I’m not a New Year’s resolutions person. I don’t make them. I don’t keep them. I look upon them as nothing more than potential disappointments for me to flagellate my fragile ego with. Who needs that junk? The vast majority of people who do make resolutions today will have abandoned them in a matter of months.

But the statistics don’t matter. The resolutions don’t matter. You and I can still improve our lives by making better choices.

Here are 5 ways I plan to change my life in 2016:

1. Believe that success is possible.

Believe it with all your heart. Visualize it clearly and banish all your doubts. Believe in what you can do and don’t stop for anything. Above all, don’t quit. Keep the vision of your goals in your mind and get going. Dare to be an ordinary person making extraordinary choices.

2. Get outside your comfort zone.

Challenge yourself and set goals that inspire you. Stop playing it safe. It can be uncomfortable to pursue your dreams. Watching TV is much easier, but entertainment and social media can be stealing from your dreams. Challenging goals inspire and energize us. Overcoming obstacles and fears gives us the chance to rise above our past selves, our mistakes and failures. Challenges can show you who you are and make you stronger.

3. Learn from the Past.

Mistakes can be valuable lessons. You failures have the ability to make you better than you were before. If you learn from them. Learn. Move on. And never let your past define you. Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.” Figure out how to achieve your goals in your way and treat yourself kindly. There’s no such thing as too many mistakes. You can become who you truly are, who you are meant to be.

4. Be specific.

Setting clear and specific goals allows you to focus. Measure your progress. Tell people what you are doing. Write it down. Keep a journal starting today. And figure out ways to integrate what you need to do into your daily life. To change a habit, replace it with another one. Instead of a goal like “I’ll write more every day.” set a specific time, “I’ll write every day between x o’clock and y o’clock.” Set clear and specific goals, be committed, track your progress and remember what works and what doesn’t.

5. Think about your motivation.

You can set goals but think about exactly why they are important to you. If you are not clear why you are doing something it’s easy to lose steam. Connect with what you want and with what’s at stake. What do you gain if you succeed? Your motivation is yours alone. Don’t blame others, don’t blame your situation, don’t blame your age or anything that seems to hold you back, that gives away your control over yourself. You might be very skilled at coping with the situation you’re in, but don’t settle for enduring when you have the capacity to grow. You don’t need to look to others for support or even for encouragement if you know what you want, why you want it and you keep your vision. You design your destiny.

I’m embarking on a self-publishing journey. I’ve started or been a part of several unsucessful start-up businesses in the past. Some petered out and some were spectacular failures. One was even a huge success that was stolen by corporate raiders. But I figure I’ve done things just about all the wrong ways I could. Now it’s time to get it right. I’ve always felt that I could be a writer and I know I have stories to tell. So, this is the one. This is my time. Let it be yours, too.

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