It’s the end of another year. Where has time gone? You probably ask yourself that question at the end of every year. But, the answer is always the same.
Time alludes you. You don’t get done what you want and you seem to get further behind. Your kids get older and your friendships drift away.
It stinks getting old. Why can’t time stand still?
Can you start the year and continue making this coming year better than last? Can you make it better than the last several combined?
Yes you can!
Here are 19 tips to start the year off right, accomplish more throughout the year and enjoy the journey.
1. Create your 2014 bucket list – You must decide what you want to do before you can figure out how to do it. Create a list of the things you want to accomplish in the upcoming year. They can be big or small. They can be cheap or expensive. Don’t think how you’re going to do them. Just write them down.
2. Create action plans – Now is the time you take those bucket list items and figure out how you can accomplish them this year. Maybe you have to push something off for several years but you start working toward it today. If you don’t create a plan, it won’t get done but you can at least start the year working to accomplish your goals.
3. Forget about last year – Last year is over. You can’t change anything that happened by doing anything today. Forget about it and focus on the future.
4. Take small steps – You may have goals (hopefully they are in your bucket list) to accomplish this year like losing 20 pounds, getting a promotion or getting out of debt. Whatever it is, small steps are the way to go. The reason most New Year’s resolutions fail within one month is because people take too drastic of action. Can you take small steps that will help you reach your goal. Start the year by taking a multivitamin every day, get to work 15 minutes early every day or apply an extra $10 to your loan payment each month.
5. Show appreciation more often – Nothing makes you feel better than doing something nice for someone. The easiest way to do that is to show appreciation. Tell your husband how much you appreciate his efforts to work for the family. Tell your co-worker how much you appreciate his friendship. Do this each day and each day will be a success.
6. Volunteer – Another way to do something nice is to volunteer for something. It doesn’t have to be for a major charitable cause either. Volunteer to host some friends for dinner. Volunteer to babysit for friends so they can have a date night. Offer to work a weekend so someone else doesn’t have to. Whatever it is, volunteer to do something nice. Start the year with this thought but continue it throughout the year.
7. Say thank you more often – How often do you say thank you to your office administrative staff, the janitor or the garage staff? Saying thank you should be common place but it’s not. Instead, we take others for granted and think, “That’s their job.” So what if it is. Tell them thank you for what they do.
8. Stop complaining – The more you focus on negative things, the worse your days will be. Vow to stop complaining. Period.
9. Try something new – We are creatures of habit and don’t like to get out of our comfort zones. When is the last time you tried a new type of cuisine? How long has it been since you wore a different color shirt? Try something new and you may just find that you like it.
10. Reduce TV time – You always say you don’t have enough time but yet you watch two hours of tv each night. Vow to not watch anything unless it’s recorded (so you can skip commercials) and limit the shows you watch. You’ll find you have more time to do what you keep saying you need to do.
11. Determine your why – Do you know why you are here? What is your purpose in life? Once you know your “why” you will take more joy in what you do and will do it better.
12. Be a superhero – You don’t have super powers but that does not mean you can’t be a superhero. Someone in the world is looking for you to make her world better. If you’re a parent, be your child’s superhero. If you’re single, find a child and make that child laugh.
13. Create quality time – You work a lot to support yourself and your family. You can’t attend every event your child has at school. You can’t even be home every night for dinner. But, do you take advantage of the time you have with your children? Don’t let them watch tv when you are home. Interact. Be there. Make your time quality time. Even though short, 20 minutes of playing with your children will have more of an impact of being home all day but not doing anything with them.
14. Read a good book – Escape the realities of life every now and then by reading a good book. Fiction can be great but so can reading a biography. Sit back and read. Relax. You deserve it.
15. Take a vacation – You need to truly escape reality and take a vacation each year. My family took our first family vacation this past year. It was too long overdue. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Vacations don’t have to be expensive or long. However, remove yourself from your work. You’ll be thankful you did.
16. Go digital-free – You ALWAYS have your phone with you. It’s as if it’s attached to your hand. People talk about teenagers and how they don’t know how to communicate except through text. I’m starting to believe adults are just as bad. Put your phone down and slowly walk away. I promise you’ll survive without it.
17. Call instead of email – I’m one of those people who would rather communicate via email instead of talk on the phone. Are you that way? If so, we (I’m definitely including myself in this one) need to change. So much can be lost in translation via email. Email becomes so impersonal. Start the year by calling instead of emailing.
18. Don’t put it off – The old saying, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” makes so much sense. What happens if your sick or something else happens? You’re going to think about that task all night anyway. Just do it today and forget about it.
19. Realize you are not perfect – I had a discussion with my wife the other day about her not having to be a super mom. While she is a superhero to our girls, she does not need to be the Super Mom. She is an excellent mother and I couldn’t ask for a better mother for my children. But she doesn’t have to do everything. Neither do you. You don’t have to say yes to everything you’re asked to do. You don’t always have to have a perfectly clean house. You will mess up. You will make mistakes. You are not perfect. We should strive for perfection but when you fail, shrug it off and keep on going.
This is the tip of the proverbial iceberg regarding things to do to start the year off right. What other tips do you have to start the year with a bang? What will you be doing differently this coming year? Please share in the comments below.