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12 Steps to an Awesome Year

The new year has arrived and you probably have started your New Years resolution. With 2014 behind us here is 12 steps you can use to plan a awesome 2105. It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect of a new year ahead, particularly if you plan to take on a new job, start a new relationship or commence a new course of study.  It is not the big events that will define your year; it is the little things: it’s the 30-minute workout you do 3 to 4 times a week, the song you sang in the shower this morning, the chat you had with an old friend that you have not see for a long time. Hundreds of small moments will add up to dozens of small achievements throughout the year.   And those tiny wins will add up to a positive and productive year. bigpreview_Steps-to-be-awesome Here are some steps you can start taking that will let your have an awesome year. Each one affects a different part of your life and each one is important.

 Step 1.  Money

Money is probably the most boring of the steps so I get it out of the way first: Organize your finances.  Take the hassle out of managing your money. Arrange to pay your bills in advance.  Set up regular payments with your utility providers.  $50 dollars a week hurts far less than $600 every three months. Start a savings plan.  Replace one espresso coffee per day with a deposit into your savings account – $5 a day is $25 per work week.  That adds up to $1300 saved over a 52-week work year.

Step 2.  Health and Fitness

Start small.   Just one 20-minute walk a few times each week is all you need. There is no need to take on more than you will be able to maintain.   Avoid over-committing to a routine that you’re bound to break.   But do it consistently over 6 weeks and you will have formed a good habit. Then slowly increase the intensity.   Simply add more exercise as you start to feel fitter.

Step 3.  Professional goals

Professional goals don’t have to be complex.  They just have to be specific and achievable.

  1.  Be specific about what you want to achieve and write down your plan for this year.
  2.  Once you have written your plan, give yourself 12 milestones along the way that you can measure and celebrate when you reach them.  Even if you don’t reach the end-point, you will have achieved a whole lot of small wins along the way.
  3.  Share your plan with someone you trust, who can check in with you on your progress.
goals

You only get ahead if you set your goals to do so. Otherwise you just stay in the same place.

Step 4.  Family time

It is important to spend quality time with your family? You sleep for about 8 hours a day, around the same amount of time that you work. The remaining 8 hours are filled with everything else you do. Rearrange your weekly priorities to give your family the time both you and they need.

Step 5.  Socialize

Friendship is vital when it comes to our mental wellbeing.  Sharing a problem or seeking advice often brings perspective and the sense of belonging that comes from being part of a strong friendship group can boost our confidence and increase our happiness. Make this year the year that you contact a friend you have lost touch with or draw up a monthly plan to socialize and spend time with friend.  You will not regret it.

Step 6.  Have Fun

It is well documented that hobbies and activities outside of your work responsibilities are good for both your physical and mental health.  Few people think of stress, worry or pressure when they speak of their hobby.   In a study of Leisure Participation by Southern Illinois University, it was confirmed that those with hobbies and leisure activities reported greater satisfaction with their lives. Start a new hobby this year and add more balance to your busy life. A hobby I have is the Art of Making Wine.

Step 7.  Sing more

This is not as crazy as it sounds.  It doesn’t even matter if you think you can’t sing a tune.  Everybody can sing.   When you sing your body releases oxytocin, a chemical that naturally offsets depression and feelings of loneliness.   This leads to better sleep and that significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. Singing also forces your posture to be straight which makes you look more confident and provides a very real workout for your lungs, circulation and your core muscles.  In fact, singing when you’re sick opens up your sinuses and respiratory tubes.  Research in the last few years even indicates that singing a little every day can even lead to a longer life. Whether you sing in a group, in the shower, or sing along to the radio in the car (who doesn’t?), singing stirs emotion and should be enjoyed to the full.

Step 8.  Pay it forward

Look for opportunities to help other.  You will meet new people and you’ll be contributing to something bigger than yourself.  Giving to your community can be in the form of volunteering a few hours a month at your local church, community group, op-shop, junior sports club or your local Meals on Wheels.

Step 9.  Make new contacts

The world is full of people who share your interests and the internet has brought us all together.   Make a new contact, whether via social media or face to face. If you’re looking to make new friends in year ahead, try going to more social events at work.   Joining groups around what interest you. Groups like that usually will help you learn more about your new hobby or  maybe your workout routine. Must people want to see you succeed. There are groups related to almost every interest, including technology, comics, crafts, and sport – to name just a few, so you are bound to run into people who share your passion for whatever you love.

Step 10.  Step out of your Comfort Zone

We all carry a bag of fears and phobias.  The year ahead is a chance to address at least some of them.  We’re not suggesting you jump out of a plane or go bungee jumping, but why not take small steps to expand your horizons.   Try something new. Doing things that are out of your routine opens us up to new possibilities, grows your perspective on life and can lead to a whole new list of favorite places, things and people.

Step 11.  Get organized

If you are starting to think of how to organize your home and workspaces, you are easing yourself back into performance-thinking that’s required for a focused and successful work or study year. Whilst de-cluttering your space can be a traumatic experience for those attached to their possessions, a far easier process can be a simple bout of cleaning and organizing. Set aside a day without distractions to do it.   An organized home and workspace contributes to increased efficiency and a pride in the space you inhabit.

Step 12.  Take time off

Plan a vacation. Many people may think this is impossible but a period of recreation is vital to our well being and success.   Many who work in jobs or own there own business tend to save up their vacation time or just do not take time off form there business. Even if you can not take all your leave at one time, commit to taking two different time six months apart.  Your mind and body will thank you, and perhaps you can use the time to achieve some of the other items on this list. Follow these 12 steps with determination this year and you will be guaranteed an awesome 2015. Thanks Eric Jaspers If you have something you are passionate about and think you would enjoy blogging, check it out here. It is simple to use and you will enjoy talking about your passions. Find out how you can also make money blogging by Clicking here.

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