FORBES: Five Effective Ways to Kickstart Your New Year

The new year has only just begun and it has that amazing motivating effect on so many of us. Therefore, the first week of the year is the best time for all sorts of people to leave old habits behind and design a plan not just for the upcoming year but for the long-term future too. Here are five effective ways to do just that:

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1. Define Your Vision and Set Goals

Create a Vision for your life. Ask yourself, what do you truly want across all areas of your life? What do you dream about? What are your values and what are the values you like most about the people around you? What is it that you always wanted to learn, to see, to go to, to have and to become? What holds you back from achieving these goals? Write it all down. It’s also important to analyse your beliefs and individual circumstances (you will quickly realize that it’s mostly fear and the lack of self confidence, that keep you from going after what you really want). That is the basis to create a project plan setting out your personal goals for this year. It’s also important to include ideas on how to re-work the thoughts, fears or circumstances that hold you back from achieving those objectives.
Divide your plan into months and weeks and reflect on it each and every month. You will be surprised how motivating it is to have a vision, a direction and something to look forward to each week.
Give yourself tasks and write those down, ticking them off when you’ve achieved them. I did that in the past years and I was thrilled to see how many of my goals (and more) I actually had secured by being persistent on working on them all week, all month and all year.
What’s extra important is to allow space for unexpected events and surprises that life so often brings up along the way. When you go through your life with a truly open mind, sometimes something even greater than you could have wished for comes along.
If your goals or visions change along the way – re-write them at any time but don’t give up on pursuing them.
2. Write a Journal 
Keep a daily journal. Define three main tasks for each day and then stick to them. But also take a moment to write down every thought, idea, inspiration, goal, wish and dream that comes to your mind. By recording things on screen or on paper you relieve your mind, become better organized, reduce overthinking and drive down stress levels. All that leads to more productivity through keeping a heightened focus on the present situation. View the journal as your personal black box. Whenever you need inspiration or want to remind yourself of an idea, go back to this accessible store of your thoughts. It’s also human to lose track from time to time. However, just by keeping a journal, it will be easier for you to get back to your core values and vision. It’s a powerful reminder of who you are and what you want.
3. Develop Healthy Rituals
No matter what life situations you face, whether you’re an entrepreneur that travels around the globe and is constantly on the go, a mom and housewife, or if you’re an employee with a 9-5 office schedule, YOU are the person who establishes your rituals, routines and ways of thinking. And those in the end, define you. Rituals develop in to our habits and habits are subconciously the „safe places“ of our everyday life and become part of our routine. All of this underlines the importance of striving all the time to align your daily rituals with your vision and ultimate goals.
To live a great life, the key is to live healthily. Well-being is the source of happiness, success and productivity.
Define your own healthy rituals that work best for you by focusing on workout, diet, meditation, mindfulness, self-development, love and vision. Practice those rituals regularly – even if it only for a few minutes and watch them become part of an even better you.
4. Practice Gratitude
Those who are thankful lead by far the happiest lives. About six months ago, I started to write down five things that I am grateful for (and why), every night just before going to bed. It’s miraculous how my mindset has changed since then. To live in a state of gratitude lets you lead your life with fulfillment instead of longing.
Try to see each situation, no matter how tough, through what it has taught you and why you should be thankful for it, instead of why it has happened to you.
Value the things you have now. Remember that those were the things you once wanted. Whenever you have a setback in life, read your gratitude journal all over again; it will remind you of how great your life actually is.
5. Train Your Mind To Have Positive Thoughts and Replace the Negative Ones
When you wake up, imagine the best version your day could become, then get up and do it this way. If you fill your mind with positive thoughts in the morning, you set the right intentions for your whole day.
Another common habit of many of us is to complain about things (it can be the smallest things, we don’t even realize). Try to catch yourself at each negative thought you might create or feel and replace it with a positive one.
Constantly remind yourself to practice these methods for 30 days. That’s the time our brain needs to implement new habits into our subconscious mind. And then continue for another 30 days, just to make sure.
…and watch how your life really starts to change. Happy New Year.
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