Destinations Magazine

5 Ways to Change My Life in 2012

By Russellvjward @russellvjward
This week marked the start of the 'Chinese' New Year - the Year of the Dragon no less - while Australia Day will take place on Thursday.

5 Ways to Change My Life in 2012

A Chinese tiger. In other words, moi.

Now I'm no water dragon (I'm a wood tiger according to those that know these things and confirm that I am courageous of heart). And I only recently took on Australian citizenship (but remain a dual national despite attempts by the powers-that-be to drain me of my blessed English roots). But with so much celebrating of national pride and the year ahead in this far flung corner of the world, what better time to reflect on my own outlook for 2012.
I'm not the greatest fan of New Year's Resolutions but I do believe in starting the year anew, clearing out unwanted habits from the past twelve months, and focusing on creating a fresh start and prosperous year to come.
Last week, on Expatria, Baby, I revealed one of the key things I'm planning to change this year as part of a series of NorthSouthEastWest: Expat Dispatches guest posts on expat 'new beginnings'. My resolution was to procrastinate less and finish more.
I soon realised there wasn't just one thing I wanted to change this year but a number. And not the bog standard resolutions: "I'm going to lose ten kilos" or "I will stop smoking"; but the less tangible, harder to measure goals that might bring about more meaningful changes to the way I lead my life in 2012.
With this in mind, here is my call to action for the coming year. My manifesto for change, if you like. The 5 ways I plan to change my life in 2012:
1. Dream less and finish more. - As I wrote in Dare to Dream but Commit to Action, this year will be about dreaming less and doing more. I won't think I'm not ready, I'll stop aiming for perfection, I'll face those fears of making mistakes, stop following the path of least resistance, and banish idleness to the sidelines. This year, I’ll consider less and act on more. I'll live life more fully with realistic results. I'll dare to dream but commit to action.

5 Ways to Change My Life in 2012

Positivity works. 
Image: photostock /

2. Prove that positive thinking works. – Unfortunately, positivity and being British don't always go hand-in-hand. Sometimes it's easier to regard that cup as half empty when it really should be half full. Whilst that's no reason to start with the 'Whinging Pom' jokes, in 2012 I plan to focus on what I really want to happen. And in a positive way. Positive thinking is behind every good success story and starting each day with the thought that something good will happen in my life today, and paying close attention to see if it happens, will likely prove I'm right. Because I'm happy for the most part with this life by the beaches and I'm going to make damn sure I believe it. The cost of living may be high here but I'll focus on the plus side of Sydney living. I may not like every word or comment I come across in the Lucky Country, but it's not all bad. I promise.
3. Be more grateful for what I have. – No matter how much the day-to-day routine of life might try to wear us down, waking up each day thankful for what you have instead of thinking about what you don't have is the key. Being grateful for the way of life I lead in Sydney, being thankful for the family I'm creating around me, remembering to celebrate the good health and bright prospects we have here is something I plan to embrace regularly and wholeheartedly. 
4. Appreciate the beauty of those smaller moments. – It's essential to enjoy the little things in life because, when I look back, those little things were actually the bigger things in my life. Those small moments I spend with loved ones that often pass me by all too quickly - spending time with my dog by the water, holding hands with my wife as we walk along the beach, enjoying the company of good friends on a warm summer's evening or going for a light work-out close to the sand - these are arguably the best portions of this life I've created and should be appreciated for what they truly are, not how insignificant they seemed at the time.
5. No longer settle for less. - Too many times I've tried to create happiness out of a particular situation that just doesn't stack up. That doesn't feel right. I'm not prepared to tolerate this any more. I'm going to stop acting as if everything is okay when it's not. It's not about being strong or proving I'm capable or a success when I'm not. It's about being honest and saying "Enough's enough. This isn't working. It's time to quit". The sooner I do, the sooner I'll be able to smile again. And smile honestly.
2012 is going to be about recalibrating this life. Moving forward with passion and purpose. Making improvements for the future, not just the hear and now.
These are the ways I plan to change my life in 2012. This is my manifesto for change.
It's time to begin. 
Do you have your own 'manifesto for change' for 2012? How do you intend to better your life this year, if need be? 

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