Making the Most of the New Year

 There is something about a new year that holds excitement and a renewed interest of doing something good for ourselves.  Why is it?  Is it because of not meeting the previous year's goals?  Or perhaps regretting some bad choices made?  For others, the end of the year can be a stressful time, filled with a hesitation to embrace the new.  That area of uncertainty that awaits can prove daunting.

However you look at it, the new year always puts things into perspective.  We have 365 days to begin a daily task - whether reading the Bible, improving our diets, staying on task at work, or developing our relationships.  There are only 52 weeks in a year, which means any weekend tasks we might have, we only have to accomplish them 52 times.  And since there are 7 days in a week, 5 of those being the typical work-week, there is always room to plan at least 1 or 2 days in the week to commit to certain duties to accomplish all year.  When broken down in this manner, the year doesn't seem as complicated!

A fresh start is something we all crave, no matter how well our lives are going, or how much we deny it.  The month of January itself is a good starting point for anyone's goals.  Don't sweat it, though, if you did not plan ahead and begin any goals for yourself to start on January 1st.  The very fact that you WANT to make any changes in your life is the first step.  Then it's up to you to take a look at your schedule to see where you can implement those tasks, no matter what month or week you start.  Lastly, you must start DOING.  And the best way to do that is by making yourself accountable by tracking your activities in a journal of some sort.

Tips for Sticking to the Plan

#1 Don't overbook yourself.  It is easy to say that because there are only so many hours in a day, days in the week, etc. that you can take on everything hour-by-hour, because your day planner has openings.  All that does is burn you out and make you stressed.  Instead, intentionally leave blanks to your schedule, and find time to unwind on a regular basis, so you don't feel cheated.

#2 Break your tasks and goals down into smaller ones.  Start with basic activities and work your way up.  Mastering skills or tasks should be a gradual thing, or else you'll get frustrated more readily and quit without giving yourself a chance to get used to something new.

#3 Celebrate your successes.  As you achieve milestones, plan for some fun - something that is a special treat for you.  When you reward yourself for something you've been able to do, it makes you empowered to do more and feel better about yourself.

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