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Each year, at the beginning of the year, we find ourselves setting new intentions for the new year and striving for new resolutions. However, I am suggesting a new approach, in which we examine the decisions and habits we can make for next year in advance because what better time to start is there than now?

When I was younger, I always wondered what the purpose was that we had in this life. It honestly kept me up frequently. I read through piles of philosophy books, books about spirituality, and every website forum I could, trying to find the answers.

Over the years, what I have discovered is that growth is the purpose of life. It’s recognizing how we can do better not only for ourselves, but also for others, and set out to make each moment of our life more enlightened and better than before.

Additional to these simple habits, you can implement to make next year better than this one- I implore you to also think about personal growth and what that means to you. Here are the 14 ways you can make next year better than last.

1. Be grateful.

Practice gratitude. Even if at this present moment, you are having difficulty finding a use for gratitude, I promise it’s useful and that anyone can change their perspective. Gratitude rewires your brain for positivity and is a skill that can be practiced on an improvement.

2. Change your scarcity mindset.

Stop thinking with a scarcity mindset. So often, we act as though abundance is a rarity- but it’s all in your perspective. If you get it in your mind that you don’t have enough money, guess what- you want. Shift your perspective surrounding abundance, and watch it flow more freely in your life.

3. Connect more.

You will not lay on your deathbed regretting not working more, or not doing more chores. What you will regret is not connecting with the people you love and opening up and being vulnerable with others. Allow yourself to connect, and I mean truly connect, with others in 2022.

4. Complain less.

Our brain is hardwired to focus on what we think of most. If you are constantly looking for things to go wrong, that is all you will ever notice. Change your perspective and start noticing what’s right in your life.

5. Encourage others.

What good is it to look down on others, to frown on them, and to judge them? NO good. Stop tearing people down, and instead, build them up. If you notice that someone did something well, tell them. If someone needs a word of encouragement during a hard time, don’t point out what they did wrong, help them see the positive!

6. Get to the basics.

Simplify and declutter your life. What are the most important aspects of your life? For me, it’s spirituality, my relationships (family and romantic), my career, and my health. For you, it may be different. Whatever your basics are- focus on them this year, and stop worrying about the rest.

7. Focus on your why.

What drives you? What pushes you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up late at night? This is what you should focus on in 2022.

8. Practice self-care.

Self-care is NOT selfish, repeat this after me. Make time to take care of your mind, body, and spirit in 2022. No one else is going to make your self-care a priority but you. Don’t let it fall to the way-side.

9. Stop competing.

In the age of social media, I notice too often, even in myself, how easy it is to get lost in a non-existent competition with others. Stop comparing yourself to influencers, and to your social media contacts. Yes, find inspiration, but don’t enter a ‘who’s life is better’ competition. Your journey is your journey!

10. Work on your trauma responses.

Through life, bad things happen, and in turn, we develop ways of interacting with the world based on trauma. These are called trauma responses. For example, in 2014 something horrible happened to me, and I withdrew from others big time. For a while, I said, “this is just the way I am now.” But that isn’t true! By saying this, I blocked myself from healing and robbed myself of friendship and love. Since then, I have opened back up and began connecting deeply with loved ones more and more. I am not perfect, but I recognized this as a trauma response and worked on it. Don’t rob yourself of a good life because of a bad incident.

11. Be mindful.

Stay aware of your present situation and the moment you are in. If you don’t, you are going to end up missing out on your life. It’s so easy to get stuck on autopilot, just going through the motions. But when you do this, you miss out on valuable and wonderful life moments that you don’t need to miss.

12. Smile more.

Smiling is infectious. Take every opportunity you can to smile, especially when you don’t “feel like it.” Why? Because one move in the right direction will pave the way to where you want to be.

13. Love more.

We are in a culture that glamorizes apathy and selfishness. STOP this. We are meant to love and do for others, it’s at the core of our very being. It enhances our lives and progresses us a culture to care. DO NOT let trauma responses stop you from enjoying the life you were meant for!

14. Stop worrying so much!

This sounds easier said than done, but with awareness and mindfulness, you can ease your worries and focus on the present moment. Yes, bad things will inevitably happen, but worrying doesn’t stop that. Allow yourself to live and enjoy life and I promise 2022 is going to be our year, I know it!