The Most Important Choices To Make This Year

Whenever the new year rolls around, we inevitably end up taking a look at our current circumstances, and evaluate what we want to change over the course of the next 365 days. Maybe it’s a new fitness goal you want to finally achieve. Or a career move you want to put into action after toying with the idea for so long. Or maybe you’ve got your eye on a more personal goal, like getting hitched or buying a piece of property rather than continuing to rent.

No matter what it is you want to accomplish, the small choices you make over the next year will have a major impact on whether or not you get there. So to help guide you toward everything you’re after in 2017, we’ve asked a few life coaches for their best advice on how to make it happen. Read on for what they had to say about the most important choices to make in order to achieve your goals this year.

Create stepping stones

Looking to make a big decision, like buying a house? Clinical therapist Whig Mullins says you’ll need to have a plan in place to get you there. “Plan so that you have all the stepping stones to reach that goal you desire and can make it over a reasonable amount of time,” he says. “For instance, if would be more than difficult to lose 50 pounds in two weeks. “A person who sets up an appropriate plan that incorporates changes in habits, behaviors, food choices, exercise, accountability and a healthy transition over the course of a year has a much higher chance of not only attaining the goal but also maintaining it. The maintenance is another goal and needs another plan and support to make that happen as well.”

Choose a plan of action for the ‘what ifs’

Now that you have stepping stones in place, Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, says it’s important to figure out your course of action in the event that you don’t hit each small milestone. “Know ahead of time how you will deal with falling off the wagon,” she says. “For instance, if you cheat on your diet plan, how to get back on as quickly as possible. Most people feel one failure as a total loss, and they give up.”

Practice gratitude

If your goal for this year has anything at all to do with feeling happier (aka every goal) mindfulness and meditation coach Kathy Walsh says gratitude is key to successfully achieving any major life change. “Simply put, gratitude is the fastest and easiest way to joy,” she says. “An attitude of gratitude immediately puts out a positive vibration into the universe. When you put that positive energy out there, positive energy comes back to you. If you are feeling down or depressed, try focusing on something that you are grateful for and see what happens. Like a bee spreading pollen from flower to flower, soon there will be a field of gratitude flowers growing around you. Like any habit, recognizing gratitude takes some time.”

List the pros and cons

Deciding whether or not to look for a new job? A new apartment? A new boo? One practice certified life coach Pauline Robertson has found helpful with her clients is to make a list of likes and dislikes about the situation at hand, and then envision what the change could look like in order to determine the best choice. “I work with clients to have them make a list of what they like about their job and dislike,” she explains. “I ask them if they could have their dream job, what would it be? What would it look like? And feel like?”

Get rid of that booty call

Even if you swear up and down that he or she is not holding you back. If your goal is to find love in the next year, relationship expert Samantha Daniels says the most important choice you can make is to back away from the booty call. “I know that he or she is fun to hang with late at night,” she says. “However, you can find your true ‘right’ person if you are wasting time on ‘Mr. or Miss Right Now’ who is distracting you with fun only. Cleaning house like this will fuel your happiness.”

Danielle Page is the founder of ThisisQuarterlife.com, a blog that provides necessary information for navigating the awkward phase of adulthood known as “quarterlife.” Danielle’s work has been featured on Cosmo, Woman’s Day, Your Tango, Bustle, The New York Times, Thought Catalog, Elite Daily and the Huffington Post.