THE BLOG
01/05/2015 09:28 pm ET Updated Mar 07, 2015

9 Keys to Incredible Change in 2015

Let the new year ring in. Let it forgive our involuntary faults and forge new paths of awareness. Like a healing balm, let it nurse our wounds and nourish our strengths. Let it teach us to peer within ourselves rather than at the outside world for answers. Let it sweep healthy, constructive change throughout our lives.

We all want to change; in desperation we seek improvement. Big businesses thrive off of our desire to become better. And to a certain degree, we count on others to perform the labor for us. We depend on pills to help us lose weight, patches to help us quit smoking, and people to help us feel happier. We so frequently ask others to open the doors of change for us that we forget the keys are in our own pocket.

We may be inspired by other sources, but we are the sole catalysts of our growth. General change is the result of external forces; positive self-change is the child of inner will. And the lessons of transformation comes to each of us at different times through different circumstances. Don't avoid the work involved with change or fear the admittedly tedious process. The right revisions are nothing short of miraculous. Implement these nine keys to incredible change and make this the year you take pride in permanent self-improvements:

Define your reasons. You're a multifaceted person with many compartments, some of which you haven't yet discovered. Define every aspect about you. Question yourself: What do I stand for and what do I want to achieve? Why do I want this? How will I go about it? When is my perfect time to act versus to stand still? Where should I begin to make modifications? Defining your reasons is your first step towards reformation.

Take smaller steps. In general, take smaller steps in all that you do. We want to reinvent ourselves overnight and think it can be done in one giant stride. But a large leap can cause a great fall. All stable things come in small steps. If you find that something you're trying to achieve is overwhelming you, try a slower, more comfortable pace. The rate of change isn't as crucial as is steady, visible progress.

Celebrate your progress. You may still have a bit to go, but you've already come a long way. Reward yourself for the progress you've made so far: for the goals you've reached, for the discipline you've shown, for the knowledge you've gained. Compare where you were a decade ago, a year ago, even a month ago, with where you are now. Remember that you can't manifest an even greater future without celebrating the great gains of your past.

Consider others. Our resolutions are usually centered around me: "I need to do this differently, I need to make this better," and so on. This year, perhaps we can expand our fresh year vows to include others and our world. When you willingly take the focus off of you, you're able to take a step back and see a truly bigger picture. This in turn grants you greater wisdom in any situation. Get into the habit of considering not only your needs but the needs of the world around you. Be kinder, gentler, more mindful, for one day you will need such virtues returned upon you.

Take a leap of faith. We all have one thing in our minds that we know we should do yet we hesitate to do. We may be afraid of the process or the outcome, but that little voice in our head is persistent; it might nag us to end a relationship, move to a new location, write a book, make that phone call, or take any other initiative we intuitively feel is beneficial. This is the year to engage in that commitment. Take away the excuses and take a leap of faith.

Think before you act. Acting on emotion can hurt us and others greatly. Speaking out of anger or acting on desperation hinders our advancements. Tame your emotions and reflect on the effects your would-be actions could have in the short and long terms. Scribble down your thoughts and return to the conversation after you've calmed down. Think before you act this year.

Take better care of yourself. As I always say to my clients: If you don't take care of yourself, who will? There is beauty behind sacrifice, yes, but not so much sacrifice that it causes self-harm. Practice extreme care of your body, mind, and spirit. The first and simplest way to increase your self-nurture is to eliminate negative, draining influences from your daily life. This frees your energy to tend to your own wants and wishes.

Create, don't destroy. Slow are we to create, and quick to destroy. Hold sacred the principle of creation. This includes not just our natural world, but ideas and values others have brought to life. Don't destroy the esteem of another, demolish hope, or sabotage the well-being or anyone or anything. Give birth to healthy relationships, habits, thoughts, projects, etc. Sustain the creation of the most beautiful, positive things throughout the year.

Be authentic. Most people feel they must fit a predetermined mold to be accepted by society. Under this pressure, it's easy to forget that you were already born a work of art. You don't have to paint an entirely new portrait of yourself to be recognized or admired. Rely on your genuine self, the one that beams forth with ease from the core of your being. Don't be ashamed of who you really are: your trademark laugh, your weaknesses, your own capacity, that part of your body you despise. To be unique is an advantage, because your authenticity is actually your greatest conquering tool.

A new year delivers new hope for improvement. And as much as we dread the effort this entails, we must bear in mind that we're the only ones who can make ourselves better in any and every way. Strive for the right kinds of change in 2015 and broaden your horizon so that it becomes endless.

To Your Best Year Yet,
Dr. Carmen Harra

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