As cliche as New Year’s resolutions sound, they are an important reminder to stop and take the time to reassess our dreams and life goals. If we are feeling stuck in life, or even uninspired, we have the opportunity to be creative and infuse passion back into our journey. You can create your future one step at a time to live the life you love.
Take advantage of this time of year and make a plan to live life to its fullest. Be intentional with your goals and priorities for this new year.
I created a 10-step guide to help you take charge of your life and create the future you deserve. Use this guide to:
Take a moment to remember back to your original life goals and dreams. Are your goals the same as they were in the past? Are you getting closer to reaching your dreams?
What do you envision for yourself and your life and where do you want to invest your energy? It’s never too late to begin to make changes. Small steps add up quickly so what can you do today to move forward? The important part is to just get started. Don’t worry about perfection or lose sight of your dreams in the process.
Create your Reality
What areas of life do you want to emphasize? What we repeatedly think and do drives our reality. Are you focused on the parts you want to increase or focused on feeling stuck in life? Life is always a balancing act so choose thoughts wisely and reset yourself when you need to.
Life Goals and Actions Steps
Make a list of 3 life goals and under each one write out 5 action steps that will get you closer to what you dream. When you have completed your 5 action steps make a list of 5 more so you can continue to inch forward closer to meeting your goal.
Start working with what you have and where you are at right now. Focusing on the present moment can help balance out worry thoughts and keep you from living in the past or future. Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and push forward.
If you are feeling low on motivation and inspiration you can jump start yourself by doing an act of kindness. Also, enlist the help of others to stay accountable to your goals. Better yet, help them stay accountable to their goals too. You can give each other a needed boost when motivation wanes.
How will you take charge?
We get to start over every day, every moment. Practice taking a deep breath, letting it go, and moving forward to create your future. You are in charge of your happiness. Don’t wait for it to come to you but instead be the driver of your life. We can’t always control the cards life gives us but we can still manage them and thrive. How will you take charge?
Where do you fall on your to-do list?
What habits do you have that hold you back? Is there something you can work to let go of? Life balance is a challenge so take a moment to look at where you are on your to-do list. Do you always come last? Are exercise and self-care scheduled? Is sleep prioritized? Those of us that are givers need to remember we have to refill our cup in order to keep giving. We HAVE to take care of ourselves or we will burn out. What do you do to refill your cup?
Let your true self shine
Stand up for what you believe and your values. Be true to yourself. We all have powerful voices and things that need to be said. Give yourself a right to exist and be heard. This is part of self-love and awareness.
Perfect is often not perfect
And remember, perfection is often an unattainable illusion that impedes forward movement and keeps us feeling stuck in life. Let it go and keep taking steps forward! The drive for perfection remains an impediment to satisfaction and progress.
Celebrate each other
Let’s celebrate each other without using other’s accomplishments as a source of our insecurities. We can acknowledge our success together and be proud of each other while also being proud of ourselves. Life is full of challenges so let’s be each other’s champion. We are stronger together!
Take a positive lead
Positivity breeds positivity and we can be that agent of change. It’s so easy to be kind and it can make a difference in everything we do and in the world around us. Let’s lead each other to a better, happier place.
Reach out. Make a connection. We need each other and good friends brighten life. Find your tribe and have more fun. It’s one of the greatest mental health tips there is. Ask yourself if the people surrounding you motivate you or bring you down? How can you work to strengthen your connections?
Making a difference
Think about what you can do to make a difference? A smile? A kind act? Send a postcard, buy someone a coffee, donate money, give a compliment. Little by little, we can increase kindness and connection in our world. This benefits others and will also make you a happier person. Make a difference in your life, your community, the world. What are 5 things you can do? It can be as simple or complicated as you would like- but make it doable!
It is worth saying again, choose kindness…but also practice saying NO so you have time for self-care. We have to be kind to ourselves too.
The past can’t be changed. It may need to be processed and dealt with but it doesn’t need to determine your entire today and future.
Can you identify a triumph that has come out of something negative in your life? We are the sum of all of our experiences but none of them define us. We can grow stronger as we move thru and heal from what has been difficult. Work on letting go of anger to find more freedom.
Courage, Bravery, Hope
There are so many possibilities in life. Don’t let fear stop you from seeking your dream. Worry thoughts can take over and derail us if we let them. Don’t believe them! Unknowns can create anxiety but they are also exciting and bring new potential and new opportunities. Life is an adventure! Work on bringing yourself back to today and letting go of projections. It is hard to stay in the moment but we miss so much when we live in the future.
My hope for you in 2019 is to continue to take charge of your life, create your future the way you dream, and increase your happiness. Even if circumstances are tough around us we always have choices. Start to identify what you want and make changes to live the life you love. Allow yourself to dream. Be inspired and inspire others. Create. Love. And have fun.
A version of this article first appeared here.
Dr. Melissa Welby is a psychiatrist that participates in people’s process of discovery, empowerment, and search for satisfaction and happiness. She treats a variety of illnesses including depression, anxiety & panic attacks, adult ADHD (Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders), bipolar disorder, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and borderline personality disorder. She is also the current president of the Connecticut Psychiatric Association.She completed her Internship & Residency at Cambridge Hospital, affiliate of Harvard Medical School, 2000 to 2004. Dr. Melissa Welby is Board Certified in General Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2005 to present.