Are you ready to help yourself to make some positive changes in this year? There are certain keys that can help you unlock the doors. Let’s start with waking up.

While no one wakes up in a “good morning mood” on a daily basis, you should not dread opening your eyes and getting out of bed every day either. Try this simple task for a week. Before you go to bed write down one pleasurable thing you are going to do the next day. Make it something that you look forward to doing such as having a good cup of coffee made just the way you like it or going to a park for a short walk. Anticipation of a pleasure is a good motivator for waking up.

Make a list. Put yourself, (yes I’m serious!), at the top of the list. If you think that you have to help everyone else before you help yourself, you are making a huge mistake. It’s been said before but this bears repeating. When we board a plane for take-off we are told that if there is an emergency, we should put our own oxygen mask on first before assisting small children. In other words, take care of yourself first; that will put you in a much better position to be a help to others. Here’s an analogy. If you needed help who would better serve your needs; a person who is tired, overwhelmed and hasn’t taken care of herself or the person who cares for herself, is mentally alert and in good physical health?  Obviously you would choose the latter, no question. That person exudes success and confidence in all ways.

Stop seeing things in a negative light. Negativity is more powerful than being positive because it is easier to sustain. There’s not a whole lot you have to do to keep it going. On the other hand, to be able to see life in a positive way requires more effort. You have to turn any distressful situation into a manageable one that can have a decent outcome. That takes work but it is worth it. Imagine what you could accomplish with your life if you put your energy and time into what you really wanted to do!

Reinvention is the real mother of change. Inside you are many different versions of yourself. No, you’re not a victim of multiple personalities nor are you changing your life and going into the witness protection program! The various personas that make up you are normal and healthy. Reinvention is simply the ability to change when necessary; if one part of your life isn’t working, say a job or relationship, it becomes necessary to make crucial adjustments.

Don’t wait for things to get better. Nothing “gets better” by itself except perhaps the common cold and even that takes a certain effort on your part to try and feel better. A no-win relationship which has no hope of ever changing is lost time in your life. And thinking that any relationship is better than none at all is a destructive way of thinking. What you are doing is permitting yourself to stay put just to be with someone who is not worthy of you. 

Love who you are right now. You can never get away from yourself. You can’t take one step without bringing “you” with you! The many ways that people have tried to escape from themselves, through drugs, alcohol or other means have never worked. All they have done is taken themselves on a dangerous and fruitless trip. If there are specific parts of you that you feel warrant changing, decide if there is a way you can make some small positive changes. Bigger changes can come later. Stop punishing yourself. You need to teach yourself to love and nourish “you.”

Get out the time machine! Of course you can’t go backwards in time but you can use that imagery to help you make your present better. Whatever you wanted to do ten years ago is more than likely still possible today in one way or another. There are no time limits save those you place on yourself. The right answer? The only answer? It is never too late to begin something that you have always wanted to do until you have “passed over the bridge.” In other words, when you no longer have breath in your body-then, and only then, would I say it is too late.

Respect what money can and can’t do. Money may be a means to an end but it doesn’t guarantee happiness. All you have to do is read stories about lottery winners who believed that the millions they won from a single ticket was their personal pass to happiness. It is not necessarily true. However, using money as a means to help you achieve goals or work on a dream is one way to purchase a ticket for a better life.

Try being happy. Happy people do act differently than unhappy ones. For one thing, if you allowed yourself to be happy, you wouldn’t constantly be kicking yourself for not being happy. People who are happy become more generous to others in terms of kindness and compassionates actions, they make efforts to do more with their lives. If you are frustrated with your life, you become withdrawn and live as an outsider.

These keys can be used to unlock a new, more positive life at any time of the year. Follow them and see how your own life can be become fuller, healthier, and happier.


  • Kristen Houghton

    Kristen Houghton

    Thrive Global

    Kristen Houghton is the award-winning author of the popular series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation.  She is also the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. Her horror novel, Welcome to Hell, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Houghton has covered politics, news, and lifestyle issues as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing portfolio includes Criminal Element Magazine, a division of Macmillan Publishing, Today, senior fiction editor at Bella Magazine, interviews and reviews for HBO documentaries, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Style Channel. Before becoming a full-time  author, Kristen, who holds an Ed.D. in linguistics, taught World Languages on the high school and university levels. Along with her husband, educator Alan William Hopper, she is a philanthropist for Project Literacy and Shelters With Heart, safe havens for victims of domestic abuse and their pets . mailto:  [email protected]