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7 Ways to Make 2014 the Best Year You've Ever Had

Want next year to be amazing? Take action now. Here are seven actions for today that are sure to bring you joy and success in 2014.
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Why shouldn't 2014 be your best year yet? It's a new start.  Sure there will be challenges, but all in all things are moving along well enough for any smart person to take on the world, and achieve success and happiness.

Don't wait until the parties are done and the relatives have left to start readying for the joy and adventure that awaits you in less than 30 days.  With a few simple actions you'll be ready to march into the New Year with purpose and resolve.  Here is a list of things you can do right now to help make 2014 your greatest year ever.

1. Resolve any unfinished personal issues this month. If 2014 is going to be amazing you'll need to drive it forward in a focused manner.  Unresolved issues sap energy and create distraction. Take action to resolve conflicts with people who support you. Look inward to determine where you are conflicted with yourself. Set time aside to consider, commit and be accountable for your real desires and the preferred future you deserve.

2. Take stock of all your opportunities. As soon as the year starts you'll likely get right into daily work patterns that went on hiatus during the holidays.  If you are buried in the day to day you may gloss over great opportunities only visible from a high level.  Use the holiday down time to reflect, and to make a list of every potential opportunity that can improve your life and business. You don't have to pursue every one and you may miss one or two, but the exercise will help you be alert when any on the list come your way.

3. List three obstacles you can reasonably eliminate. Many of life's obstacles aren't complicated or even difficult to overcome, but they do require focus and commitment. Start by honestly assessing 2013 to determine who or what got in the way of your success. Chances are a few of these same obstacles are threatening your happiness in 2014 as well.  Pick three that you can work on over the next 90 days and get a jump on them. Start with the obstacles where you have the most control: your own bad habits.

4. List five people you are committed to meet. Somewhere out there are people who can help you.  They may be role models, mentors, referral sources or even new partners. These people can help take your performance and rewards to a whole new level. The only reason they don't do it now is because you haven't built a relationship of mutual value. Fix that problem by identifying them and setting a plan to get a meeting. Think carefully about how that first interaction will make them want a relationship with you, and how you will prepare to present and deliver value.

5. Identify two important skills you'll begin to master. I am always happiest when I am learning. Mastering a challenging skill boosts confidence and creates a sense of accomplishment. Figure out a couple of new skills that will boost your profile and usefulness to those around you.  Budget the time in 2014 to ensure you have the necessary hours to make it happen. Regardless of your position or business, self-improvement brings satisfaction and strength.

6. Schedule calendar time in January with those you value the most. Everyone is busy during the holidays. End-of-year commitments, holiday parties and travel to see family can all keep people from having quality one-on-one time. There are people in your life who bring you joy, learning and growth. Time with them is precious and sparse. Reach out to them today and get a January lunch on the calendar before year-end. You'll begin 2014 excited about your schedule and get the year going with a personal boost from those who love and support you the most.

7. Plan an Amazing New Year's Eve. There's a good reason New Year's Eve is the only holiday celebrated by nearly everyone on the same day world wide, regardless of nationality, race or religion. It is a celebration of new beginnings. Make it a special day. Whether you decide to join an iconic shared experience (here is my own Times Square event this year), spend a quiet evening with loved ones, or even have an introspective time alone, definitely mark the transition in a significant way so you can feel the excitement and joy of the new beginning.

Oh, and if you don't get to all of these tips before December 31st, go ahead and start them in January or as soon as you're able. Happiness doesn't actually require a calendar.

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IMAGE: Alamy
Last updated: Dec 9, 2013

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York.

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



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