Happy 2013! There’s something about the New Year that causes us to use it as a milestone for starting over. Perhaps it’s the act of replacing our desk or wall calendars or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a new tax and financial period. Whatever the reason, most of us use this opportunity to drop old bad habits and pick up new good ones.
If you’re not sure what to do for your resolution, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Quit drinking/smoking/over-eating.
Yes, these are almost clichÃ© as they are incredibly common. But they are not only on this list but first on this list because this change can actually save your life and help ensure that you’re here next year to celebrate 2014. Without your health, you have nothing. Like the old joke about how much money the billionaire left when he died (all of it), you can always find ways to make money, you can’t always repair your health. So if you’re going down the wrong road health wise, now is a great time to change direction.
2. Finish a project that you’ve struggled to make time for.
This past November I participated in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. I had been kicking around an idea for a novel for over three years and took the opportunity to complete my first draft. One of my goals for 2013 is to complete the novel before I start its sequel this coming November.
3. Repair a damaged relationship.
“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” How can we forget those famous lyrics to Auld Lang Syne which many interpret as a call to let bygones be bygones? If there’s someone (or some people) that you need to mend your relationship with, make it a priority to try it this year. Send them a letter or postcard or give them a call. You might be surprised at how the hostility can die down over time.
4. Begin an exercise routine.
This is along the same lines as the first item in the list and probably tied for most common resolution. Gym regulars often take the first week of the year off because gyms get crowded with new members. Of course, most stop going by February 1st while many stop after the first week. If you choose to do this, it’s helpful to pace yourself and make it part of your routine. Try for 3 days a week and put the time in your calendar – set reminders for yourself. If you can keep it up for two full months, odds are that you’ll keep it up for the year.
5. Go on a diet.
Another twist on the first item. People toss out the junk food and try to eat healthy. It’s much easier said than done. If you’re truly dedicated to lose weight, try for 1 to 2 pounds a week which you can easily do by making small changes such as eating a salad with one meal each day and substituting water for soda.
6. Learn a new skill.
Buy a book, sign up for a course or find an online tutorial. You can choose something to help move your career forward such as something related to your job, or you can do something fun like learning a new language or how to snowboard.
7. Make a career change.
If you’re frustrated or unfulfilled with your job, perhaps it’s time to consider a change. Talk to a career counselor (in the US, each state has a department of employment or similar agency and there’s also the Small Business Administration that offers these services for free). Check with the alumni office of your high school or college to see if they offer these services. Or, do some research by talking to people who have the job or work at the company that you want to work at. If you want to go off on your own and start a business, contact SCORE or the Small Business Association.
8. Focus on a goal.
If you want to buy a house, meet that special someone or get that car you’ve been dreaming of, now’s your chance. Write down your goal and look at it every morning when you get up and each night as you go to bed. Create an action plan. Ask yourself what steps you need to take to reach your goal and break them down into smaller tasks that you can manage.
9. Deal with a fear or phobia.
If a fear or phobia is holding you back, perhaps it’s time to nip it in the bud. A number of people who have used my public speaking and networking programs have done so because their fears of speaking or meeting people have prevented them from moving to the next level in their career. If a fear of flying is preventing you from traveling or a social fear is preventing you from making the connections you desire, then this might be a great opportunity to do something about it.
10. Do something that makes you happy.
Sometimes, we feel so pressured to be productive and work harder that we lose sight of the fact that there is more to life than professional success. In 2012, I cut back on the amount of classes I taught, took a few months off from blogging and social media and didn’t create any new products. While I did work on some other projects that I hadn’t been able to get to, I also used that time to take a few vacations, spend extra time with friends and family and do more of the things I love. I went to the circus for the first time, did a lot of work on my house, got my home and finances in order and even found myself out until 1 AM having the time of my life with good friends a half dozen times. Yes, there are times when I miss having the extra money I could have earned, but I wouldn’t trade it for the memories I made.
So as you start your journey into 2013, think about the type of year you want to have. Now is your chance to make 2013 the best year ever so go for it.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.