How often do we ever stick to New Year’s resolutions? Occasionally perhaps? Maybe some years we make more effort than others. Most of the time, however, we don’t bother to at all and by the time February arrives we forget that we ever even made any. So often, making New Year’s resolutions feels like more of an obligation or just part of a New Year tradition rather than setting goals that we sincerely intend on achieving.

Instead of setting the usual boring resolutions, such as “this year I vow to join the gym” or “this year I plan to quit smoking” (that we so often dump like that stale bottle of wine left over in fridge from Christmas), follow this step-by-step guide to put your life in a new direction and to start the year with a bang!

1.Plan to do something within the month of January that you have never done but always wanted to do

Doing something a little daring or exciting at the beginning of the year will bring fresh energy into your life and will ensure that you start the year on a different and more positive note. It is best to do this at the beginning of the year as it will immediately stop you from falling into the same bad habits of previous years and will help you start the year with a fresh perspective rather than begin the year in a slump.

2. Take stock of your present life situation and decide what needs to go and what can stay

Take a look at your life and the previous year and decide what needs to be released, what you want to keep and what you want to build. This could be anything such as jobs, partners, friends or something small like possessions. Perhaps you would even like to change where you live. The New Year could be the perfect time to take the plunge when it comes to making big life decisions. Think about your true authentic self and make decisions that align with who you are as a person and with what you want from life.

3. Start a new morning ritual

There is no better way to start the year than by changing the way you begin each day of that year. You may want to start the year by drinking a fresh juice or smoothie or it might be that you want to start the day by reading positive affirmations to put you in a good mood for the rest of the day. Perhaps you would even like to start a new exercise routine to energize and motivate you in the morning. Create a new routine combining anything that looks after your body, mind or spirit that you are able to fit into your morning schedule. Once a habit is created, you will find it easier to stick to throughout the year.

4. Put yourself out of your comfort zone

The new year should always include some risks. How else are you able to make a fresh start if you don’t do something that will make this year different to all previous years? Maybe find a new social or meetup group to join. Do speed dating. Or you could be really brave and do something exhilarating like an extreme sport. Perhaps you could learn a new skill that will help you in business or work. Take some risks and experience new things that will help you to build confidence in all areas of your life.

5. Implement a new mindful practice or activity into your day

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a mindfulness practice but just some time out each day to relax, center yourself and take a moment to integrate all the thoughts, emotions and experiences that you encounter on a daily basis. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and focusing on and observing the present moment have proven to reduce stress and anxiety as well as boost creativity and self-esteem. It could become a practice that helps you to reduce stress levels this year and a skill that allows you to enter into a peaceful state of mind when it is needed the most.

Whether or not you follow all of these steps, make sure that 2019 is the year that you aren’t afraid to try new things, that you follow your dreams and that you release anything in your life that is no longer serving you. Each passing year we need to ensure that we are progressing and moving forward in our lives and steps need to be taken to make sure that we are following an upward trajectory. Life is short, so live your life the way that you want to and make 2019 the year that miracles happen for you.