January is my favorite time of the year. Good intentions flood my spirit, I crank out glittery vision boards that drip with enthusiasm, and I’m ready to solve everyone’s problems. But then…halfway through the second week of January, the reality of daily life sets in and my formerly focused goals have turned into miniature daydreams. But when the third week of January comes around, I make sure to rev myself up again. There are twelve glorious months ahead and I refuse to sit back and see what unfolds. I’d rather be an active participant in my destiny. Here are twelve ways to keep stay motivated and inspired:
1. Recognize your accomplishments from last year. Rather than say: I’m so glad that year is over, it sucked!—make a tally of all the milestones (big and small) you conquered. Create a word collage with them and display them so you won’t forget them.
2. Tie up loose ends. Look at your goal lists from years past and see what you can complete now. Pick the easy ones. It’s never too late to learn a new skill or make amends with someone.
3. Write love letters. Make a list of all the things you appreciate and admire about that person. Save the delivery for when your loved ones need them most. It will serve as a reminder of the bottom line: Unconditional love!
4. Come up with a 12-month challenge and document it. These are activities you’ve always wanted to do. Schedule them on your calendar, follow through. Experience LIVING. Taste weird foods, dance some new steps, take risks, allow yourself to experience that feeling of “Oh my gosh, I’m really going to do this!” And then journal each experience, write a little first-person essay about it or just blog it or Facebook it. Make your mark!
5. Reinvent your space. This is a given, but it sure works wonders. Find a spot in your home and clear it out completely. Wipe down the keyboard, dust, cover your lamp with new fabric and trim. Paint the floor, hang up dreamy artwork that inspires you, add color, books, a little art or writing station and indulge yourself in creativity. You don’t need a big house to do this. I once set this up in a tiny walk-in closet, and I loved it!
6. Snap pictures of the little things that make you happy. This exercise will force you to look beyond the usual. Pay attention to your surroundings. Engage with new people. Seek beauty. Start visually documenting your life! Use some of the fun apps out there like Hipstamatic or Instagram and snap pictures of all the things in daily life that make you smile. Whenever you have a bum day, you can look back at those things and relax a bit.
7. Get involved in your local community. Go see a local band, volunteer at an event, join a book group, visit a street festival, take a class, there are plenty of ways to get involved.
8. Visualize what you want. You can’t lead a positive life with a negative mind—so right now… start a play or a movie in your mind of the story you want for your life, happy ending and all. Imagine yourself smiling, feeling loved, giving love, being healthy, traveling, laughing, all of it. Dreaming is FREE, so take advantage of that.
9. Look for new ways to make money. This doesn’t mean to work yourself to death, but brainstorm ideas of how to bring in extra income to ease up your bills. Look for creative ways to make money without spending a penny. Teach a class, start a blog and host ads, turn your hobby into a side business, have a sale on eBay or craigslist.
10. Let go of the things or people that make you sad. Put them in perspective, consider the source, don’t give your energy, will, or power to those things any longer. When my daughter was mending her broken heart over “the break-up” with a boy, I told her to think of her favorite things.
I told her that every time “he” popped in her mind, she was to imagine flicking him away to make room for one of those favorite things. I hope these help get you excited for 2012. Life goes by fast, make your mark and savor the days!