As we move into a new year, it’s time to set your vision and the tone for 2016. When you take the time to visualize what you want your new year to be, you give yourself something to strive for each day. Something to get out of the bed for every morning. When you don’t set goals, you become stagnant and frustrated with high levels of stress, anxiety and can easily fall into depression.

Here are 5 things to consider as you move into the New Year.

Make Yourself Non-Negotiable It’s time to make yourself a priority. Are you aware of what would make everyone around you happy, but don’t have a clue about yourself? Do you spend your time making sure everyone else is healthy and provided good food to eat, but don’t spend the same time or effort ensuring you take care of yourself? Are you the peace maker, always bringing calm to tense situations, yet get battered by the negative voice in your head?

It’s time to give yourself permission to take better care of yourself, so you can better serve others. Take some time and really think about what you want your life to look like. Visualize yourself happier, with more joy and less stress and then consider what it will take to get there. What’s blocking you from getting to that life? What decisions do you need to make in order to achieve the life you desire?

“You must become consciously aware that your future is generated by the choices you are making in every moment in your life.” – Deepak Chopra

Make the choice to spend time on yourself, so you can figure out exactly what you want your life to look like and how you want feel. If not, you’ll get stuck in a perpetual cycle, and spend your time constantly fending off the things you don’t desire. Stress, anxiety and depression should not be a natural part of your life. Get clear and start at once to move in the direction of your dreams! You are worth it!

Learn The Art Of Saying “No”

Are you a “Yes” person? Do you cringe at the thought of telling someone “No”? Are you often asked to volunteer and say yes, but then perform the tasks begrudgingly?

We only have 24 hours in a day and if you are a busy professional, your time is very valuable. When you give your time to something or someone in efforts that are not moving you forward, you are wasting your time.

Your decision to participate should be based on how you will feel when you do it and the expected return. With the Law of Sowing and Reaping, you will reap what you sow. When you sow goodwill and fellowship into others, you expect for that goodwill to be returned.

If you spend most of your time sowing into activities that don’t bring you happiness, you won’t receive a positive return because you didn’t perform the act with joy. It’s like consistently putting your money into a vending machine and not getting the right snack. (Won’t that make you angry?) If you put your money into the machine once and got the wrong snack, salty instead of sweet, would you attempt it again? If you did and you didn’t get anything in return, would you continue to give your money to something that’s not giving you what you desire? The same applies with your time.

Be mindful where you spend your time and learn how to say no if you won’t receive a positive return on your time or efforts.

Evaluate Your Inner Circle  Are the people you spending your time with getting you closer to what you desire, or are they just hanging around for the sake of hanging around? This is why it’s so important to set goals and get clear on the life you desire.

If you are around people who project their limitations and fears on you when you tell them your lofty goals and dreams, then it’s time for a season of separation. You need to be surrounded by people who will breathe life into your goals and encourage you to spread your wings and take flight. Avoid people who suck the oxygen out of you and clip your wings in an effort to “save you from yourself”.

Be aware of the people who support your goals, all the way up to where they are, because they will turn negative when you surpass what they’ve accomplished. Eagles soar alone and chickens flock together. If you want to be more, do more and have more, you are going to have to make up in your mind that you may be alone for a time in order to accomplish your goals; and that’s okay.

Go to conferences and events with people who will assist you with growing your vision. Also, check out events on and start hanging around new people. New people accept you for who you are and will support you in where you are going. Sometimes, friends will continue to bring up mistakes and dumb stuff you did in the past. It’s time to find like-minded people and fellowship with them.

Set Clear Goals Get crystal clear on what you desire. As you are thinking about what you want, make sure that it’s what YOU want, not what others want for you.

TD Jakes said, “Don’t let other people anchor you down so they can have fellowship and you can have failure.”

Take 30 mins to an hour and think about what you want 2016 to look like. Would you like to achieve more professional goals, have better relationships, and get control of your stress, anxiety or depression?

Focus on what you want and not on what you don’t want. Instead of focusing on having less anxiety, focus on having more peace. Instead of focusing on your past bad relationships, focus on the characteristics of your dream mate. Earl Nightengale said, “We become what we think about most of the time.”

Knowing this is true, get clear on what you desire and then write your goals on notecards. Carry the cards with you, hang them around your house and desk. Create a vision board and put pictures up of things you desire. Want to lose weight? Post a picture on your board of your thinner days. If you don’t have one, put a picture of someone who has the body you desire and replace their face with a cut out picture of you. 😉

Make two vision boards. One for home and one for work. That way, your goals and dreams will always be in front of you.

Take Responsibility For Your Results

“The root of your disappointment is your own dysfunction; and if you can fix your dysfunction, you can deal with any disappointment.” – Steven Furtick

It’s easy to look at outside circumstances and blame them for causing our problems, grief, anxiety or depression. Yet, the hardest thing to do is to look in the mirror and take 100% responsibility for what’s good and bad in our lives.

If someone has achieved the results that you desire, then it’s possible for you to do the same. Some people get mad at their coworkers, citing they should make more money than them because they are more talented and smarter. However, they haven’t taken the time to evaluate HOW their coworkers got their salary and won’t take the necessary steps to attain the credentials and certifications their coworkers have.

“Spend 5 minutes complaining and you’ve wasted 5.” – Jim Rohn

Take responsibility and take action!! There are millions of books that give you the shortcut to success. Learn from the challenges and pitfalls of other successful people and shorten your learning curve. Public libraries have thousands of books and Amazon has made it easy and cheap to get books delivered to your house.

Invest in personally developing yourself and you’ll find that a number of challenges and issues you face today will no longer be an issue. You’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

A few of my favorite books:

Outwitting The Devil – Napoleon Hill (ANYTHING from Napoleon Hill!)

Think and Grow Rich For Women – Sharon Lechter

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Forgiveness – Iyanla Vanzant

Destiny – T.D. Jakes

Check out these books, go to seminars, and meet new people. Discover a whole new world that is waiting for you. Go! Go now in the direction of your dreams! Your life will never be the same!




Christy Rutherford, an Executive Leadership Strategist, trains leaders on leadership principles to assist them with realizing their full potential and increase productivity. She also coaches Type A leaders who are suffering from burnout, which impacts their performance at work and home.

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