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Since completing The Happiness Project, I wanted to guide readers interested in reaching their goals with the approach of 2014. Have you considered attempting new challenges but unsure of where to begin? If so, read ahead for how to assess your current situation, set strategic objectives and reap the rewards.

Consider Your Time

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One major implication of developing plans and sticking with them is time and scheduling. We can easily become discouraged with routine, negative thinking like “I don’t have enough time” or “it takes too long to complete”. Begin with changing the way you consider your resolutions. You’re only torturing yourself listing a slew of ideas that you can’t realistically finish.

I’ve always imagined my time as a pie chart. With 24 hours, a third of the time ought to be dedicated to sleep and another third of the pie consumed with work. School begins in 10 days, so my time is bound to shrink just a little more. I carefully evaluate the remaining hours wisely, as it would behoove you to consider every single moment. Create an informal “time sheet” on excel and determine how exactly you can strategically schedule your goals to accomplish.

Here’s some questions to get the wheel turning: How often will I engage in this activity? Will this become a daily resolution or weekly? How will I hold myself accountable? What reward incentive would increase my willingness to continue to participate? (If you’re goal is to STOP something, like a habit) What can I substitute this habit for? (Think running for cigarettes or library books instead of shopping)

Develop mantras. Replace cynical thinking with positive thoughts. Rather than imagine running out of time, visualize the outcome and aim to reach the conclusion you desire. “I have all the time I need” and “I make time for valuable activities” can make the difference between feeling motivated and wanting to give up.

Determine Resolutions

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After your time’s considered, evaluate your goals and what matters most to you. Are you compelled to work on your appearance or health or both? If you choose health, do you wish to improve your physical or psychological well-being? Luckily, it’s rare to focus on one without impacting the other. I usually base what’s most important to me by what I feel the worst about. Since I rarely wake up early and eat breakfast consistently, I plan to start doing both very soon.

Do It!

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The easiest and yet most difficult transition becomes adjusting to change. I didn’t have a clue how challenging the Happiness Project would seem until I actively engaged in the read. Each month’s theme offered a different area of life to examine, and honestly it sucked when I forced myself to partake in suggestions I didn’t care about. These were the goals I had mentioned were difficult to complete or weren’t completed at all.

So, lesson learned. Don’t try to participate in activities that don’t interest you, and be honest with yourself. What’s the point of joining a book club if you don’t like to read? Would you purchase groceries you don’t like and look forward to eating them? Probably not. Just as someone wants to detox but despises beets, he or she might select lemons instead. Choose hobbies that works for you, but don’t feel guilty about the interests you would rather avoid. I’m easily bored with running and aerobics, but yoga soothes my soul and hooping gets the blood flowing.

If you’re struggling….

-> Reach out for support <-

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In Social Work we learn the significance support plays in regards to self-improvement. Embarrassment and shame often keep people from admitting they’re slipping, when it’s time to fess up and confide in someone. Be it a friend or family member, co-worker or whoever, find someone you’re certain will give you the incentive you need to feel. Just a few encouraging words could be all it takes to get you back on track.

Meditate with stones

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Margaret Lembo provides a helpful guide to the use of gemstones/crystals and how they relate to the chakras. You can find her guide here but my three favorite stones for goals would be Rhodonite, Green Aventurine and Honey Calcite.

Even though green represents the dominant color of the heart chakra, pink is also closely related. Rhodonite promotes relaxation, ultimately relinquishing confidence and self-worth among beholders. Since this stone is known to meet the physical demands of weight loss, detoxification and purification, Rhodonite is highly recommended for those wanting to kick off the New Year with health related goals in mind. Click here for more information regarding Rhodonite.

Green Aventurine encourages growth and an increased sense of vitality. Here’s another stone related to the heart chakra. When paired with Green and Pink Tourmaline, Aventurine’s ability to attract love is enhanced. On a side note, the same week I purchased this stone, a $330 check arrived in the mail I wasn’t expecting to receive. Although money matters are usually connected to the root chakra, Green Aventurtine corresponds with manifestation and prosperity. This stone aids those visualizing a better financial situation or someone in need of career success. For additional details, check out Charms of Light.

And at last, Honey Calcite drives possessors with persistence and motivation. The golden, yellow and white hues of Honey Calcite reveal a correlation to the Solar Plexus, the yellow chakra. The stone enhances will, which is needed to accomplish New Years Resolutions. The solar plexus strengthens our decision-making abilities with self-assurance; So, honey calcite benefits those in need of help with maintaining emotional stability in the midst of change. If you need help with developing and maintaining habits, this stone is for you. Feel free to review Healing Crystals for further information.

As we enter 2014 with open arms and wishful ambitions, my hope for you includes great fortune, peace of mind and an unshakable determination to succeed. May your best days be ahead of you and know that I’m sending only the best happy vibes your way.