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How to Make Positive Changes in the New Year (without feeling like a failure)

Every year during the holiday season, we get a serious urge to start working on our New Year’s resolutions. Everyone is deciding what it is they would like to change in the upcoming year in order to better themselves and that involves making new changes. For some this breeds anxiety and sometimes even sets them up for failure when thinking that their resolutions must match those of others. Be careful not to fall into that trap. Make a resolution that speaks to you! Only you know where you’re at in your life, the things you struggle with, and the things you could work on. What means a lot to you may not mean a lot to others. What will be a massive change for you, may be a minor change for others and vice versa.

The key in making changes that will be encouraging and not discouraging is a lot easier than you may think. The first step is to find a small block of time that you can reflect. Use this time to write down the areas in your life that make you happy and bring you joy. Also, use this time to write down the areas of your life that you feel are lacking. Are these areas that you can adjust? Are these areas that may take a team effort? The main goal is to address the things that you can take on without the help of others, then maybe you can take on ones that require a little more involvement. Don’t try to make some massive life change immediately, but prioritize the most important changes that need to be made and start from there. They may be interconnected, so start with the changes that need to come first, then you can move on to the others.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Once you have decided on what changes you would like to make in your life, break them down into smaller “bites”. If you take on a daunting task, expecting to tackle it all at once, you are setting yourself up for failure as there are very few people that can switch our minds and bodies over that quickly to make a lasting change. Write down steps that need to be taken to accomplish your goal and go from there. Create a timeline that is achievable for you to implement these changes. It may help to give yourself time when making changes to adjust before you move on to the next change. It may help to set guidelines in order to keep yourself on track. Just remember not to get discouraged if you are struggling with changes. Take a moment to ask yourself why you are struggling with that change. Does it create negative feelings you were unaware of? What steps can you take to work through these negative feelings? Once you have solved the issue, adjust your time line and stay on track.

The most important thing to remember is to give yourself grace when things don’t go as planned. You have made goals in order to go in a positive direction, that is the hardest step to take! Some may never take that step. If you aren’t achieving the changes you planned in the time frame you expected that’s okay. Continue to pursue those changes. We are all a CONSTANT work in progress. To be successful in life no matter the title (stay at home parent, corporate manager, retail worker, etc.), you must always be striving to improve. People aren’t just born with greatness, they strive to gain it, and what greatness means to one person may be completely different to you. That’s the beauty of it all.

Maintain an open conversation with yourself and regardless of the outcome you will make progress.

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