Although the most wonderful time of the year is coming to a close, January is the month of new beginnings - which, in many ways, is even better. We are always looking for a restart button, a way to redefine ourselves, an excuse to become what we have always wanted, a time to become motivated and refocus our priorities.

Each year, I brainstorm approximately 15 different changes I would like to make for myself in the new year - you know, the basics - "be happier" "work out more" "drink more water" or, possibly the most iconic "lose weight". These are all great goals, but when you choose such generic resolutions, and so many of them, they become nearly impossible to accomplish. Come the next year, I cannot even remember what my resolution even was and whether or not I really accomplished it. With each new year we become stronger, wiser, and better versions of ourselves for sure, but as far as accomplishing my New Years resolution, I cannot say I have ever really followed through with it... which is a shame!

Let's use this year to our advantage and start by implementing a couple of basic ideas that will turn into changes.

Reflect on 2018.

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It is nearly impossible to think of what you want to accomplish in the future if you are unsure of what you did not accomplish in the past. Each January, I try to sit down and just write about my year. Maybe even get together with friends and talk about the year together. I think back on each month, the things that made me the happiest as well as the things that caused me the most pain and stress. When you understand how 2018 went and look back before leaving it behind, it can make you more aware for the year to come.

2019 is the year of self-love (for me).

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Think of a broad goal for your year - a recurring theme that you want to focus on. For me, I will be focusing on self-love. I have realized that I was happiest in 2018 when I was in a very healthy mental state and surrounded by people that I love and accomplishments I made. I lost sense of self as the year came to a close with all the changes that entered my life recently. For you, it may be your year of fitness and health - where your health is your top priority, or the year of selflessness - focusing more on others. The list is infinite. Pick what you want to work on and make a broad goal.

Begin a journal.

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I am not a super artistic person, although I like to pretend I am. I have always found peace by writing down my thoughts, but when the bullet journal trend popularized, I began one myself. Keeping a creating outlet, a way to write down anything bottled up, brainstorm changes for the future, track habits - for me, maybe reading each day, cleaning my room, going to bed at a normal-ish time... is so helpful (and fun)! It is proven to be one of the best remedies for your mental state and anxiety reducers. No matter your resolution, writing down your thoughts is a proven way to keep the ideas alive and keep you on track.

I want to have more confidence.

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Still a general goal, but one you can then break into different categories. With this comes; be happier with your appearance, make new friends, do things that you are out of your comfort zone, start better conversations. You can make a small goal each day like "talk to one new person" or "raise your hand in class three times". Making a small daily goal each day will get you places! This is where to really start. Regardless of what you may be working on.

Check in with yourself each month.

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Sure, you have implemented some goals and you are motivated to be a better you - but you have to keep up with it. I love to write, so writing a small reflection on your month may help you to push forward in the ones to come. Or talking about it with a friend, or just spending some time to think back.