By Jen Smith Career 7 ways to make January the best month of the year 4 Jan 2016 January generally gets off to a good start. We have all the best intentions for the new year. We’ve made our new years resolutions and are on the path to forming new habits. But 77% of us never see our resolutions materialise, slipping off the wagon before it’s even out the stable. Frankly, I think it’s because we’ve got this whole New Years resolution thing confused. We expect January to be the start of everything and don’t see ourselves completing or achieving success till later in the year. We don’t get that short term satisfaction that keeps us motivated and striving towards our dreams and desires. At best we forget about the resolutions and carry on with life as it is. At worst we give up and beat ourselves up for being lazy or incapable of change and resign ourselves to another year of unmet plans and hopes. So here’s a call to all of you who want to try another way this coming year. Join me and discover 7 ways to make January the best month of the year (instead of the month we fail to get off the starting line!) Set intentions not resolutions Resolution: noun – firm determination to do something Intention: noun-a thing intended; an aim or plan When we resolve to do something, we’re not flexible to change. If we don’t get there in the way we determined to, it’s easy to say “I’ve failed” and lose resolve. With an intention, we’re aiming towards something with a bigger vision or picture and are less attached to the how. This January I’m setting intentions not resolutions. I intend to have the best year of my life yet. I intend to feel more free, financially secure and happy within myself. I intend to explore the world more. For me, that’s so much more achievable than planning the specifics – go to Bali by June, pay off my credit card by December, go swimming twice a week. What are your intentions? Pick one thing to begin with Another trap we fall into is making a huge list of all the things we want to change. It’s overwhelming and hard to change everything at once. And I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel like a failure before I’ve even begun. So, choose one thing to focus on. It can encompass lots of things for sure, but keep it simple. What one thing are you going to go for this year? Give yourself seven days If you do have a specific habit you want to change, try and do it for seven days to begin with. No more… Of course you can carry on after the seven days, maybe for another week, and then another week… but the pressure is off having to do it long term. I’ve found its a smaller commitment to yourself that’s easier to achieve. Quicker gratification means you’re much more likely to keep going. For instance, I’m going to drink two litres of water a day for seven days this month. What one thing could you do for seven days this January? Do that thing you’ve been putting off Things that we want to do (or know we need to) often get put off. I know myself that it’s often easier to put them aside than face them. Well that is, until it’s no longer easier; the guilt creeps in and it feels like the moment has passed. “What you resist, persists” Clear the air this January. Go and do that thing you know you’ve been avoiding. Get it out in the open, say what you need to say, do what you know you need to do… trust me it’ll free you up for the rest of the year and a weight will be lifted. What are you going to face that you’ve been putting off? Make time to be with family and friends Why is it we only really make a big effort to connect with our loved ones in December? It’s like we get a taste for being together and then January rolls in and it’s forgotten. Even if the temptation to hibernate is strong this month, arrange a phone call or a coffee with someone you don’t see or talk to enough. I know if I make a more concerted effort to see my friends and family in January, I’ll create great memories to carry me through the year and feel more connected in general. Who will you spend time with this January? Travel It’s cold this time of year in the UK. The weather is generally pretty damp and grey and dreams of escaping to the sun are on my mind. What if we didn’t have to wait till the spring to see the world? Travel doesn’t have to mean a beach holiday in Spain or road trip through America. It could be exploring your local town or city. Finding a new place to walk and adventure through. Discover hidden treasures on your doorstep. I’m making room for an adventure this January – one that’s close to home. I’m going to treat it like a trip abroad and see where I live through tourists eyes. Where can you explore this month? Do what you want to do? To make January, and any month in fact, the best ever – it boils down to just one piece of advice. Do what you want to do Not what you think you should do. Not what everyone’s telling you to do. What, if you stop and really listen to what’s in your heart and soul, you wish you could do. It’s in your heart for a reason, and if you were to just let yourself dare to try this January, you could change the course of your whole year. What is it you really want to do? ——— I’d love to hear your answers to the questions I’ve asked throughout this post. Declare them in the comments below. 1. What are your intentions? 2. What one thing are you going to go for this year? 3. What one thing could you do for 7 days this January? 4. What are you going to face that you’ve been putting off? 5. Who will you spend time with this January? 6. Where can you explore this month? 7. What is it you really want to do? Here’s to your most amazing January, and year. Jen Smith coaches entrepreneurs in social media.