want to be both mentally and physically. And, it includes surrounding yourself with the right influences and positive people who will support your endeavors.
"By making little changes every day, it changes your mentality," says Kayla Spicer, massage therapist at Elements Wilsonville. "It's not just about doing things. It's about changing your brain and how you think. You have to get it in your head that it's not just a short-term thing. It's a long-term commitment to yourself."
Get Outside of Yourself
The new year can lend itself to being a self-serving time with the main focus being on what you can do to better yourself and fulfill your life's dreams. However, some of the best fulfillment and sense of accomplishment can be achieved when you focus on the needs of others.
"Stepping outside of yourself and treating others the way you want to be treated can be powerful," shares Spicer. "I've had times in my life where I've had to get outside of myself. Instead of asking people to help me, I started helping others. By taking this approach, it ended up helping me."
Spicer suggests that even the simplest acts of offering to bring a neighbor dinner or watching their kids for an hour can make a positive difference in other people's lives as well as yours. If you're lucky, they may offer to return the favor. But, if they don't, it's OK because you still know you were helpful to someone else, which can be fulfilling all in its own.
Turn Regrets into Opportunities
Everyone has done things that they aren't proud of or said things that would be better left on the tip of the tongue. But to move forward in the best way possible, it's important to not dwell on the past and learn from your mistakes.
If there's something in your life that you've severely neglected or wish you could do over, then it might be a good time to change your thought process for the new year to include these little life lessons. If you haven't had the best relationship with a friend or family member, something as simple as an apology can make a big difference in turning the tides of your friendship. Or, maybe you need to show them with your actions that you're going to try harder to do better moving forward. Often it can be more effective to show someone you truly care with actions rather than with just words.
"You can't live in the past; you have to keep moving forward," shares Spicer. "In order to continue moving forward, you have to keep taking baby steps. Even if you just focus on one little thing each day, you're still going in the right direction."
Celebrate Your Small Victories
Rejoicing in your accomplishments, efforts and victories -– whether they're big, small or somewhere in-between -– may be one of the most important aspects to living a fulfilling life.
If you score a personal best in a sporting event, close a big deal at work, or even just spend a day to rejuvenate yourself with a walk in the woods, take the time to reflect on it and give yourself credit for a job well done. Even if you didn't do something as well as you wanted, you can still appreciate the lessons you learned during the experience and apply your new found wisdom to when you try it again.
"Take all of your small victories and continue to add them all up until you realize that you have a lot to be proud of," advises Spicer.
When you think about what it might take to make this year the best yet, it can seem a little bit overwhelming at first. But by keeping it simple and focusing on these basic guidelines, living a great life that you're proud of can definitely be attainable. Carpe diem, live for what matters most to you and make today the first day of the best year of your life!