Ten Tips for Starting the New Year

  1. Establish your priorities – If you don’t want the whole year to get away from you, leaving you unfulfilled and feeling like you just didn’t get the things done that you wanted to, chances are that you need to spend some time establishing your priorities. Pick a quiet time when you can get comfortable with a pen and paper and just write down the 5 things in your life that are most important to you. You may include things like family members, organizations, activities, or personal goals. Once you determine what your priorities are, focus on spending time on those things, not on all the distractions life throws your way.
  2. Get rid of what you don’t need – Clean your house, your car, your office, your desk, your garage, or wherever you accumulate junk. Junk is oppressive and stifling. Throw the stuff away. If it’s too valuable to throw away, give it to a charity. If you aren’t feeling that generous, hold a rummage sale. Just get rid of it!
  3. Set a few goals for the year – Look at your list of priorities and decide what you’d really like to accomplish within those domains. You may include things like: potty train my son, rekindle my marriage, get more involved with church, put a hot tub in the backyard, enter our dogs into a dog show, or any goal you’d like to accomplish. Without goals, we wander towards our dreams, but goals help us focus our energy and get us there more quickly.
  4. Get adequate sleep – You are absolutely useless if you’re constantly fatigued. Go to bed at a reasonable time. The whole world will be there when you get up. The house will be just as messy, your child just as demanding, your job just as stressful. The more rested you are, the more prepared you will be to deal with the continuing challenges of life.
  5. Put exercise into your weekly routine – No whining. No excuses. Everyone has time. It’s absolutely a matter of whether or not you choose to devote time to exercise or not. Put at least 15 minutes of continuous difficult physical activity into your schedule at least 3 times a week. Play a sport with your children, walk vigorously with the dog, walk to mail letters, do some errands on foot, or anything else that you might enjoy. Your body needs exercise to function properly.
  6. Stop and smell the roses – Hug your children, smile at people, look at things that are visually pleasing, smell the roses, slow down, really see what’s around you. Being more aware of and appreciative of your surroundings can bring you a peace and calm that will help you manage life’s stressors.
  7. Work hard enough – Work hard enough to reach your goals, but not so hard you burn yourself out. When you don’t work hard enough, your self-esteem will suffer and you will not be able to pull yourself out of troublesome situations. When you work too hard, you create problems you didn’t even have before. Balance your life between work and play.
  8. Change unhealthy eating habits – Eat more raw vegetables, less processed food, less fast-food, less frozen food, less canned food. Our society is moving so fast that we eat many meals “on the run.” Your body is a machine and it does not run well on low-quality fuel. You will suffer more illnesses, injuries, fatigue, and poor concentration to the degree that you put garbage fuel into your body.
  9. Forgive yourself and others – When you or others make mistakes, acknowledge them as just that, mistakes, not as the end of the world. If it was you who made the mistake, face your consequences, apologize to those you’ve hurt or inconvenienced, and make a plan to help you avoid repeating that particular mistake. If it was someone else’s mistake, accept sincere apologies, and let things go that just simply don’t matter in the greater scheme of things.
  10. Develop spiritual interests – If you are religious, spend some time reconnecting with your beliefs if you are straying. If you don’t necessarily believe in a deity of any sort, then at least focus on yourself as a part of a larger whole that is mankind and ponder how your acts can affect the larger group. Seek to live harmoniously with others and with the environment as much as possible.

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