As the days shorten and grow darker, it’s only natural to reflect on the year that’s ending-and the one that’s about to begin. Every January 1, we have the opportunity to start fresh and make our lives new.
And even though the new year is a powerful symbol of new beginnings, the reality is that we don’t have to wait to have the life of our dreams.
What’s better than waiting for January to roll around to create a life that leaves you fulfilled beyond your wildest expectations? Starting now. If you can begin to make the changes today that will make 2016 into the best year of your life, you’re far more likely to keep up the good work once all the excitement of the holidays has worn off and you’re back in your normal routine.
But of course, it’s never as easy as that. You need to have a plan–and reinforce your plan with the help of trusted advisors, friends, or coaches–if you really want to make strides in your personal and professional development. If you have a lot of changes you want to make (and most of us do), it can feel overwhelming to figure out a place to start. Don’t worry–we’ve got you covered!
One of the most excellent resources available for evaluation of your total life is Abraham Maslow’s famous “Hierarchy of Needs.” It’s a psychological theory that defines exactly what people need in order to function as happy, healthy adults. The hierarchy, often pictured as a pyramid, starts with the most “basic” needs (like food and clean water) and moves up to more and more refined ones (like love and self-esteem).
If you carefully evaluate each of the following steps based off Maslow’s hierarchy, you can see exactly what you need to change in 2016 to live your best life ever.
As creatures with bodies, we require a base layer of necessities to keep us alive and healthy. This includes natural foods, enough rest, plenty of exercise, and trips to the doctor when necessary. Do you feel run-down, tired, in pain, or uncomfortable in your body all of the time? If so, start by making physical changes in your life before moving on. Each step builds on the previous one!
Maslow calls the second step in his hierarchy “safety,” referring to the absence of physical or emotional threats. This can be interpreted in modern terms as your environment–the people, places, and things that surround you. Do your surroundings make you feel on edge, frightened, or uncomfortable in any way? You don’t have to accept this as your lot in life! Make a change today.
What is a life without love or friendship? Our health and well being are intimately related to our internal emotional state. Are you surrounded by people you love? Do you have healthy, stable relationships? Work in the coming year to build strong ties with people that will last you for years to come.
Social & Personal
Called “esteem” in Maslow’s hierarchy, this fourth step refers to feeling good about yourself and accepted by those around you. Do others respect you? Do you respect yourself? Building confidence can take a lot of work for many people, but it is possible–and more importantly, it’s necessary to function at your highest level.
The “crown jewel” of the hierarchy is a sense of connection or spirituality. While everyone interprets this differently, the important part is to transcend yourself and take part in something greater. This can mean going back to church, meditating, volunteering, making art, or any number of other things. And it’s not just a “nice-to-have”–it’s necessary for your overall well being as a human!