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There Can Be More to the New Year Resolution Than Just Giving Up Chocolate...

05/01/2015 17:35 GMT | Updated 05/03/2015 10:59 GMT

It's that time again - the time of the NEW YEAR RESOLUTION! In other words, lots of people with great intentions to give up chocolate or smoking, or to get fit.

But why shouldn't the New Year Resolution be more than that? Why shouldn't it be about re-evaluating your life, looking at your lifestyle critically and assessing what is good, not so good about it? Let's be honest, we are not all perfectly satisfied all of the time. We work too much with too little free time, we don't have enough time for ourselves because of the demands of family life, we get stuck in a rut and don't always realise that we are bored, dissatisfied, unhappy with our lot.

'I know', you say, 'but there is nothing to be done about it'. But maybe that is not exactly true. OK. So you can't give up your job, move house, go round the world, but maybe you can do some small things to give you more contentment.

'But I can't work out why I am dissatisfied. It is just an overall feeling'.

What you need is a plan. A plan of small things and bigger things that you would like to accomplish in your life. Begin by doing a bit of analysis - what makes you happy/not so happy on a day by day basis? What would you like to give up or could do with more help on? What do you love about your life and would like to do more of?

If you have a plan everything else will begin to fall into place. Write down what you do each day, each week, each month and allocate time to each activity. When you write things down, everything becomes much clearer about what the issues are. Do you like what you see, or does it seem that you are spending too many hours in the workplace or running the kids around? Is there much time put aside for you, whether reading a book, going for a walk or meeting up with friends?

And once you have a clear idea about what you do all day, think about what you would LIKE to do. Whatever it is, write it down, so if you feel that you would like to take up running, write it down. If you want to meet your friend for an odd coffee, write it down. If you want to go to London for the weekend or hiking in Scotland, write it down. Then work out what you can do easily - next week, next month and plan the events into your itinerary. Phone up your friend and book in that coffee or glass of wine. Get out your trainers, and try a slow jog around the block (maybe there is an online running schedule you can follow, or a beginners group you could join?)

Then move onto what you would like to do in the future. Are you fed up with your job? Start looking elsewhere for something new or talk to your supervisor about giving you more or different responsibilities. Are you short of money? Can you downsize to something cheaper or rent out a room in your house?

Start thinking critically about what you do/ would like to do and you will begin to get a clearer picture of what you are aiming for. And plan ahead. - What would you like to be doing in 5 years time? What do you have to do to achieve that goal? Again write down and plan the steps to be taken to reach that destination.

The New Year is the time for a new start, so make the most of it and start planning!