Life coach Zoe Richards brings you her four-week plan to have a more successful 2015 in all areas of your life. Start 2015 with positivity and make it the year you bring love, health and wealth into your life.
With my 28 Days to Happiness plan you can find contentedness in January â€“ and keep it for the rest of the year.
The Dalai Lama tells us: â€œThe point to life is happiness.â€ Yet so many of us struggle to find it in a world full of stress and expectation.
I once asked a group of women what happiness was for them. Their answers were all similar â€“ that happiness is about living in the present and not dreaming of a better future or fretting about mistakes in the past.
Over the next four weeks you can take simple steps each day to find happiness. Iâ€™ve developed a theme to each week to help you focus. So hereâ€™s to your happiest year yet.
Week 1: How to Fix Your Love Life
Day 1: Be clear on what you want from your love life or you may find you get the attentions of the wrong kind of person. Write down the characteristics of the lover you want. Already have a partner and itâ€™s not going well? Write down three things you like about them â€“ even if you start with their choice of partner because they chose you.
Day 2: Forgive yourself for old choices. Think of a previous bad relationship, or a bad time in your current relationship, and say: â€œIâ€™m sorry, I forgive you, thank you, I love you.â€ You are forgiving yourself when you say this but you can also forgive past partners for how they treated you. You will be surprised at how liberating it feels.
Day 3: Be open to receiving compliments. You know those days when someone says, â€œI like your topâ€ and you answer :â€œThis old thing?â€ Itâ€™s time to give up on the deflections. When you deflect a compliment you are being rude to the person who paid it to you. How much nicer would it be to say thank you and follow it up with how much their words mean to you?
Day 4: Look in the mirror every day and find something about yourself you like. One of my clients took a selfie in the mirror every day as she grew to like herself more and more. Start small. Maybe you like your nose, eyes or chin. Youâ€™re looking for little things about yourself that you can accept.
Day 5: Act as if youâ€™re in love. Itâ€™s amazing how that bounce in your step helps attract love. Close your eyes and remember a time when you felt you could conquer anything. Capture that sensation and turn up the dial on it until you know you can act as if you are in love with those feelings.
Day 6: Prepare your home for love. Itâ€™s time to declutter. Get rid of old clothes, the books you wonâ€™t look at again, the old magazines lying by your bed, the packets of food that have long passed their best-before dates. Decluttering frees up space to allow new things to come into your life.
Day 7: Now youâ€™re ready for love, itâ€™s time to take action. Youâ€™ll get nothing from sitting at home moaning that you canâ€™t find Miss or Mr Right. Go speed dating or sign up to an online dating site. Go out with friends for a meal, a drink, a walk â€“ you could even borrow a friendâ€™s dog and go for a Saturday afternoon stroll in the park. If youâ€™re in a relationship that has lost its sparkle, plan for a monthly or weekly date night. Make time for each other.
Week 2: Improve Your Health and Fitness
Day 8: Kickstart your day by drinking a glass of water first thing. It aids digestion. Adding a squeeze of lemon can help reduce coffee cravings.
Day 9: Start exercising the easy way. Go for a 10-minute walk or take stairs instead of using a lift. I was living a sedentary life three years ago. Now I run, cycle and go bouldering, and am the fittest Iâ€™ve been since my 20s. I started by taking short walks and gradually increased what I was doing.
Day 10: Practice deep breathing. Inhale slowly to the count of four and exhale to the same count. Do this for two minutes a day. It will improve your digestion and boost energy levels.
Day 11: Do you pop too many over-the-counter pills? Headache remedies can create their own headaches if you use them too often. Look for alternatives, such as reducing your sugar intake, drinking more water and using lavender oil for headaches. A little drop on a tissue can help reduce stress, which is one of the main causes of headaches outside diet and fluid intake.
