You do this at the end of every year; I know I used to. You'll be sitting there, going about your business, and suddenly it'll dawn on you that this year is just about over. What? How did that happen? Where is my life going? Pretty soon I'll be a weird old lady with cats. Or without cats.

Sadly, many people will close out this year feeling like they didn't accomplish that much. Feeling like they were stuck doing the same old things in the same old places. Feeling burned out and barren of ideas. Feeling like adopting no fewer than 24 new furry friends to console them.

If that's you as the end of December draws near, it's time to outline a battle plan to make 2016 your year for explosive creativity. That's right: explosive. You're going to take this nuclear. You owe it to yourself.

Here we go:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else you've ever known. It's really easy to fall into the trap of looking at Facebook, seeing your kindergarten classmates' smiling, successful faces, their beautiful kids and pets, and their Pinterest-worthy home improvement projects, and feeling like a complete failure by comparison. Nothing kills creativity quite like being slapped in the face by your own inadequacy. Here are three small words that should free you from the grips of any self-esteem crisis you may be having: social media lies. There's a reason it's not called Truthbook.
  2. Change your scenery. If you're feeling bored and washed out, it's time to switch things up. If you work in an office, change out the stuff on your desk. If you work at home, try working from your local wifi-equipped coffee joint. If it's an option, change the location of your workspace entirely, whether it's across your building or across the country. It'll wake your brain up. Brains appreciate novelty.
  3. Eliminate toxic people. I officially give you permission to end your crappy relationship. You're welcome. While I'm at it, I'm also giving you carte blanche to stop answering calls and texts from frenemies or anyone else who makes you feel less than ideal about yourself. Life is too short, and that is a fact.
  4. Connect. Now that you've purged yourself of the complete buzzkills in your life, refocus your energy on surrounding yourself with people who can bring out the best in you. Thinking of starting a business, but lack programming know-how? Attend local tech meetups. Bouncing ideas off of as many people as possible will help you bring them to life. Or make a profile on a dating site if that's what would make you happy right now. Or spend time reconnecting with old friends. You're the person who knows what you want and need--you do you.
  5. Reconnect with your inner child. Kids are born creative. There's an entire stage of cognitive development that's devoted entirely to playing pretend and imagining the impossible. At some point a little voice began to grow inside you that insisted that people would think you were stupid if you did a certain thing or acted a certain way. Your job now is to tell that voice to zip it as much as you possibly can.
  6. Bust out your best inspirational soundtrack. Want to work harder and be more motivated? Music will do the job every single time. Listening to music you love can actually make your brain and body happier. So grab your air guitar and rock out to whatever you love. Or you can try rocking out to  what I love.
  7. Stop living in the past. Have you had a thousand other business ideas that tanked? Have you accumulated enough rejection letters to reforest troubled ecosystems? Remember that this is now. It's not then. There are so many inspirational stories out there of people who failed over and over and over again before making it big. You've probably heard lots of them before, so I won't bore you. Just pick yourself up and get ready to throw your full weight into your next big fight.
  8. Energize. I'm not here to tell you to take up meditation or yoga or channel your inner clear voice or do fifteen jumping jacks the second you wake up in the morning (unless, of course, those are the things that happen to work for you). I'm here to tell you to do whatever it is you need to do to get into a flow state where you're buzzing with excitement and potential energy. For some people, it's as simple as eating your favorite meal or taking a brisk walk. For others, it's as complicated as beginning a new relationship. For me, energy is tied to certain places. I do my best work in coffee shops. When my ass hits that chair in Starbucks, you'd better believe I'm ready to write.
  9. Improvise. Have the confidence to make something up as you go along -- especially if you have an idea that's gaining momentum. This does not come easily to Type A personalities who like to have rigid, well-controlled plans in place every step of the way. Improvisation requires an element of risk-taking that many people aren't comfortable with by nature. People who improvise are doers, even if it means they have to clean up after mistakes that were made in haste. People who spend too much time in the planning process suffer from inertia.
  10. Throw everything out. Fact: there are things occupying precious square footage in your living space that you don't need. Really. You don't need them. You may have convinced yourself that you do need them for whatever reason. If you haven't laid a finger on whatever it is in a year or more, get rid of it. Maybe it's a pile of old worksheets with stickers on them from second grade or some hyacinth body wash someone gave you for Christmas four years ago. Get it out of your life. Take back your space and you will actually feel your mental fog lifting.
  11. Make following through priority number one. Don't just say you'll do something. Do it. No excuses. Every time you make an excuse for not doing something, everyone takes you less seriously, including you.

I hope you still have that air guitar handy, because 2016 is going to rock.