5 Steps to Getting the Life you Want

The New Year brings new beginnings and blessings—if you open yourself to them. Leave behind the worries and negative beliefs that could trap you in the past and blind you to the good things that lie ahead. This isn’t just part of the “fluffy positive thinking movement.” It’s common sense! You can only see what you look for, and you can only achieve what you attempt. So if you want a better year, start by dropping the thoughts that can make it worse. Here are some life tips to get you started.

Life tip # 1: Celebrate what you already have.

It’s natural to want more money, more success, more happiness—after all, as a poet said, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” But the best way to launch a dream is to remind yourself of the dreams that have already come true. Write down the things that you’re grateful for. You’ll realize how far you’ve already come, and that will help you believe in how much more you can be. (Try our life tips on how to keep a gratitude journal even on your worst days.)

Life tip # 2: Live your own life, not somebody else’s.

It’s futile to keep comparing yourself with others. There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, more powerful, more beautiful than you. And, chances are, even those people that you’re jealous of want something that you have. Nobody “has it all.”

Your life is unique, and our personal challenge is to take our circumstances and create our own definition of success and happiness. For example, you may be envious of a friend’s designer bags and high-end condo, but she works long hours at a high-pressure job to maintain that lifestyle. She enjoys that—you may not. Your version of happiness may be working at a job you love, with flexible hours so you can spend more time with the family. You may have less money but you are wealthy because you have what matters most to you. The secret isn’t to have what another person has, but to get the most out of your own life.

Life tip # 3: Take charge of your feelings.

You can’t control other people’s attitudes, habits, or opinions. However, you can choose how these will affect you—if it affects you at all. Unless you’re three years old, you are not dependent on other people to entertain, comfort and support you. You can walk away from a bad relationship, ignore critical people, or speak up and say what you don’t like. You are never stuck–or if you are, you can get out of any rut.

Life tip # 4: Break through the “buts.”

Plants need to break out of the seed before they can flourish. Step out of your comfort zone, and then actively seek the “rain and sun” to make your dreams bloom. For example, educate yourself. If you’re frustrated that you always get sidestepped for a promotion, sign up for a class that could enhance your skills. If you’ve struggled with credit card debt, call up a financial advisor and create a concrete plan. If you don’t know where to start, try filling this sentence: “I wish I could (DREAM) but…” What is that “but”? Brainstorm on ways to break through that supposed obstacle.

Life tip # 5: Stop being afraid of failure.

You know why people don’t succeed? Because they don’t start—or stop too soon. “I’ can’t do it!” they say, overwhelmed by the thought of failure. But failure is part of success! Michael Jordan once said: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”