Day 12: If you crave snacks, chocolates, biscuits and sugary drinks, try a mini detox. Eliminate dairy, gluten, sugar, caffeine and alcohol for three days, then add one thing back into your diet a day at a time. When I did this I found my itchy legs came from my caffeine addiction. When I stopped drinking strong coffee, my legs stopped itching.
Day 13: Go to bed half an hour earlier than normal â€“ and make sure you get to sleep on the same day you got up in. Weâ€™re great at making excuses about being night owls, but the truth is our bodies need rest. If you must stay up late, keep off stimulants. No caffeine in the second half of your day, no loud music or TV late at night, and no electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. They increase the likelihood of having a bad nightâ€™s sleep.
Day 14: Act as if you are the weight you want to be. Iâ€™ve lost three stone this way. I found it easier to take actions that a lighter person would take. I never banned anything but would say no to the extra piece of cake, eat smaller portions, and take a little exercise most days. It worked.
Week 3: Sort Out Your Finances
Day 15: Track your money. However painful it may be, find out in detail what your financial situation is so you can manage it properly. Track every penny that comes your way â€“ even if you find it in the street. And know what expenses you have each month so you donâ€™t overspend.
Day 16: Set up a dedicated bills account. Each month put the money for paying the bills into that account. This makes it much clearer what you have to spend on other things.
Day 17: Not spending money is the same as earning it. Start by getting rid of subscriptions you donâ€™t use any more. Ask your credit card company for a lower interest rate and get a better deal with your mobile phone too. I saved Â£40 across three phones when I last did this. Ask for discounts, though you need to be realistic when negotiating.
Day 18: Automate as many payments as you can. Donâ€™t stress about trying to remember all your payments, only to find you forgot one and have to pay a higher fee.
Day 19: Develop a good money mindset. I read Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas and it completely changed my mind. As Denise says in her book: â€œYou have to decide NOW that you are enough. You are smart enough, pretty enough, clever enough, ready enough. You can be richer starting today, if youâ€™re brave enough to decide what it is you want.â€
Day 20: Start planning for next Christmas now. If you put aside just Â£25 a month, that will give you Â£300 to spend on presents come next December.
Day 21: Allocate guilt-free money from your next pay cheque that you can spend on anything. If youâ€™re in a relationship make sure you both have guilt-free cash. It can help reduce arguments about money and get through tough financial times.
Week 4: Get the most from your job
Day 22: Do you really want to ditch your job for something new? Itâ€™s important to measure success by your own definition â€“ and if that means staying in a less stressful job so you have more time for other things in your life, thatâ€™s OK. Just as much as itâ€™s OK to be ready to move on. Ask yourself: if you were the bravest version of yourself, what would you be doing? The answer holds the clues to your next step in life.
Day 23: Get some index cards and write down what you know â€“ I call these Know-How Notecards. I have a set of cards for every skillset and on each card I write one thing that demonstrates it. That might be experience I have, an action I took or expertise I gained. These cards will help you be clear on what you know and what skills you have that could work in different jobs.
Day 24: Be clear about what you will sacrifice in your life for work and stick to it. Looking back I wish Iâ€™d done this exercise as I gave up time with my family to push my career forward. It wasnâ€™t worth it.
Day 25: Before you take drastic actions and walk out on your job, talk to your boss. It may be possible to make changes that make things work for you and the company.
Day 26: Many people end up doing work nobody else seems to want, just to make sure it gets done. Thatâ€™s your zone of competence. Itâ€™s time to find your zone of genius, the work that is effortless for you. Somebody else can pick up the work that falls into your zone of competence.
Day 27: Find your unfair advantage and donâ€™t be afraid to use it. We all have one â€“ itâ€™s what makes us unique. Make the most of yours when applying for new jobs.
Day 28: Frightened of your next step? Thereâ€™s an easy fix. First, acknowledge how you feel. Next, tell somebody. Then prepare for what the future holds. Youâ€™ll be surprised at how easily you let go of fear when you realise it is a warning to take care, not an instruction to stop.
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