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Using 2016’s lessons to make 2017 amazing

And just like that – it’s a new year again! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas filled with fun, laughter and love and have been able to greet 2017 with positivity and happiness.

I for one am writing this with my tail between my legs – this is the first time I’ve updated the blog in quite some time! No matter how good your intentions are as a blogger when it comes to regularly posting new content – life always manages to get in the way now and then. But here we are, at the start of a new year so what better way to kick it off than with a look forward to what 2017 may bring?

The anticipation of a new start sets you up with such high hopes for what may come, believing that this may really be your year and motivating yourself to do all the things you wished you’d done the year before, and you never want it to start on a bad note – and when it does you can’t help but feel that the tone has been set for the entire year ahead.

It wasn’t too long ago that I wrote a post about how the beginning of 2016 was particularly difficult for me, filled with loss and grief and an uphill climb to finding happiness again. But I did it, and I’m still here so I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learnt and how I can use those lessons in 2017.

Should we make New Year Resolutions?

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with making resolutions at the beginning of the year. In one sense it’s the perfect time to reset and start again, setting goals and promising good intentions seems to be what propels us forward. But slowly, as the weeks and months creep up on us, we fall back into our old, and maybe bad, habits and can be hit with feelings of failure and guilt when just in time comes a new year again when we can promise ourselves that we really will run that marathon or lose that weight this time around.

I just can’t help but feel that our resolutions tend to come out of feelings of guilt, rather than genuine promises to ourselves to be happier and healthier.

So how can we keep our promises to ourselves and use the new year to really get the most out of what lies ahead?

Choose your resolutions wisely

I’m not suggesting that you run a thorough risk assessment for all your goals but take the beginning of the year to sit down and really think about what you’d like to achieve, where you’d like to be in a year’s time and importantly – how you’d like to feel. Being really specific and focusing on how you want to feel will help you to understand what is important to you.

Next, and crucially, plan. I expect a huge number of people fail to achieve their resolutions because they don’t give serious thought to how they are actually going to achieve them. Without an idea of what changes need to be made and potential challenges that may arise – we’re falling at the first hurdle. Understanding what you need to do to achieve your goals will put you in in control – and make you far more likely to succeed.

Things change, and that’s ok.

If there is one lesson I took away from 2016 it’s that things change and you can’t help that. Within a matter of seconds, you could find yourself looking for a new job, grieving a loved one or expecting a new family member. Life will throw curve balls at you, so whilst you have every intention of staying on track sometimes you just can’t. And that’s fine. Don’t beat yourself up, take a deep breath and be gentle on yourself.

Make ‘New Month Resolutions’ instead

Maybe a better approach is to take the year month by month. Starting on the first of each month set yourself a new goal, give yourself a month to achieve it and evaluate your progress or success at the end of the month. You’d be surprised at actually how much you can achieve this way and it allows for the little, or huge, bumps in the road that we might come across. As much as I don’t believe we should live in the past, taking a moment to reflect can help us consider our next move forward.

‘You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.’

Mary Pickford

Whatever you choose to achieve in 2017, and however you decide to go about achieving it remember that really, you don’t need to wait for a new year to make a change. You can decide at any given moment that you want to do something differently and that it is entirely within your power to make that happen.

Whether you’re going to see a friend you miss more often, take up a new hobby, face a fear or simply keep building on what you did in 2016, I wish you every success and importantly – happiness.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017!

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