As 2016 steadily draws to a close, we’re presented with a wonderful opportunity to reflect on our year. What went well? What did we learn? How have we grown in the past 366 days? And what do we want to improve for our year ahead? What can we change? How can we become better than we were a year ago? How can we live an even richer and abundant life next year, than we did in our last?
1. Write a letter to yourself on New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Day is a day for reflection, day dreaming, and calm. Make yourself a steaming cup of tea & honey, or pour yourself an indulgent glass of champagne, and grab your favourite pen and notebook. Start writing to yourself. Write about something you’re looking forward to, what you’re scared of, your goals, floating thoughts, and all you’re wishing for in your precious year ahead. Make it extremely personal, and don’t hold back. When you’re done, seal it, and give it to someone to mail to you near the end of 2017.
This will hands down be the greatest thing you receive in the post this year.
2. Stop thinking, start doing.
Thinking won’t get you results. Don’t wait for the ‘perfect’ moment to begin – because the truth is, that perfect moment will never come. It doesn’t exist. Stop waiting, over-thinking, and procrastinating. Start now. Make a promise to yourself that 2017 will be the year you that you stop waiting for things to happen, and you get out there and make them happen. Good things come to those who work extremely hard, and never ever give up.
This is your life, and you are the starring lead. Take control, and don’t look back.
Whatever has already happened, has passed. You need not carry it with you, for it will only weigh you down in your journey onwards. Forgive those who have not treated you well. Remember that in biting back, you will only do yourself a disservice. Learn to forgive people for their spiteful words, and hurtful actions; because they don’t know any better, but you do.
Always leave the past behind you where it belongs.
4. Find an outfit that makes you feel like a God/Goddess.
Material possessions aren’t to be seen as valuable, and we won’t be able to take them with us into our next life. That being said, clothes do hold a certain power over our minds. When you look fabulous, you’ll feel fabulous. This year, save up for a new outfit that makes you feel like there’s nothing you cannot conquer upon wearing it. Think of it as your very own superhero suit.
Whenever you find yourself in need of an extra shot of confidence, your power outfit will be ready and waiting for you.
5. Ignore the voices in your head.
You know the ones I mean. Those cruel whispers that linger in the background, and raise their volume every time you so much as think about trying something new. Those voices that don’t simply want to see you fail, but also never want you to believe in yourself enough to even try.
2017 is the year that you will make your own voice and thoughts so incredibly clear and powerful, that you will drown out those whispers. You will tell them to back the hell up, and you will make a decision, each day, to believe in yourself.
6. Discard anything that doesn’t bring you joy.
Most of us hold on to far too many possessions that we don’t really like, but can’t bear to throw away. Think carefully about the objects you want surrounding you. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you a real sense of joy. Marie Kondo wrote an insightful book called The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying, which goes into this philosophy in much more detail. Anything that doesn’t bring you happiness, or enhance your life in a positive way, is unnecessary clutter that is taking up precious space.
Before the New Year begins, spend some time having a thorough clear out, and next year, only buy those things that evoke an unexplainable feeling of warmth and light.
7. Set yourself a new challenge each month.
The only way we grow as humans, is by pushing ourselves further and further every day. Take the next year as a wonderful opportunity to challenge yourself. Learn new things, read amazing books, face your fears, dramatically change your look, travel to new places, and put yourself out there. Write down a set of 12 challenges before 2017 arrives, and begin plans to make them happen.
Remember that if you’re not growing, you are only dying.
8. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
This is easier said than done, because most of us have had our hearts broken at some point, and we’re not convinced our chests could cope with another rip. Though some of us have found ourselves broken on the floor more than most, and showed sheer strength and character in picking ourselves up time and again. But no matter what your past looks like, I want you to know that being vulnerable is the only way you’ll find a real kind of love.
Opening yourself up, laying your heart on the line, and inviting someone in to glimpse your soul is what true vulnerability means. Never allow the actions of somebody else make you closed and afraid to trust again. Because you may think that you’re protecting yourself, though in reality, you’re doing damage that will only become visible once it’s too late.
In the coming year, allow yourself to be who you are, and never apologise for that.
