by Lorne HoldenDSC_0008

Each year as the New Year beckons, we are invited to begin again. The ball drops in Times Square, the world explodes into kisses and we are offered that wonderful thing: a fresh start. Many of us hop on a bandwagon, proclaiming “THIS will be the year that.....” but find our resolutions lie in a pile of fizzle after a mere few weeks. How then can we go about creating lasting, effective changes in our lives that will really stick? The answer lies in starting small and staying steady.

Here's what works for me:

Begin by writing two lists about 2014. First, write down everything that felt disappointing or like a failure. If the thought of this feels depressing, think of it instead as a letting go. Second, make a list of all of your successes. Every person has successes during the year. Celebrate yours by putting them in writing and remember that nothing is too small to be considered a success. Take some time to look and reflect on both lists. Let all the disappointments go. They were last year. Look at your successes as building blocks on which you can shape the year ahead.

woman writing

Then make a list of Ten Goals for the coming year. Work quickly and just pour your thoughts and ideas onto a list. Trust yourself. You actually know more about what you want than you think you do. Bear in mind that no goal is written in stone and goals can be anything at all. My first goal for 2014 was my most favorite goal ever: to laugh out loud every day. I loved it. It brought a shine to even the gloomiest of my days.

And then, you simply begin. The famous quote from Lao Tsu states it perfectly:

” The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Remember that the single step is the first a many, many single steps and that all progress is incremental. If you want to learn a language, get more fit, reconnect with loved ones or write that novel – take some time to move toward that goal every single day and your efforts and energies will really add up.

Once a month, go back and look at your goals. Checking back in with yourself in a regular way during the year is a beautiful, steady conversation between you and the life you are creating. Be fluid with yourself and let goals be formed and shaped by the progress you are having. Don't judge yourself (never!). Simply be aware.

Moving gently forward in a simple, daily way will always get you where you want to go.It is a simple and remarkably effective method for leading a truer and more productive life. Dive in and may 2015 be your best year yet!

headshotLorne Holden is an artist and the author of the Bestseller: “MAKE IT HAPPEN in Ten Minutes a Day/The Simple, Lifesaving Method for Getting Things Done.” She teaches an online course in gentle productivity called "LifeBloom" which is three weeks of support, inspiration and accountability for people wanting to MAKE IT HAPPEN in their own lives. The next course begins January 12, 2015. Visit her site and consider signing up!