10 Ways to Start the New Year on a Positive Note

We always start the new year with good intentions, here is some food for thought when looking ahead to this new year.

10) Make a list of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, Timely) goals to accomplish this year. Do you want to learn a new language? Help out more regularly at a local animal shelter? Finish your degree? Make a short list, as well as steps you need to complete in order to get you there.

9) Sign up for a class- something you have never done before and do it! A painting class, cooking class, spin class... you get the idea. Some classes while might not be available in person are still available virtually using programs like zoom. These sorts of classes expand your thinking with new experiences.

8) Commit yourself to positive health initiatives. This could be getting more active like walking the dog for an hour a day- every day, drinking more water, doing 20 minutes of stretching daily, reading 3 non-fiction books per month, listening to motivational podcasts, reading the bible daily. Anything that can positively contribute to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.

7) Get your finances in order. How do you start? Write down your pay for the month, and then your expenses. Makes sure you check your bank statement for anything that you might have missed, and make a budget- but be realistic about it. Can you cut down on eating out and overspending on groceries by meal planning? Can you look for better rates on car insurance or homeowners insurance? Can you shop for clothing at a nice consignment shop rather than the mall? With all that extra cheddar you can start an emergency fund (experts say you should have at least $1,000 to start as an emergency fund) and after you pay down debts with the extra money you freed up bring your emergency fund up to at least 6 months worth of expenses. This will help you be financially prepared to handle tough situations like a sudden job loss, a natural disaster, or unexpected home or car repair.

6) Start a journal. Writing down your feelings can be therapeutic. If you aren't sure where to start, write down 5- 10 things you are grateful for and why. According to a study done by UC Berkley- "Gratitude unshackles toxic emotions." In addition, it has been shown that the effect of gratitude may have lasting positive effects on the brain.

5) Do a "year in review", this is where you look at where you have been and all your accomplishments you may have made in the last year. Even with all the challenges we have experienced with living through a pandemic, looking at the good things can help you appreciate all that you have accomplished. Ask yourself:

-What did I do right?

-What could i have worked on or could still work on?

-What went well?

-In what way did I improve my relationships?

-What could I have taken more time for?

-Did I take steps to improve my life in any way?

4) Be intentional- in responding, in business, with your health, your finances, in achieving your goals. Regularly revisiting your goals, and sticking to them by making yourself accountable. How? Set regular reminders of your goals so they are visible, check in quarterly or more to see if you are still on track or if you need to make adjustments to get you there!

3) I recently came across a quote by Nido Qubein that read: "Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start." Where do you want to go in life? Usually we never start a trip without having a destination and a route in mind or in the GPS (thanks Google Maps). Just because a trip might take a while to get there, doesn't mean we don't start.

2) Build value everyday. I suppose this kind of goes along with being intentional- however, great relationships are all about trust. We live in world full of distractions, and its easy to forget to keep working at your relationships. Regularly reaching out to people to let them know you are thinking about them, or that you appreciate them goes such a long way in building relationships. Send a text, make a phone call, send or drop off a small gift or email over an article you thought they would enjoy builds appreciation. Your personal interest in people builds a relationship that will stand the test of time. We all need those sorts of friendships in our lives.

1) Ever heard of the Goldilocks' Syndrome? Mark Victor Hansen says "Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions..." If we try and wait for perfect we will be waiting a long, long time and may NEVER start. So do it, start that thing you've been dreaming about. I am. Guter Hund Pet Boutique launches this week, during a pandemic, while working another full time job, having other family and household responsibilities- but I AM STARTING! Yes, it's scary, and exciting and all new but I have a plan, and goals in place, I know my destination and I plan on being intentional and enjoying this every step of the way. 2021 is going to be AMAZING- I just know it!

-Megan Davenport

Owner of Guter Hund Pet Boutique

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