And here we are folks! A New Year has arrived, bumped Christmas out of the way and announced itself with a burst of fireworks and the busy murmur of new year's resolutions (...ahem. Of which some of us have already broken - don't worry we've all lost that battle at least once. In fact only 8% of people end up achieving their New Year's Resolutions, oh my!).
So what now? How do we best prepare ourselves for the year ahead so that we make the most of all that 2016 has to offer? It's all about getting yourself into the right head-space so that you're motivated and inspired for all the challenges to come, and there's no better time to start than now. So without further ado, here's some fantastic tips, quotes and images that will get you motivated and excited to make the most out of every single day to come. Happy 2016!!
'A New Year is full of things that have never been. Anything is possible, anything could happen.'
You know those goals that you've had for the past three years ...or is it five years or maybe even ten? - They're great. And it is good to keep slugging away at them, but it's also good to set a new challenge for yourself. Open your horizons and give yourself something fresh to focus on this year. Sometimes the best way to get inspired is to seek inspiration from new places, and it doesn't have to be a big goal, it could be as simple as learning a new recipe or riding your bike more. It often turns out that when you accomplish one thing, you feel 100% more inspired and ready to conquer those other harder to achieve goals, and there's nothing like a little success to help you make a breakthrough this year.
And once you have made your goals for the year, write them down! Studies have shown that people with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve than people without written goals - so pick up a pen and get writing.
There are lots of things that you can't change in the world. Many of things that could be better are just simply out of your control. As noble as it is to make a New Year's Resolution to end world-poverty, there's not a whole lot that little old you can do about it (by yourself that is anyway...) however, one thing that every single one of us can definitely always improve on is ourselves. Can you imagine if every person in the world decided to make themselves a better person this year - the world would be one incredible place by December. So perhaps you want to have more patience, or better self control, you could be wanting to wake up half an hour earlier or start a new hobby; whatever it is, make the commitment to yourself, and whilst it might seem counter-intuitive, avoid telling others about your personal goals if possible. It's been proven that sharing your goals with others can actually significantly decrease your likelihood to succeed. See below for Derek Sivers fascinating TedTalk on why you should keep goals to yourself).
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
Mistakes are only worth making if you learn from them. This year make sure you actually take the time to stop and reflect on everything that has happened, think about what you've done in the past 12 months, what's been accomplished and where you went wrong. Often the places where we failed are the areas with the most potential for growth and success if you take the time to analyse and self-examine. There's truth in the mantra "Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together" - The only way you're going to get somewhere new is if you re-evaluate where you're going. Why?
...Because when you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.
So don't beat yourself up about things that didn't go to plan, or decisions you regret making. Here's a fun fact to help you breathe easy next time you slip up: what does Penicillin, choc-chip cookies, microwaves, fireworks and cornflakes have in common? - They were all the inadvertent product of a mistake! So keep up the healthy mistake-making and learning from it. As long as you use it as a chance to grow then it'll lead you towards a better you.
'If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.'
- Or as Oscar Wilde poetically put it; “Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.” Your life isn't the place to play it safe. We're not saying you should throw care to the wind and ride your bike blindfolded, or - even worse - throw yourself into a dance class without warming up ;) yikes! ...but you only get one chance at each day. Don't spend your time worrying about the little things that could go wrong and missing the opportunities that really change your life. To quote another creative genius, Salvadore Dali once stated “Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it” so stop trying to be perfect and embrace the unpredictable and the chance for error, that's where all the fun is!
In other words, no day is more valuable than the next.
...That's right. It doesn't matter that it's not the start of the week, or that New Year's was four days ago. The 31st of December is no better time to start something than the fifth of January, or the 17th of June, or tomorrow. You don't need a New Year to make a resolution, you don't even need a new month. If you want to make a change in your life for the better then start today, start right now, this SECOND. There's no reason why you need an occasion to begin something new, because what really matters at the end of the day isn't where or when you began, it's where you end up. Don't wait for a beginning, work for an ending that you can be proud of.
Success doesn't start the day you see results, it starts the second you make that decision to commit to doing something, and that happens the moment you want it to, the moment you want it badly enough.
...and don't buy into the idea that 'falling off the wagon' means your goals are down the drain and all your efforts have gone to waist for the year. It doesn't matter if you've stopped for a day, a week or a month, you're still capable, you haven't failed and you can still accomplish everything you set out to. You hit a bump in the road - so what? You're much further along the track than you were before, so just get back up and keep going, you'll probably even find that you're more motivated the second time around than ever before.
Give your mum a hug, smile at someone on the train, hold the door open for a stranger, tell your brother you love him (even if he's a pain sometimes!), write a thank you note for that amazing Christmas present you got, ask a friend you haven't seen in a while how they're doing, bake some cookies to share at work or school - just because, call your grandparents (do it!), give some clothes to a charity, pay someone a genuine compliment, write your best friend a list of things you love about them, offer someone a lift, offer your seat to an elderly person, buy your co-worker coffee, ask someone about their weekend, be encouraging, listen to people, pretty soon, little by little you'll brighten the day of everyone around you... trust us, it feels amazing.