9. Only spend time with people who make you better.
It’s true what they say – you are the product of the five people you spend the most time with. But know that doesn’t have to mean people you physically see. It could be inspirational people you follow, and the words of powerful authors that you soak up. Make a vow to yourself to only give your time to people who make you want to be better. For those who don’t inspire you, will only serve to dim your light.
Life is short, and your time here is fleeting. Spend it wisely.
10. Learn to love yourself.
I’m a great believer in taking the time to get to know and love yourself, first and foremost. If this is something you’ve always struggled with, I want you to make 2017 the year that you finally fall deeply and madly in love – with yourself. This is the love that will guide you to your north when you feel lost, the love that will heal any pain that may come your way, the love that will make you feel comfortable and confident from within.
No matter how you feel about yourself as you read this, I promise you that everything you need to love yourself, has always been inside of you. Let this be your turning point. Let today be the moment when you decided to choose yourself.
11. Start chasing your dreams.
As Chris Gardner famously said to his son in The Pursuit Of Happyness:
“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”
Write down your BIG goals for 2017. One to five things you want accomplish in your year ahead. Write down your why – your reasons behind your ambitions. And don’t stop there. Next, start making bitesize and actionable plans to make these happen. Because dreams don’t work unless you do. And nothing worth having will ever be easily attainable.
Make this the year that you start to chase your dreams down; and I mean really chase them. Go after everything they said you couldn’t have. Because they don’t matter, and if you want something, go get it. Period.
12. Find your mantra.
Originating from Buddhism, a mantra is a single word, or string of words repeated to aid concentration when meditating. Regardless of whether your practise this or not, I believe everyone can benefit from having their own personal mantra. A word, or set of words that are symbolic and powerful to you and your journey. Words that you can focus on that will have a spiritual effect on your mind, body & soul.
Decide on your mantra, and let it guide you through 2017.
13. Trust yourself.
Believe me when I tell you, that you know yourself better than you think you do. We all do, yet we journey on through life mostly ignoring what our intuition is screaming at us. And when we finally decide to listen and trust in ourselves, it’s far too late. We’ve missed countless opportunities, doors that were open and waiting for us to walk through, and the life that was waiting for us on the other side of fear.
This year, find time to sit quietly in a peaceful place, and reflect. Listen to what your heart is whispering to you. Trust in your instincts, because they will only ever lead you down the path that destiny wants you to take.
14. Do everything whole-heartedly, or not at all.
How you do one thing, is how you do everything. Pour passion and love into everything that you do, and it will shine through. Because they are the heart’s work, and they cannot be taught, or learned; they simply are.
Choose to give the best of yourself to even the simplest of everyday tasks, because life is mostly made up of these ordinary moments. It is how we choose to see these moments that has the power to make our lives extraordinary.
15. Make yourself proud each day.
You were so incredibly lucky to even be born. Please, understand that, and carry it with you. Yesterday was a beautiful, unexpected gift. Today, is another gift of life from the universe. Tomorrow, if you’re fortunate enough to see it, will be yet another one. Whatever you do, don’t waste it. Don’t sit around. Don’t spend time on things that don’t make your heart sing. Don’t spend time with people who make you sad.
Choose to do something amazing today. Choose to make yourself proud every single day next year. Make it your mission to do something that your future self will be able to look back on, and thank you for.
16. Don’t look back.
What has passed, has gone, and it isn’t coming back. We cannot change what has happened. If you made decisions you regret, forgive yourself, learn from the lessons you were given, and move forwards. If your past doesn’t fill you with a sense of pride and accomplishment, make a promise this year to do better. Because that is all any of us can do. Failing doesn’t mean you’re a failure. As long as you learn, pick yourself back up, and try again.
Never back down, and never give up.
17. Make 2017 your greatest adventure yet.
”Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain.
2017 promises to be a year of great adventure, beauty, and a world full of popping candy-like magic. But only for those who believe in the promise of it. Choose today, to make this your year. The year that you will look back on in time to come, and say, ‘that’s when it all changed.’ That was one of the best years of my life, and I didn’t even know it. That’s when I finally began living. Living as if this is the only life we get, because maybe it is.
Have a beautiful New Year, and I hope with all my heart that somewhere along the way, you get everything you’re wishing for in 2017.