The New Year is almost here – it’s time to set your goals, use positive thinking and action to achieve.

Though this might seem easier said than done! Need a little help? Check out our expert tips…

“The prospect of starting a fresh new year is pretty exciting for most of us and it’s not uncommon to hear people say things like “I cant wait for the New Year to roll around” or “This has been a tough year, next year will be better”,” says Dr Mataji Kennedy, director of Select Counsellors. “Certainly the GFC and the economic uncertainty attached to that has made the last few years challenging for many people. A lot of people have high hopes for 2014 and the start of the year signals a new sense of hope and prosperity.”

But it can be hard to focus on so new goals, and even harder to put your new mindset into action. Dr Kennedy provides these tips to help get you in the right headspace for the new year:

  • Set some goals for what you want to achieve throughout 2014. People who have clear goals know where they are heading and are more likely to get what they want. They tend to only spend time on those things that are important.
  • Be realistic in your thinking. Its great to start 2014 with a positive attitude and an expectation of good things to come. Also expect that there will be some ups and downs during the year, as this is normal. If you have an expectation that there will be good times and difficult times you won’t be hit for a six when the first difficult moment arises.
  • Be resilient. Work on your resilience and your ability to deal with adversity. Things that help build resilience include exercise, eating well, getting sleep and surrounding yourself with positive, motivated people.
  • Make this the year where you help others without expecting anything in return. Being of service to others is closely linked to personal happiness and satisfaction.
  • ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ is a good thing to keep in mind. Avoid getting embroiled in small issues or disputes that are not important in the longer run.
  • Manage your own emotions. The only person you have control over is yourself, you can’t control anyone else’s emotions, behaviours or reactions. You can try to influence others but at the end of the day they still make a choice about how they react.
  • Practice being grateful. Most people in Australia wake up each morning with much to be grateful for, we have running water, food on the table, electricity and a safe environment to raise our children. That puts us way ahead of large portions of the world population. Try to end each day being thankful for what you have, the more you focus on this the more you appreciate your life.

“I am a big believer in positive thinking. I use it, and I train clients to use it,” says psychotherapist Dr Barton Goldsmith. “Positive thinking can help you make changes that will benefit you in many ways. I can’t say enough good things about it.

“But over the years, I have become aware that even positive thinking might not be enough to help some people make the changes they desire. The trick here is to get out of your head and start taking positive action.”

Here are his tips for making your positive goals a reality:
  • Rather than just keeping the positivity to yourself, you need to share it. Having a positive influence on those around you will change the way you feel. Just doing this can make you a happier person, even if you are dealing with difficult issues.
  • Taking action means doing things that are good for you and never doing anything that could harm you. If you’ve been ill and not strong enough to go for a run or even a walk, wait until you are well before you start exercising. What you can do in the meantime is work with a physiotherapist to help you get stronger in a gradual and healthy way.
  • The same principle holds true if you want to lose weight – something many think about as the new year rolls around. We all know crash diets don’t work. You have to approach your goal gradually and give yourself the time your body needs to react to your new healthy and balanced diet.
  • If you suffer from depression or anxiety, get out of the house, even if it’s just to the shopping mall. Not only do you get exercise by walking around, but you’ll find many things to think about other than your troubles. One of the most difficult parts of dealing with anxious or depressive moods is our tendency to ruminate and let the same negative thoughts spin around. Do something fun to banish negative thoughts and help break this cycle.
  • Do what you can to keep your family and social connections strong. When you’re struggling, outside observers can give you direction that will help you deal with whatever you’re confronting. Often, the people around us see things we don’t, especially when we are unhappy.
  • Doing new things creates positive chemicals in your brain, which makes you feel better about life and closer to your loved ones, and the holidays are a great opportunity to do new things.

“Positive action makes things and people better,” says Dr Goldsmith. “It’s that simple, and all you have to do is take the first step.”

What are your goals, resolutions and plans for 2014? Let us know!