There are many things in life that we can’t control, not if our lives depended on it. On the flip side, there are things that are totally under our control. That’s not to say these things are easy, or that changes are simple to make. However, if you want it badly enough, you can make those changes for the better.
As we face a new year, why not decide to make changes that will make the next 12 months a positively exhilarating ride? Here are 12 changes to make for yourself in the next year – one for each month, if you wish.
Changes to make for yourself
- Talk to yourself nicely. Negative self-talk is quite common. Whether you have the blues, are seriously depressed, or a perfectionist who can’t tolerate failing, you might have the tendency to talk to yourself harshly. Stop. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend whom you’re comforting. Use positive words. Instead of saying, “You’re such a loser” or “You’re so weak”, say “You’ll do better next time” or “You’ll be stronger because of this”.
- Be honest with yourself. One of the easiest things for humans is to fall for lies they tell themselves. This year, make it a point to confront yourself when you find yourself slipping into that pattern. Be honest with yourself – about how you feel, external circumstances, and what you want to do. Don’t make your life go in the wrong direction because of delusions.
- Be independent. Have you solely been relying on someone else financially or emotionally? It’s time to stand on your own feet and be your own person. It doesn’t mean you’ll cut ties, but being self-sufficient will empower you. Even if you don’t manage this overnight, the process will teach you a lot.
- Make yourself as your priority. Some people are naturally caring, always thinking of the good of others – to their detriment. Go back to change #2. Be honest with yourself. Have you been putting your needs aside all the time to take care of others? It’s time to prioritize yourself.
- Accept the mistakes you’ve made in the past, and find out what you can learn from them. We all make mistakes, often over and over again. We will always make mistakes. We will always fall; but as Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Accept that you will fail. Figure out what you can learn from each failure. Get up.
- Be an optimist. Just as easy it is to talk to one’s self negatively, it’s easy to see the bad – or worst – in every situation. This year, change your mindset, and always look for the positive in things. Even if it’s the slimmest chance.
- Be grateful for what you have. Someone once told me that “what you take for granted, someone else is praying for“. That hit me like a bucket of ice water poured over my head. No matter how little you think you have, there is always something to be grateful for.
- Be more tolerant. Being judgemental is easy. Being truly tolerant of other people – their beliefs, their behavior, their quirks – is a different story. Put yourself in the shoes of people whom you have contact with, though. That should give you a different perspective.
- Create the you that you want. There’s something to be said about “finding yourself”, but I’d rather hold to the belief that you create the person you want to be. It’s a journey, and if you haven’t started consciously, start this year. If you want to be a more sociable person, start by going to small parties where you know someone but are bound to interact with strangers as well. If you want to be a better read person, then pick up a new book, read it, and then pick up a new one when you finish.
- Take a trip. As Saint Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Travel. Turn those pages. Even if it’s only short trips, or infrequent ones, you’ll still be expanding your horizons in more ways than one.
- Revive dormant relationships that were important to you. Communication is the least of our problems these days – at least in terms of technology. There’s no excuse to not reconnect with old friends and family. Additionally, spend more time with those who matter to you and who love you. They’re the ones who will always have your back, rejoice with you, and cry with you. Don’t wait till it’s too late, because you will regret it (even if you think you won’t).
- Make that decision you’ve been putting off for years. We all have that one decision (or two) that we’ve been putting off for years. Make that decision now – especially if it means changing your life for the better.
Whether the past year has been good to you or not, making these changes for yourself in the next year will have a positive impact in your life. Who’s up to the challenge?