SpringCleaning

If you feel like your life is stuck in a rut, whether because of a relationship gone stale, a job you are starting to loathe, or because 2013 simply didn’t bring you all the changes and opportunities you had hoped it would – then why not embrace the New Year and make the dawning of 2014 a springboard for transformation. Amy Van De Casteele shares her tips for making some much needed lifestyle adjustments…

 
Change is never easy.
Luckily for us,  New Year is the archetypal period for resolutions and metamorphoses, no matter how small – so make the most of it! Shake up your relationships, dust off your self-esteem and make the coming year one to remember.

Spring-clean your life – and your mind

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Before you make any major plans for overhauling your life, the most important step is to pause for a moment and reflect. Buy a cute, sparkly notepad (if you are female or a man comfortable with his feminine side – otherwise just buy an ordinary pad) and a pen, sit down with a cup of tea/glass of wine and make a laundry list of the following things:
– What in your life is dragging you down?
– What needs to be cut loose – i.e. your negative thinking patterns, an abusive partner, perhaps a poor work ethic?
– What parts of your life need to be worked on to improve them? For example, does your diet need an injection of health and vitality? Are your stress levels too high? Do you need a change of job or change of scene?
Knowing what you need to get rid of, tweak or adjust, will help you on the path to becoming the new, improved you.
Once you’ve established which elements of your life need to be chucked and which ones need to be changed, it’s time to dig out your fortitude, iron the kinks out of your self-motivation and get to work.

Love

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If relationship problems are what’s holding you back and making you unhappy, come up with a plan of action to reclaim your romantic spark for 2014.
– Reconnect with your partner by carving out more ‘quality time’ for each other.
– Make an effort to talk to each other and truly listen to what the other person has to say.
– Go on date nights.
– Do something fun and a little out of the ordinary. Take an art class together or go on a tantric sex workshop.
By following these steps, and by being open and honest with each other about your expectations for your relationship, you may soon find you are falling in love with your chosen one all over again.
If, on the other hand, you broke up with someone at the end of 2013 and are now looking for a new love to make 2014 extra special, there are plenty of ways (and places) to meet a new flame – the gym/your workplace/the local Starbucks, to more reputable sites like Match.com and eHarmony. But before you start looking, it’s a good idea to make sure you are well and truly over your ex. Break-ups – even the most amicable ones – are never easy and can leave you with emotional scars you may not even be fully aware of until they flare up again several months down the line. Before jumping into a new relationship, it may be best to spend some time focusing on rebuilding your own sense of self-love and self-worth.

Career

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Stuck in a dead-end job you hate? Doing a job purely for money rather than fulfilment? Maybe it’s time for a change. When recharging your career there are several helpful steps you can take and each one of them involves the key word “new”.
– Learn some new job skills. Whether it’s taking a typing course, learning about Business from an online university or perfecting your proofreading, there are plenty of ways to bolster a flagging CV.
– Go in search of pastures new. There are dozens of job sites with thousands of jobs of every description; if you want to take those first crucial steps towards finding a new position all you have to do is sign up and start searching!
– Take on new responsibilities. If you are happy working for your current company but would like to work your way up the corporate ladder, offer yourself up for new tasks, projects and responsibilities. Wow colleagues and superiors with your go-getting attitude, efficiency and competency and don’t shy away from a challenge.

Health

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If you spent the most part of 2013 treating your body more like a trashcan than a temple – whether by eating too much junk food, drinking too much booze or smoking too many cigarettes – why not make 2014 your year of Getting Healthy?
The route to a healthier happier body is very straight-forward, though admittedly not always easy to follow.

– Drink your 6-8 glasses of water a day. 8 if you can manage it, but 6 if you’re not a big fan of the H²O.

– Get your 5 a day. Fruit and vegetables may seem bland at a glance but there are a mind-boggling range of cookbooks out there offering up simple, tasty recipes which can transform these vitamin-packed natural goodies into a delicious dish. Fruit smoothies are also a great way to take in some of your recommended daily allowance, and if you’re feeling a little lazy the vegetable soups stocked by any major supermarket will often have up to 2 portions of your 5 a day.

– Take a multivitamin. This takes almost no effort and is just good sense, particularly if you’ve been feeling a little run-down lately.

– Engage in some perpetual motion. A little daily exercise, whether it’s a walk, a swim or a bike ride, can make a huge difference to your health and fitness levels. If you can’t manage it every day, carve out half an hour/an hour three times a week and dedicate it to your activity of choice. It could be anything from dancing to weight training to Pilates; just so long as you are breaking a sweat and increasing your heart rate, your body will feel the benefit.

By following all of these very simple but effective steps, you could soon find yourself making 2014 the best year of your life so far. But remember, good intentions alone won’t help you transform your future from “blah” to “brilliant”; you must believe in yourself, first and foremost, and aim to approach everyday life with positivity, fortitude and perseverance. It won’t always be easy – life, by nature, has its peaks and troughs – but with the right attitude and a little guts and determination you could soon be well on your way to making your New Year’s dreams come true.
Best of luck and happy 2014!