Welcome to 2014. Now what?

Last year is in the books and done, nothing we can change or do differently, but 2014 lies ahead of us – perfect and unwritten!

This year will feature comedy and tragedy, just like any year. There will be goals we can visualize right now, set and achieve and things we cannot possibly imagine.

Things will happen beyond our control, and many thousands of things well within our control will shape the year. So focusing on the things we can control, here are 10 things you can do to set up 2014 to be the best it can be.

1. Write out your goals. No matter what anyone says goals work. That is a proven fact time and time again. What you write down happens. I challenge you to write out 100 goals. Big ones, little ones, and whatever you can think of. Make a big fat list and post it somewhere and then watch what happens.

2.Commit to fitness. Sure I am a personal trainer and you saw that coming, but look; Nothing else is as important as your health, nothing. You could be the wealthiest person in the world, but if you are sick or injured and miserable, who cares? Seriously commit to being fit this year. This alone will change everything in your life; your energy, sleep patterns, outlook on life, passion for living, ability to move, and to choose what to do each day from a massive variety of options.

3. Support a charity. Helping others is the greatest key to happiness, and it doesn’t matter whether you volunteer at a soup kitchen, marathon, kids camp, or just donate money each month somewhere that needs it. We are so lucky to live in Canada and by sharing your time, money or things with people that have less than you, you will become richer than you can imagine.

4. Travel somewhere amazing that you have never been before, preferably where you don’t speak the language. Combine it with point #3 and it’s amazing. Travel to Guatemala and build an orphanage – you will never be the same again. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and forget what an amazing planet we live on, go out and explore.

5. Be happy. If you are in a miserable situation, or relationship – get out of it! If your friends are all negative – get new friends. Embrace the happy! Take this challenge – You are only allowed to say positive and happy things for 24 hours. No whining, no complaining, nothing negative at all (you may need to stop watching the news). If you find 24 hours easy, try 48. Try a week. If something negative happens, find something positive about it, and say that. Watch what happens.

6. Start a ‘before bed ritual’ as follows – after brushing and flossing, look in the mirror and make eye contact with yourself and then tell yourself how you are proud of your efforts today and any other acknowledgements you can think of, and finish with saying your own name followed by “I’m proud of you and I love you.”

Yes I am serious. Then pull out a journal and write out five things you are grateful for today. Could be something like ‘running water and ‘my pillow’.

Doesn’t matter.

7. Call your mom and say ‘thanks for all you have done for me’. If she has passed on, write her a letter as if she would get it. Most of the amazing things our mom’s did for us, we don’t even remember, and it’s a lot. I watch my wife with our 20-month-old son and I am stunned on a daily basis at how awesome she is. Your mom was like that too.

8. Take a day off. We work so much in Alberta, it’s almost a badge of honour to be too busy for your own good. Take a day off and do whatever you want. Nobody ever said on their deathbed “Gee, I wish I had worked more.” Yes, pay the bills and do what you need to do, but take a break once in a while too.

9. Ask someone much older than you about when they were young, and go play with a little kid. Get down on the floor and let them lead.

10. Pick something on your 100 goals list that scares you to your core, and do that thing. Speak in public. Enter a race. Apologize to someone you hurt. Whatever it is, just do it. Get help if you need, but make this the year it gets handled.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.