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We’re nearing the end of 2017 and that means it’s time to look at all the ways we’re going to use the arbitrary date of January 1 to get healthy/get fit/get more organized/get more sleep/spend more time with family/stay more informed, etc. While our post-holiday energy might make all those lofty goals seem totally attainable in the new year, the stats are not in your favour. Studies show that only eight per cent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually fulfill them and make a lasting lifestyle change. For most of us, we’ll be back to our unhealthy and unproductive selves by the end of February. Or will we?

Life coach and author, Neil Pasricha has a system that just might turn your New Year’s goals into attainable lifestyle changes. He’s the man behind The Book of Awesome and The Happiness Equation, so he knows what he’s talking about.

First things first: shake the idea out of your head that you’re going to change your life just because the digit at the end of the date changed. That’s very unlikely. What you can do is take the time to make yourself more mindful of how you spend your time and use that to make it more productive or fulfilling or whatever you need it to be. Pasricha points out that we’re awake for 1000 minutes a day (no wonder we’re always tired) and he says that taking two minutes at the start of your day can make the other 998 better. In his new journal, 2 Minute Mornings, he outlines three prompts you should answer before you start your day.

1. I will let go of …

What’s something that brings negativity into your day or makes you feel inadequate? Whether it be anxieties, comparisons, perfectionism — let it go. Like Catholic confession, once you address the problem, you can move on from it.

2. I am grateful for …

Thinking about the things that make you feel not-so-great about yourself can put a damper on your morning, so this is where you pick things up. Get some positivity in there and make a list of the things you’re thankful for. This can include big things like family and a roof over your head as well as the little things like, they had your favourite donut at Tim’s this morning or your commute was five minutes shorter than usual.

3. I will focus on …

This is where the magic happens. What are you going to focus on accomplishing today? This is not a time for “lose ten pounds” or “end world hunger” goals. This is where you address what you’re going to focus on today only. Maybe it’s “have a productive day at work” or “walk home” or “eat a healthy lunch.” Make these things realistic. Take the list of a hundred things you could do and make it a list of three things you will do. You’re much more likely to get it done and feel accomplished instead of feeling like you’ve failed yourself by January 4th.

Now, good luck on those attainable life changes and remember: be kind to yourself.