THE BLOG
12/29/2014 10:01 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

5 Tips for a Fabulous New Year

I love the start of a new year. It's like pressing the reset button--a clean slate and all that.

Each new year, I feel like I've learned more, rid myself of more bad habits, and gained better insights into what makes life good and fun. I'm an avid resolution maker, but this post isn't about resolutions so much as a chance to rethink and regenerate your life.

Here are 5 tips for the new year that I hope you appreciate and benefit from:

1. Make your own rules. So much pain, misery, drama, and fear come about when we're worrying about what other people will think and whether or not we are doing stuff that will make others happy, make us fit in, and so forth. If you can ditch that feeling--worrying about what others want and expect and think you should do--and get in touch with your own soul and happiness, it's like a rainbow from heaven comes down to illuminate your path. F*#k everyone else's rules. Make your own! Or as the fabulous bajillionaire Richard Branson says, "Screw it, just do it." Of course, feel free to make your own rule that you will always follow everyone else's rules--but...really?

2. Wear comfortable clothing. You can streamline your life, save time, money and annoyance by simply following this one "rule"--I mean tip. Comfort doesn't have to be casual if you don't want it to be. I'm not talking about wearing sweatpants to work...although, if they're very nice sweatpants... Even just making sure the clothing you buy is machine washable instead of dry-clean only will save you time and money and keep the environment cleaner.

3. Stay in the moment. Yes, I know we're talking about planning for a new year, and that's technically the future. But the best plans for the future come from getting in touch with where you really are right now. Are you happy? Do you love what you do? What can you be grateful for right now? Feel it and observe it and just be thankful. Loosen up about trying to hard to get meditation right, instead, just sit comfortably and relax! Let the air quiet around you and let yourself go. It's always kind of amazing what happens.

4. Put first things first. When I'm stressed, I call this triage (the degree of urgency assignment system that happens in full emergency rooms). When I'm not stressed, I just call it prioritizing and focusing. Do what's most important and urgent first, and don't worry about the rest until you're done with the first thing. Then, when you're done, move on to the next thing. Panic never makes anything go smoother or faster.

5. Ditch the drama. If I counted up all the time wasted in my life by creating drama or listening to other people's drama and the "bad karma" it creates, I'd have a whole other lifetime to live. Drama is an insidious thing. At first it feels fun and exciting. But then it turns sour and draining. And there's only one way to stop it, and that's to stop participating in it. If you start to hear people gossip or get catty, shut it off, walk away. If someone has an emotional tantrum on you, make sure they're safe and then let them settle down before you reward their behavior by getting all swept away with them. If you hear people saying mean things or getting all worked up, don't feed it. Change the subject; skip over it. And that goes for Facebook "debates!" You will never change those other people's minds by fighting over Facebook! It's OK to observe and thank people for their opinions, but the minute you start to try and change someone's mind is the minute you get lost and swept away.

Here's to a healthy and happy new year for everyone!

For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com