A funny thing happens right around this time of the year: we suddenly realize that we want to change. We want to lose weight or eat healthier, save money or give up old habits. So we set January first as the official date of change and start to seek improvement, sometimes desperately, and oftentimes in the wrong ways. Because of this, our resolutions usually dissolve quickly after the new year begins. We count on others to perform the labor of change for us: programs to help us lose weight, patches to help us quit smoking, and people to help us feel happier. We rely so much on others to unlock the doors of change that we forget the keys are in our own pocket.

Self-improvement starts with you and ends with you. You can be inspired by other sources, but you must be the catalyst of your own growth. General change comes from the outside; self-change comes from within. Don’t fear the work involved with change, because the right changes are nothing short of miraculous.

This year, skip the short-lived resolutions and adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle overall. Apply these nine resolutions in 2019 to become the best version of you:

1. Define your reasons. You're a multifaceted and multitalented person who has many reasons to become better. The more you understand yourself and why you want to change, the more likely you are to meet your goals. Introspect on the different elements of your being. Ask yourself: What do I stand for and what do I want to accomplish? Why do I want this? How will I go about it? When is my perfect time to act? Where should I begin? Defining your reasons is your first step towards true transformation.

2. Take smaller steps. We want to reinvent ourselves overnight and think it can be done in one giant leap. But stable things come by taking small steps, which establish lasting habits. If you find that something you're trying to achieve is overwhelming you, try a slower, more comfortable pace. The rate of change isn't as crucial as is steady, visible progress.

3. Celebrate your progress. You may not always realize it, but you've already come a long way! Reward yourself for your advancements so far: for the goals you've reached, the discipline you've shown, and the knowledge you've gained. Compare where you are now with where you were a decade ago, a year ago, even a month ago. Remember that you can't manifest a great future without celebrating the great progress of your past.

4. Think before you act. Acting on emotion can hurt us and others greatly. Speaking out of anger or doing something out of desperation hinders personal advancement. Tame your emotions so that instead of reacting immediately, you first reflect on the effects your potential actions could cause in the short and long terms. Scribble down your thoughts and return to the conversation after you've calmed down. This year, think before you act.

5. Take better care of yourself. As I always say to my clients: if you don't take care of yourself, who will? There is beauty behind sacrifice, yes, but not so much sacrifice that it causes self-harm. Practice absolute care of your body, mind, and spirit. The simplest way to increase self-nurture is to eliminate negative influences from your daily life: toxic friends, manipulative partners, even a job that drains you emotionally. Removing such influences frees your energy to fulfill your own needs and wishes.

6. Detox your thoughts. We experience thousands of thoughts every day—some pleasant, some mundane, and others terrible. Keep a daily thought journal, jotting down the thoughts that keep coming to the surface. After one week, study your recurring thoughts: are they happy ones, in which you envision positive outcomes and motivate yourself? Or are they fearful, discouraging thoughts that limit your potential? You might be surprised to find that you keep having the same thoughts, good or bad. This is because your mind is programmed to revert to the same thought patterns. It’s important to determine these patterns so that you can stop detrimental thoughts and, in time, rewire your neural pathways and train your brain to cultivate thoughts that help you flourish.

7. Create, don't destroy. We’re slow to create and quick to destroy. Hold sacred the principle of creation. This includes not just the natural world, but ideas and values that others have brought to life. Don't destroy the esteem of another, demolish hope, or sabotage the well-being of anyone. As a rule of thumb, if it survives, help it thrive. Give birth to healthy relationships, habits, thoughts, projects, etc. Sustain the creation of beautiful, pure things throughout this year.

8. Be authentic. Most people feel that they have to fit into a predetermined mold. Under this pressure, it's easy to forget that you were already born a work of art. You don't have to paint an entirely new portrait of yourself to be recognized or admired. Rely on your genuine self, the one that beams forth with ease from the core of your being. Don't be ashamed of who you really are: your trademark laugh, your weaknesses, your own capabilities, that part of your body you despise. To be unique is an advantage, because authenticity is your greatest power.

9. Take a leap of faith. We all have one thing that we really want to do, yet we hesitate because we dread the process or keep putting it off because we’re afraid of the outcome. The little voice in your head might be nagging you to start a business, move to a new location, end a relationship, give someone a chance, write a book, make that phone call, or any other action you intuitively feel will be beneficial. This is your year to engage in that commitment. Take away the excuses, put your trust in the universe, and take a leap of faith.

A new year delivers new hope. This year, let’s remember that we're the only ones who can make ourselves better in every way, every day. Set the right resolutions for 2019 and watch your life transform.

To your best year yet,
Dr. Carmen Harra

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Carmen Harra is a world-renowned intuitive psychologist, best-selling author, radio show host, and relationship expert. In the past 25 years, Carmen has helped over 40,000 people rediscover peace of mind, reclaim personal power, and regain joy. Her clients include people from all walks of life, from the lady next door to Hollywood celebrities and eminent politicians. Carmen uniquely combines the normal with the paranormal to deliver powerful positive change: tried and tested cognitive therapy coupled with the ancient arts of numerology, mediumship, and incredible intuition.
Carmen has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, New York Post, and New York Daily News, and on shows like Good Morning America, The View, Good Day New York, the Today show, and many more.
She’s the author of international best-sellers like Everyday Karma, Decoding Your Destiny, The Eleven Eternal Principles, and Wholeliness, among others. Her seventh book, The Karma Queens' Guide to Relationships, was released by Penguin Books, and she's now working on her eighth book all about commitment!
Carmen has also hosted call-in shows on Hay House Radio, WOR Radio, and WABC Radio. She currently hosts a popular weekly show called Miracle Guidance for Everyday Life every Tuesday at 7pm ET on OMTimes Radio.