It feels good making New Year’s resolutions. It’s exciting thinking about all the things we want to accomplish and setting timelines for getting them done.
However, it’s even more fun imagining how much better life will be once we’ve actually achieved those goals.
But how many times have you written up your list, only to abandon it by the middle of January?
New Year’s resolutions don’t work, simply because they’re about things we think we should be doing. Saving money, getting into shape, finding a better job, organising our home…these are all great goals, but very often there’s no real motivation behind them.
So, come January, ditch the resolutions and follow our three-step life-changing plan instead. It’s not about creating unrealistic goals and struggling the entire year to meet them, it’s about keeping your eye on the destination and understanding that getting there is half the fun.
You can apply these steps to any area of your life – your health, your finances, your career, and even your relationship. For each step, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want, why you want it and how you’re going to achieve it. Being honest with yourself is, after all, key to living life – your best life – to the fullest.
Step 1: Ask yourself: “How do I want to feel?”
What does it mean to live your best life? How will living this life make you feel, and more importantly, why do you want to feel this way? For instance, you might say, “My best life means having a supportive, passionate and loving relationship, thriving in a job that makes use of my talents and skills, and feeling healthy and comfortable in my own skin. Living this life will make me feel happier, more loved, more desirable, more productive, more special, more energetic and more fulfilled”.
Whatever you want to feel, make sure you outline your dreams and goals as the first step. Write these down, as many as you have.
Step 2: Compare your current life to the life you want
Take a good, hard look at everything that’s taking place in your life right now, and identify the things, people, beliefs, habits, circumstances and challenges that are holding you back from living the life you envision.
For example, are communication problems preventing you from enjoying a deeper relationship with your partner? Is the personal belief that you won’t go far in life stopping you from asking for that promotion? Is your emotional health suffering because you are always putting others’ needs before your own? Is your physical health suffering because you work too much and don’t rest enough?
Whatever they are (and however many there are), also write these down.
Step 3: Think about what changes need to be made – and then make them
Now that you’re aware of the kind of life you want and the things that are preventing you from living it, you can start making some changes. When deciding what to change, do also ask why and how you’re going to change it. Be as detailed as possible with your plan, and make sure that the changes are realistic and achievable.
For instance, if you’ve decided that the way you and your partner communicate with each other has got to change for the better, write out all the ways to make this change so that you get lasting results. Does the change involve: Being more open with each other, talking out your differences (instead of arguing), being mindful of each other’s feelings, or perhaps all three?
Think of this final step as creating a “roadmap” for your best life. Of course, as with any plan, remember that the circumstances may change at any time, so you have to be prepared to adapt along the way.
Expert tips to transform your life and THRIVE in 2019
Love yourself, both inside and out
"Treat yourself the same way you treat the people you love the most, and treat every inch of your skin as you would your face.” – Dr Georgia Lee, aesthetic doctor, TLC Lifestyle Practice
Whatever you do, do your best
“Work happiness is about more than doing what you like to do; it’s also about doing the job to the very best of your ability.” – Jasrin Singh, executive coach, Eikaa
Remember that you don’t have to be perfect
“You don’t have to be the perfect mother or daughter. You don’t have to be the first one in the office and the last one to leave. You don’t have to feel guilty about not being there enough for your children. You can be imperfect. You can make mistakes and learn from them. You are doing your best and you’re fine just as you are.” – Dr Lim Boon Leng, psychiatrist, Dr BL Lim Centre For Psychological Wellness
Want a change? Take baby steps
“Studies show that we often underestimate how long it takes to achieve something by as much as 50 per cent. The same applies to setting new goals. In 2019, get real with yourself. Of course, stretch yourself, but do it in a way that makes sense. The key is to take baby steps, but consistently.” – Bonnie Rogers, functional medicine health coach, The Nutrition Clinic
Take care of your mental health
“Doing too much increases your risk of anxiety. If you’re always focused on the negative, find it hard to resolve problems or think of solutions, see yourself unable to complete goals, struggle to make positive decisions or find yourself withdrawing from social situations, you need to find ways to deal with the anxiety before it gets the better of you.” – Daniel Koh, psychologist, Insights Mind Centre
Get to know your body
“When it comes to eating healthier, I like to say, ‘test, don’t guess’. Don’t take supplements or follow a restricted diet without first knowing what your body needs. The right tests can give you a clear and precise roadmap to better health.” – Pooja Vig, functional medicine nutritionist, The Nutrition Clinic