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Out with the old. In with the new. The new year presents a fresh opportunity for you to have a look at your life and make some positive changes that benefit your health, mood and overall well-being.

Change benefits both your professional and personal life by increasing your flexibility and exposing you to new people and experiences. By opening doors, you are creating new opportunities to enhance your life and the lives of those around you.

Identifying Areas of Change

Before getting started, it helps to do some simple planning. You want to identify the areas that you need to change. It helps to get out a blank piece of paper and write down some areas that you are unsatisfied with. For example, you may begin your list with something like “I hate being overweight.”

Skip a few lines down and add another item. Later, revisit each section and do some brainstorming to determine what specific steps that you can take to address each of these areas. In the case of being overweight, for example, you could address it by paying for a gym membership. Or you may want to buy a bike. Whatever the case may be, use these headings to fill in the area and create some actionable steps to reach your goals.

Set Measurable Goals

As the year progresses, don’t leave taking action to chance. Set measurable goals. In the earlier overweight example, you could set a weekly or monthly weight loss goal. By identifying concrete steps to reach your goal, when you do so, this will serve as motivation to continue moving toward your goals.

Remove Negativity

How can you really enjoy your life when you are surrounded by negativity? Identify negative activities and people that are hampering your well-being. Seek to distance yourself or remove these negative energy drains. Think of it as addition by subtraction.

Go back to making your list. Identify negative habits. In terms of health, it could be smoking or overeating. You may also find yourself identifying negative mental habits. Your mind is an echo chamber that subconsciously acts upon the messages that you are constantly feeding it. Try thinking more positive thoughts and observe what effect that has upon your life.

Be Kind to Others

It is scientifically proven that kind people become happier over time. Just something as simple as buying coffee for a colleague, or visiting a sick friend or family member, can make an incredible difference to both people involved.

Simplify Your Life

Once you’ve identified your life priorities, you can go about eliminating everything else. By simplifying your life, you are removing potential distractions and focusing on what is most important in your life.

Take Baby Steps

One mistake to avoid when becoming your own cheerleader is to not set huge goals unless you break them down into smaller, baby steps. One reason is that it is very easy to lose motivation when you set a huge, distant goal. Instead, work from an outline of your larger goal to identify smaller steps that can be taken to move you closer to your target. Then, identify and celebrate your daily wins.

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