But how useful is it to focus on the things we do wrong or that are wrong in our life if we end up ignoring everything we’ve done right or that we enjoy?
So… What’s been great about 2013?
Chase down everything, the big things and the little things. Take your time to list them all because this is what you just need to keep on doing. And that's much easier than doing something new!
What do you want more of in 2014?
I'm fond of this question. It’s inspiring. It’s about abundance not what I should lose, give up or remove from my life - some of which can be fun (like party snacks).
What will make your life more fulfilling, more beautiful, tastier, juicier, sexier, more exciting, calmer or happier? Then pop that into 2014. On a regular basis. Whether it’s time to play, time to think or not think, time to giggle, have sex, hang out with people you love, go for a walk, visit the sea, the woods or the city, have a long, hot bath...
These are the things that are often considered non-essential ‘nice to haves’ – but actually they are about the quality of your life, the pleasure it gives you and the happiness that you let in. Dismiss them at your peril. In these your best memories are made.
Also, the more you fill your time with things, people and places that make your life more, you reduce the time available for the things that make it less. Just a thought.
I think it's also true that the happier you get, the easier life becomes - and the more opportunities arise because people just want to be where you are. Get happy and you attract other happy people to you – and they can be great to hang out with!
What can you do to make change happen?
This can be the challenging part. You know what you want, but how do you get there, on a practical level?
Take baby steps. You don’t have to go from no exercise to hitting the gym four times a week unless that works for you - beyond the end of January. Set your goal and then ask: What can I do today to support myself in achieving this goal? It might be something quite small or it might be a seismic shift. They're your rules.
And it helps to play the long game, too. It takes time to get the brain thinking in a different way. Give it a chance to get used to the new you and forgive it for the times when it resists. Change can be scary. It upsets the status quo, but if you want that light, fluffy, delicious omelette, you need to break some eggs.
So who do you want to be in 2014?
Making changes means taking responsibility for your own life. Quick fixes are peddled to us on a daily basis and the easy route is to look for someone to do the hard work for us or for someone else to blame when we don't - but don’t pop a pill to get rid of recurring indigestion; stop eating the food or drink that disagrees with you. It’s more challenging, but the payoff is long term – and, more importantly, it puts you in control.
Sometimes, you just have to be that person you dream of being. Put the hours in. If you want to meditate every day, do it. If you want more health and vitality, get out in the fresh air and eat more vegetables.
It means taking your life in your own hands, finding that epic soundtrack to your day and being the person you want to be. Because no one else is going to make that happen but you. People like me can help, but you’ve got to take the action.
Dreams are lovely – dreaming is how we break new ground and imagine a life that’s different from where we are now – but unless you’re prepared to give those dreams feet and ground them, they’ll float away into the ether.
I know this thought can be a bit scary – really I do – but that’s why it’s so important to ask the questions above first, because being the person you want to be is essentially about finding the pleasure in your own existence, the best bits of being you, the quality of life that makes each day worth living.
So when it comes to deciding how the next year is going to look, the goal doesn’t have to be about giving things up or taking them away. Instead, make 2014 the year you gain yourself.