‘New Year, new me,’ is a commonly chanted mantra at the beginning of every year. But all too often, nothing actually changes and we end up staying in the same rut, being bored or frustrated with the same issues, and seldom actually managing to change our lives for the better.
Of course, there are always going to be obstacles to changing one’s life too dramatically: children need looking after, partners and spouses should be consulted – or at least informed, if any drastic alterations will affect their lives too – and the need to keep on paying bills (food, rent or mortgage, utilities and taxes are always with us) keep us tethered in place. But this is not to say that you have to simply put up with being unhappy, there is almost always a solution to any problem: all you need is the knowledge, time and determination to find that solution and put it into practise.
Make a change
If you are conscious of being unhappy or dissatisfied with some aspects of your life, you can improve your lot, and you can do it without throwing up everything and running away to a mountain top or a desert island. First of
Once you have a comprehensive list, think up solutions to these issues. If in doubt, Google the problem. It is almost certain that someone else has raised the problem in a comment thread somewhere and received helpful hints on how to solve them from people who have already dealt with such matters. Dealing with teenagers might be as simple as allowing them to talk to you, rather than trying to chivvy them all the time; work issues might be sorted with advice to speak to your boss about the issues you are having, or finding a new job, and growing debts can be sorted by finding a way to raise a little extra money on the side.
Of course, make sure that you check out the legality of any suggested solutions, seemingly innocuous ‘work for yourself’ offers along the lines of ‘delivering packages’, especially to foreign places could be a cover for drug or other contraband smuggling. And no matter how bad your problems feel right now, a court case and a potential conviction is sure to make things much worse!
Bear in mind when making large life changes that it will take time to fully
On your ‘to do’ list, make sure that you intersperse little challenges alongside the larger ones. For example, if part of a career change means that you have to go back to university, a degree is going to take several years – so you will not be ticking that one off in a hurry. Lay out a timeline of the length of time you have until you could feasibly be ready for your new life, and set targets within those. For example, you could plan to pay off one credit card within a year, work towards losing five pounds in six months, or towards toning up and getting fitter within three months. Breaking your long-term ambitions down into a series of achievable goals will help you to succeed. The more little checkmarks that you have on your list – which should be kept and pinned up somewhere that you can see it – the more content you will feel that you are making the desired changes.
And Then What?
Once you have achieved everything you wanted to – or even simply got close enough to call it a win (a loss of four pounds might be enough to make you look and feel fabulous – write off that last pound and buy that gorgeous dress!) – make sure that you follow through on those long-term goals. Of course, you may have changed your mind along the way, and that is absolutely fine too – do not go ahead and leave your job if you now love it, having originally been going through a bad patch when you planned to change careers! If you are still dissatisfied though, get your CV up-to-date and start sending it out, use your brand new degree to boost your salary, or wear the clothes that you always wanted to but did not have the confidence for.
New Year, new you? You betcha!