Yes, it's really 2018

Moving towards the end of January, I've finally realised that yes, it really is 2018 now.

There's always that buffer period of the new year where we are still trying to wake up from the hangover of the past year - with remarks such as "Can't believe that year went by so fast" or "I don't know what I'm doing with my life this year!".

With the new year brings feelings of renewal, fresh starts and a reset of goals. It's generally a time when we assess our progress during the previous year, our mistakes, achievements and steps we need to take to continue moving forward.

Is the new year your opportunity to change your current situation? 

Over the past 12 months have you wondered what your situation would be like if you removed the negative aspects of your life? What's a negative aspect?

  • People that bring you down or make you feel horrible
  • A job that you hate
  • A partner that treats you unwell
  • A situation that you've found yourself in that you wish you could change

All situations you're in by choice. Where you work, who you're with, where you live... you choose them, which also means you can change them. Of course every situation is different and there are many aspects that effect changing them - but at the end of the day it's possible to change a situation if you want it bad enough.

Changing up your circumstances can be a big life change, but how can we get through life and negative situations with a positive outlook on life? By taking care of yourself and filling your time with things you enjoy. Here are a few tips on how to increase the joy in your life.

Change is hard, but these tips can make things easier

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Stop for a second, or even a day. Take a day off, call in sick. It's called a "mental health day". Use it as a few hours of rest where you don't have to do anything - try not to fill it with errands you haven't got around to! Use the time off to really focus on yourself to allow your body and mind to stop and rest. Reset, if you will. A day of rest helps to refocus your body and mind. For most of us high-functioning types, we may find a day of rest as a wasteful day - but try stick it out, your mind will thank you for it.

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Remember that activity you shared with a friend and said "We have to do this!", well now is the time to do it. Book it in - even if it's months in advance, that way it's locked in and you have something to look forward to in the future. Never underestimate the power of looking forward to something! I find that websites such as ScoopOn and LivingSocial have great deals - Browse the site every now and again for activity or food deals (you wouldn't usually do) and book them in for the coming months - instant social calendar and plenty to look forward to!

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This one is for the times you feel low, helpless and need some help back up. There are a multitude of resources available which help you to practice gratitude and to really allow yourself to acknowledge what we have in our lives. It makes a difference to write them down versus saying it in your head. A gratitude journal is a great way to keep track of what you're grateful for. It also allows you to look back at how far you've come which is great to give yourself some perspective of your personal achievements. I recommend "I am happy, I am here" journals.

Having said all of this, I'm quick to remind you that challenges are all part of life. You can't aways be happy and positive, and it's totally ok to hate life and feel down. It's part of the grind and fundamental learnings of life. So enjoy it - bullshit and all.