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How To Choose Your New Year's Resolutions

12/30/2014 07:15 EST | Updated 03/01/2015 05:59 EST
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It's New Year's resolution time again! I love this time of year because reflecting on where I've come from and where I'm going is a great way for me to stay on track as I work towards my goals. Whenever I make my resolutions, I always go back to the previous year's list and see which ones I accomplished and which ones fell through the cracks. Since we're always growing and evolving, reflecting back on our past goals can sometimes help us see how far we've come, even if it doesn't feel like it. This year I'm going to ask myself what I accomplished in 2014 that I'm most proud of. That will set the tone for my 2015 resolutions.

But first, if I take a look back at my resolutions for 2014, the overall theme was to embrace change and I am happy to say I embraced it! I took risks this year both personally and professionally. I fought for what was worth fighting for and I was much more honest with myself about what I want and don't want in my life. I also tried to be more open to following the path that life put in front of me. Being an introvert, I would be happy to be home every night, but being mindful of my resolutions encouraged me to do more things outside of my comfort zone and it's a good thing I did! I met so many amazing new people and my life feels even more fulfilled and enriched with them in it :) That's what I'm most proud of.

I think one of the reasons why my 2014 commitments feel successful is because they are the kind of resolutions that will be relevant for me forever. I have a tattoo on my forearm that says "Be Brave," which is all about letting go of fear and it was my 2012 mantra. In 2013 it was "stay true," and I think these behaviours will all apply throughout my life. I wanted to make resolutions that would help keep my soul on track.

"New Years is all about getting another chance. A chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more. And stop worrying about "what if" and start embracing what would be."

For 2015, I resolve to love more deeply -- to be in the moment of feeling real joy -- and to stay true to my heart. My dear friend Sylvia Mantella is an incredible role model for this resolution because she LOVES her friends and family so deeply, she truly experiences joy and I always feel so happy when I am around her.

There's a quote I adore -- "the heart sees clearly" -- and if I keep this in mind next year when my head gets a bit foggy or I start to wonder if I am responding too logically, I know my heart will lead the way. I want to release some of that "control" and let myself be led by the world, by other people's leadership and by my heart. I am someone who often controls everything. It's important for my job, but in my personal life, I sometimes think if I just let things be then maybe life would be even more interesting! So I resolve to let fate unravel itself.

"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals."--Melody Beattie

Have you set your 2015 resolutions yet? Here are five ways to help you figure them out:

1. Ensure each resolution moves you towards your ultimate goals in life. Remember that resolutions do not stand alone; each year may come and go, but they're all part of the bigger picture and that's YOUR LIFE. So don't just set yourself up for the moment; create the life you truly want in the end.

2. Ask yourself if your resolutions reflect the person you want to be. I know I'm always going back to personal branding, but that's because I truly believe people are the new commodity. You need to think about how you want the world to receive you...and what good things are you doing to give back to the world? That's where your brand comes in. If you want to be known for something meaningful, why not make 2015 the year you start doing something about it. Let the world know about it through your personal brand building to inspire others to give back as well.

3. Determine where you want to be in five years. Where do you see yourself? What are you doing? How can the changes you implement in the coming year get you there? Be married to the outcome that is your life.

4. Create a pie chart and label each "slice" after what's important in your life -- health, love, work, spirituality, creativity, friends and family -- whatever feels authentic to you. Then ask yourself which slices are full and which are lacking? This will help you figure out what areas in your life need more attention in 2015.

5. Create a workback plan. Be realistic about what you can achieve but remember, if you don't make actionable plans, you can't take actionable steps. Decide what you want to be most proud of in 2015, how you want to feel when you reflect over the year next December and what you want to achieve. Then create a plan to get there, and working backwards, focus your energy on the next step. This also helps stop you from being overwhelmed by the big picture.

This article on Oprah.com talks about how to make better resolutions. Two points stuck out to me: the first is not to set goals based on how you feel you SHOULD be living, but to stay true to yourself and to kick your resolutions off with a positive attitude (instead of beating yourself up for not doing what you think you "should"). And the second is to remember the WHY behind your goals. It's easy to just say "I'm going to lose weight" but the WHY behind that is because you value good health. For my resolutions, staying true to my heart, loving more deeply and feeling pure joy are important to me because I value relationships, trusting my gut and being present.

"New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change."

--Sarah Ban Breathnach

What are some of your New Year's Resolutions? Leave a message below or tweet me at @NatashaNKPR. I'd love to hear from you!

xo Natasha

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