T he arrival of a new year never fails to fill me with an excited anticipation. While I’m a big believer that every day, or truly every moment, is an opportunity to start fresh, there’s something mystical about going through the threshold as Leap Into The New Yearone year becomes the next.  We have the opportunity to choose to see it as magical, at least. Some years we savor, some years we sweat, some years are a mixture of both, but all offer the opportunity to be a different person come the next year’s end.

To say that the past year has been incredibly challenging out in the world is probably an understatement. Dear friends have lost loved ones and the political climate has been more volatile than any year in my memory. Even for those with the most fabulous lives, the past year has presented folks with almost too many opportunities for “personal growth”.

Even when you achieve wonderful goals, that personal growth factor doesn’t come without discomfort or outright pain.

I love savoring the peace of the holidays and the sweetness of winding down the year, but I’m also ready to leap into the New Year.

There is no such thing as a magic pill or miracle cure. I know that there is nothing more magical about January 1st and a New Year to change life. However, I do know that the sheer power of deciding that This New Year Will Be Better has power.

Here are some ways I’m going to choose harness the magic of a new year.

Rhythms & Routines

The first task at hand is to settle back into a normal rhythm of life. Some of you may welcome the return to routines.  Some of you may be giddy with the excitement of bringing your New Year’s focus.  Some of you may be flat out struggling with getting back into the swing of things.  And some of you are already berating yourself for losing your focus and resolve.

Don’t underestimate how supportive nourishing routines can be.  While they may seem restrictive, routines are actually about freedom.  Routines help you manage your energy effectively so that you can channel it towards your real desires and purpose.  Routines fuel your day and nourish your spirit.

Choose a Word of the Year

I’ve followed the practice of choosing between one and three words as my guiding light for the coming year for twelve years now. It literally changed my life.

This practice works because it helps you make your actions and thoughts congruent with your deepest desires.If you haven’t chosen a word for the new year yet, snag my handy guide to help.

Commit to Tidying Up Loose Ends

There’s nothing as distracting for the future as undone tasks in the past.  Take a good look around your house, dive into your calendar, and examine your list of goals from this past year. Do you see any projects, large or small, that aren’t complete yet? Perhaps you put something off because you got distracted or something happened to shift your priorities.

Reexamine your loose ends and commit to tying up some of them before January becomes February. For tasks that are impossible to complete within the next month, decide if you’re going to delete them entirely or put them on your list to complete later in the year. Be sure and write it down.

When you complete undone tasks that are easy, you feel a sense of accomplishment and get some momentum for the coming months ahead. And by setting deadlines for other tasks and writing it down, you will uncover the magical power of less worry.

Delete Something

Let me tell you darling, the more “to dos” you try to squeeze into your day the less you actually get done.   As we move into a new year, eliminate just one thing from your to do list that you don’t delight in. Give yourself plenty of white space so that you can breathe.

Declutter Your Spaces

Everything your world has energy, and this includes your physical space. Clear that pile of magazines off the coffee table, remove all the clothes in your closet that you don’t love, and get rid of all the knick knacks that are gathering dust.   If you don’t love it, chunk it.

One of my favorite magic tricks is to choose one room and completely declutter it and clean it from top to bottom. The visual component of less stuff to look at, take care of, or deal with holds incredible power over our state of mind and thus our stress levels. There’s nothing like fresh spaces as a way to embrace the New Year.

Examine What Habits Serve You (And Vice Versa)

Your every day actions are creating your life, so which habits are serving you?

I’m not going to tell you to fix every bad habit, but do examine what habits are helping you love your life and which ones are not. After an honest assessment, commit to continuing a habit that serves you well and carrying it into the new year. And vow that in the new year, you will break at least one bad habit that’s dragging you down.

Do Set Some Goals

Though I’m not a fan of resolutions, I am a big fan of setting goals. Leap into the new year with at least three goals for your life. Size doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are deciding that you deserve to achieve your dreams.

Write down your goals. Break them down into steps. Commit that you will usher your desires into this new year before you.

Make One Small Step Towards One Big Goal

No matter how large or small your goals might be, you’ll never achieve them without taking action. Usually, the first step towards even  the biggest dreams and goals are minute. Commit to taking action within the next week! Keep Isaac Newton’s words in the back of your mind as you start your engine, and no matter how gradual you roll forward always remember, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest, an object in motion tends to stay in motion.” 

Brainstorm a Want List

Beyond goals, I like to brainstorm a list of things I want in the new year. Some are physical things, like a new wallet or a new seat for my bicycle. Some of skills I’d like to learn, like knitting. Sometimes, it’s a list of books I want to read or new knowledge I want to take in. Some are experiences, like a trip!

Don’t worry about how selfish or materialistic any of your wants may be. Make a big list of them and pick at least one of them to indulge in before the end of January!

Consider Committing to a Monthly Act of Self-Care

One of the big ahas I had this last year was that I could do a better job of taking care of myself. So, I have committed to at least one extreme act of self-care per month in the new year. Some of the items on my list are of the fun and relaxing nature. Others are more along the lines of areas of my life (or body) I’ve been neglecting.

I began this back in November and have a list of commitments through April right now. I’ll be working on my list in the coming weeks.

Plan Some Time Off

We are entirely too connected these days. Go to your calendar right now and plan for some time off. Choose a day a week to unplug or a day a month to blow a vacation day just to chill out at home. Go ahead and plan a vacation (or staycation).

If you have it scheduled on your calendar, it’s more likely to happen.

Harness the Power of Decision

When you decide to make something happen, it’s more likely to happen. When you choose to decide to change your mindset or a habit, you’re on your way to change. Remember that not deciding is, in itself, a decision.

As for me, I’ve decided that the New Year is going to be better than the last. There’s a magic afoot in simply deciding.

Never forget that choosing to see a new year as a way to begin fresh can hold power if you choose to see it that way. These are just a few of my tricks and tips into moving forward into a life I love even more. What about you? What ways can you leap into the new year as you leave the past behind?

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By Debra Smouse: Writer, life coach, and Tarnished Southern Belle, Debra helps people fall in love with their life. An expert de-tangler, she believes in busting clutter as a path to greater clarity and that within every woman is vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. A native Texan, she resides in Ohio with the Man of her Dreams.

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