Traditionally, many people from all around the world will come up with various New Years’ Resolutions at the end of one year, with the aim in mind of diving into their new goals and habits on January 01.
While this is all well and good, it’s important to keep in mind that the start of a new year is — in general — always a great opportunity to take stock, to make some changes, and to look for ways to adjust the course of your life, whether or not you began the year perfectly or hit the ground running with a set of carefully planned resolutions.
In fact, there are some real benefits to taking stock over the first few months of the year in order to judge how things are going, and how closely you are managing to stick to your plans, ideas and targets.
Any intentional transformation in your life will naturally tend to involve checking in regularly and adjusting course depending on the situations you find yourself confronted by along the way.
When all is said and done, virtually everyone needs to take steps to refresh and renew their lives at some point or another, in order to better align themselves with their values and goals, to be more active, and to have a richer and more upbeat experience of everyday life.
But what are some practical steps you can take in order to redirect the course you find yourself on, and to get that sense of refreshing and renewing your life, once the new year has already started?
Here are some tips and suggestions to consider.
Fix up and remodel your home
Things like home remodelling don’t necessarily make it onto the lists of “top personal development tips” as much as they probably should, but it’s very important to be mindful of just how powerfully connected your home environment is likely to be to your overall sense of wellbeing.
Services such as Renewal by Andersen Windows & Doors are popular in no small part because of the fact that everyone wants to live in an aesthetic living space — and the way your home looks and feels on an everyday basis can impact your life dramatically, far above and beyond what you might assume.
If you’re very busy at work, for example, and your home turns into a chaotic mess in the meantime, one clear consequence of this is likely to be that you begin feeling more and more overwhelmed as time goes on — because on top of whatever stressful projects you’re juggling on work, you now also come back to a home that subtly reinforces the sense that you’re spiralling out of control, and that things are haphazard and chaotic.
On the other hand, if your home remains well organised and balanced, and aesthetically pleasing, it can serve as a kind of “anchor” and as a place where you can meaningfully experience a sense of rejuvenation.
If you want to make a substantial change in your life as a whole, fixing up and remodelling your home can also be an excellent way of aligning the personal changes you are aiming to make, with changes to your immediate environment and living.
Just as spring cleaning can help you to feel refreshed and renewed, so too can fixing up and remodelling your home at any time of the year help you to change the course you’re on.
Take up a mindfulness practice and be more present
Do you find yourself going through day-to-day life in a blur of constant overthinking?
Maybe you’re always worrying, obsessing over, and imagining different future scenarios in vivid detail. Or maybe you’re constantly ruminating and reflecting on the past, and wishing that you could change the way you did something yesterday. Or maybe you’re always obsessing over how you’re coming across to other people, and worrying about whether they like you or not.
For many people, a combination of all of the above ends up making everyday life a lot more stressful and exhausting than it would otherwise be, while also making it significantly more difficult to maintain a proactive sense of direction each moment.
This situation is, of course, not a new thing in the home condition. Sages and spiritual leaders have spoken, written, and taught for millennia about the necessity of moving the attention more clearly to the present moment, instead of being dominated by the vortex of your own thoughts in this way. Passages making this point can be found in the Bible, in the Tao Te Ching, in various Hindu and Buddhist texts and concepts, in works of Ancient Greek philosophy, and much more.
More recently, the idea of mindfulness, and of being more present in each moment, has been gaining a lot of attention thanks in part to books like “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.
Fundamentally, taking up a mindfulness practice and being more present can help you to reconnect with the magic and beauty of life in each individual moment. It can give you a lot more energy and confidence to be outgoing. And it can help to mitigate and outright dissolve a lot of hangups and sources of stress and anxiety.
Start using a habit tracker and pay more attention to the things you do each day
How aware are you of the habits that you follow each day?
For most of us, the truthful answer to that question will likely be “not very.” Almost by definition, our habits tend to be things that we do more or less on autopilot, without paying too much attention to them — but at the same time, our habits have a tremendous ability to shape and influence the course of our lives both for good and for bad.
If you want to refresh and renew your life at any point, one of the most consistently powerful things that you can do is to take stock of your habits, to come up with new positive habits that you want to adopt, and to then start using a habit tracker.
Today, there are all sorts of highly motivating, engaging, and visually pleasing habit tracker apps out there that can help to remind you to routinely perform certain actions on a day-to-day basis.
While, at first glance, each individual repetition of a given habit may not seem game changing, the cumulative benefits of those small actions over time can add up dramatically and can become very meaningful.
Trying to dive headfirst into a major goal like “running a successful business” or “completing an Ironman Triathlon” can be daunting enough upfront that it can become almost impossible to actually get started — never mind to maintain consistent motivation over time.
By focusing on your everyday habits instead of focusing so much on the ambitious and lofty goals you are aiming to achieve, however, you can take meaningful and effective steps each day that will consistently move you in the direction of the things you want to achieve, without causing you excess stress, and without requiring you to constantly have your eyes fixed on the distant horizon.
Do more stuff instead of just thinking about it
The book “Yes Man” — adapted into a film starring Jim Carrey — is the true story of how one man’s life changed as a result of simply saying “Yes” to every potential experience that came his way for a set period of time.
As a result of the experiment, the author found his future wife, took up new hobbies, collected some outlandish anecdotes, and more.
While this strategy may be going a bit far, one of the surest ways to change the course of your life is to simply “do more stuff” in general, instead of just thinking about it.
We’re all prone to letting our ideas and assumptions about things stand in as substitutes for direct experience. Sometimes, this can be a lifesaver. But in many cases, it just keeps us from growing and experiencing life.