The start of a new year is always one to reflect on what was. We are all guilty of spending the holidays celebrating the end of the year, eating way too much turkey and drinking a little more than we should, but hey - it's Christmas. Then all of a sudden waking up on a cold January morning, wiping off the frost stuck to our car window and making that dreaded drive to a job we need to pay the bills that allow us to live a life we 'want'.
Another day, yet in another year - a completely new year; it's unchartered territory. What will this New Year bring? Will it lead to my wildest dreams being made true? Will celebrities stop dying? Will Madonna release a new album?
See, the thing is, January, in its nature, is a month of change. It's said that the 1st of January is the day that holds the highest number of break-ups and divorces. It's that very special month which for some unknown and cosmic reason, beyond any worldly understanding, makes us as a race look deep into our hearts and desires and wills us to make a change.
We've already put up with a whole year of willing and wanting to do things differently yet a seemingly similar day in a the new magical month of January makes us want to throw caution to the wind, chuck our old rags out of the window and start making changes.
New Year, New Me.
Some opt for the single life; others take up a gym membership and some look at their life and say - I want more.
It's interesting, because I went through a very similar existential crisis myself in December of 2013. Having lost somebody to cancer and a year of not really knowing what I was doing with my life, of which I will happily admit now. I vowed to make a change. New year, new me, new something...
What that something was exactly, was at the time, somewhat of a mystery. It was in fact two movies, Julia & Julia and Pay it Forward inspired me to make a change and start helping people.
365 Good Deeds over 365 days, a blog called The Good Deed Diary, my grand plan to make a difference to others lives whilst also making one to my own.
(Image: author's own)
"Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours"
I must say the past 3 years has been a whirlwind. From going viral and landing the Nicest Job in Britain (helping 45 charities over 12 months) to launching and registering my own charity and subsequent business - I hit 2017 knowing who I am, what I stand for and dare I say it, what I was put on this earth to do; well for now anyway.
But all of that came with a bold change and a bold sacrifice.
I made an executive decision to change my life in a positive way. Personally challenging myself to help an individual every day of my life - with no direct reward to recompense for my action.
Ironically it has been the most fruitful decision I have ever made.
(Image: author's own)
I now sit here with a team of almost 10 people around me, helping and inspiring others to make the same life changing change I made - jump ship and make a difference.
(Image: author's own)
It all sounds very rose tinted, doesn't it? Almost something that you hear about and think, yes well that's all well and good but I have bills to pay.
But the truth is, I do too.
I have bills to pay, food to buy, a car to run and two little doggies to feed.
In all honesty my journey to where I am sat today hasn't been an easy one. I've struggled to put food on the table and worked nights at a pub. I lost a relationship due to my insistent and persistent personal relationship with myself and desire to help others. I've sat at home and wondered why I put myself through such financial, emotional and physical hardship - just to try and be one of those ideological people who vows to make the world a better place.
But in the end - despite all the rigor and hardship I sit here, in the middle of a working day loving my life.
I wake up everyday and help people. I get emails, tweets, Facebook messages, Isntagram posts and god only knows what else from people all over the world telling me, on a daily basis, I have in some way inspired them to make a positive change in their life.
I started a business that allows me to connect those very people with organisations that help and inspire millions. Working with some of the biggest charities in the country and getting to speak with people on a daily basis that want to help them. Just like I did.
I've been blessed to meet some of this countries true unsung heroes, sat in rooms with people who have literally changed the lives of hundreds of people, animals, causes and ideas and am continuously surrounded and inspired by people, who like me, made a positive change in their life.
But the most amazing thing of all...
I still have a roof over my head, a car to drive, food in my stomach and two healthy little doggies. And it's at that point one sits down during the January reflection and think - I am blessed.
See the thing is, change can happen; but only if you allow it.
So instead of sitting on your arse at your desk waiting for opportunity to knock, go and find the door and knock on it yourself. Because trust me, however scary, unfamiliar or daunting it may seem - it could be the thing that changes your life for the better.