WORK-LIFE BALANCE

How to Make 2014 Your Best Year Ever

A jar, a pen, and a pad of paper can transform a so-so year into a truly wonderful one.
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Here's a very simple technique that, if followed faithfully, will make 2014 into the best year you've ever experienced.

Put a tall mason jar on your desk (it needn't be anywhere conspicuous) and keep a small pad of paper and a pen nearby.

Every time something happens at that makes you feel happy or successful, jot it down, fold the paper up and stick it into the jar. Same thing with every achievement and new skill learned.

On the last day of 2014, dump out the jar and read all them aloud to yourself.

While this technique might seem a bit "crunchy," there is real brain science behind it.

First, recording these positive events when they happen strengthens the neural connections that comprise the memory of those events.

Second, because the mind tends to see whatever it's looking for, putting more focus on positive events makes you notice even more of them.

Third, reviewing the positive events of the year at the end of the year "reframes" the year as a positive experience, even if (objectively speaking) it's been a bit challenging.

Finally, throughout the year, the technique cultivates the kind of positive attitude that's most likely to make you more successful and draw other positive people towards you.

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IMAGE: Josh Blair/Flickr
Last updated: Jan 9, 2014

GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist

Geoffrey James is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is "Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts that You Need to Know."

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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