2016 is here – yay! We made it – whoot whoot *dancing*. Thank God!

With a new year comes new challenges and opportunities. If you’re like me, the end of December is a great time to reassess, reset and come at life with fresh energy and renewed motivation on January 1.

Like all opportunities, however, it needs to be seized, and with all the comings and goings of the holidays, and the mad scramble to get back to work, life and normality, on January 2, our good intentions can get lost in the shuffle.

The good news is that getting on the right path, even though we couldn’t before the clock hits 12, is never too late. And it takes nothing more than a pen, paper and 30 minutes of quiet time.

Ready? Here are 9 simple things to consider as you embark on this new cycle of time. Let’s begin.

  1. Be Grateful

I’m grateful for so many things – for life, staying healthy, my supportive friends and family, loving husband and daughters *blush* …. What are you grateful for in 2015? Health, family, Friends? Whatever it is, write it down and bathe in your gratitude for a moment.

  1. Give Yourself Some Credit

Stay positive and give yourself a big pat on the back! What are you proud of this year? Did you get a promotion, run a marathon, spend more time with family or sort out your finances? Make a list of all the things you made happen in 2015. Chances are, you’ve done a lot more than you think. Remember, no victory is a small victory.

  1. Make Peace with Your Past

“If there is no solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it.” — Dalai Lama XIV

It’s likely that there are things that happened in 2015 that you’d rather undo, forget about or move on from. So, let’s do that – MOVE!!! If you can fix a problem or remedy a situation, make a plan and get started. If you can’t, what can you learn from it? Chalk it up to experience and start moving on. Make peace with your past, clear the deck, throw away old baggage and make room for what’s coming.

  1. Get Motivated

So you’ve taken stock of 2015 and put it neatly and happily to one side. What now? The best way to work out what you want to do about 2016 is to visualize where you want to be with your life by the end of the year. Start scribbling ideas down… debt-free, promoted, have x amount of naira in savings, bought my first home, took a trip to Europe etc.

Make a list of motivating factors and look at it once a month. I keep mine on my phone and helps me stay focused on goals I have lined up. Ask yourself what drives you forward, the reasons you get up in the morning. Consistently remind yourself of them and use them to make the things you want to happen, happen. Making this list will help when it comes to setting your goals, and will also be great to look at again in December, showing you what you’ve achieved and what still needs work.

  1. Put It Out There

What do you want? Whatever it is related to – career, relationships, family, and finances – make a list and put it out there to the universe. Knowing what you want is critical to your success. Don’t think of this as a definitive list of goals that you must make happen this year. View it as a guide and let it evolve and be comfortable with only checking a few things off. You may find that at the end of year, your priorities have shifted anyway.

  1. Fail To Plan, Plan to Fail

Whatever you’re looking to accomplish this year, it’s important to formulate a plan. Once you have a goal in mind, sit down and figure out how to make it a reality. Ask yourself questions like: Where can I get help? How long will this take? What are the costs? Who do I know that can assist me? What’s my first step? Break things down into small, easily-achievable tasks and allocate completion dates if applicable.

  1. Accountability and Support

It’s not difficult for your good intentions to go out the window once the reality of January kicks in, but there are ways of preventing this. Put a note in your calendar to look at your goals and motivators at the start of each month, pin them to a board of some sort (or stick them on the refrigerator if you may – *lol*). Reviewing them will help you stay the course.

Share your goals with someone you trust, and have them check in with you occasionally to see what progress you’re making. You may even find that they have similar goals you can work on accomplishing together.

  1. Reward Yourself

Setting career or fitness goals is great. So is saving money or finishing up projects around the home. But when setting goals and making plans, be sure to set aside time to indulge yourself and earn a reward or two along the way.

Lost 10 pounds? Get a massage or some new clothes. Exceeded your monthly savings goal? Take your spouse or best friend out to dinner. It’s okay to indulge a little if you’ve earned it.

Make time for your passions or for something new. Always wanted to go for dance classes? Book some lessons. Tired of your dumbbells sitting unused? Dust them off and get back to working out. It’s a short year – enjoy it.

  1. Give Something Back

If you’re going to dedicate time and effort to improving your own life, why not set aside a little time to help someone else. Volunteer work, helping out in church or mosque, getting involved in your community somehow, even just donating to a charity you care about. In helping others, you help yourself.

I wish you a healthy, happy new year! May it be your best yet.

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