For many, the new year brings a renewed sense of excitement, hope and motivation; an opportunity to create change that will boast the newness we so crave. Whether you had marvelous 2014 or one that was marred with adversity, chances are that you’re ready for a fresh new start. I know I sure am!

2014, for me, was one of the biggest rollercoaster rides of my life (and I’ve taken some monumental rides in my time). I rode into the new year on a swell of massive burnout; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I was exhausted, directionless and not sure how to change things. It’s been said that when we don’t bring things to completion before starting a new path, whatever we bring with us becomes the path, and I had done just that. I’d successfully dragged the previous year’s depletion, frustration and depression onto my new path, and had all but let my daily Sadhana (spiritual practice) fall away. To put it bluntly, I was ready to throw in the towel. Thankfully, there was a happy ending.

One afternoon as I was stumbling through my glazed over ennui, I was reminded that the only one who could change my current state of affairs was ME. Something began to stir in me and I listed 10 things that I knew for certain would whirl me out of my 6-month funk, providing I adhered to them daily – as if my life depended on it. Because it did.

I set about designing a program outline that I then followed diligently for the next 21 days. It wasn’t easy. It required dedication, commitment and a level of accountability that I drew on from family, friends and even clients. I allowed myself to lean on others for support and, more importantly, I confessed my shortcomings to those who viewed my life as being picture-perfect. I had to. It’s what I expect from those who I coach and I know that the gold is at the heart of vulnerability. That is where the greatest breakthroughs live; just beyond our comfort zone. At the end of the three weeks, the clouds had parted and I was seeing bluer skies. I had just experienced a legitimate lifestyle reset and I felt amazing!

TIME_FOR_CHANGEThe transition through periods of transformation can be daunting for many because we’re being called to step out of our comfort zone and do things differently. We’re being asked to let go of patterns and behaviors that keep us stuck in and tethered to the past. We’re being summoned to step to the line and embrace a true metamorphosis. The question is: Are we ready? And, if not now, when?

What I learned from this experience is that every choice matters. Every thought, every word, every action generates a force of energy that returns to it in like kind. When I was choosing dark thoughts, speaking negative words, and making poor choices, my life manifested the expression of melancholy and despair. When I consciously chose to override my propensity toward a victim mentality, my thoughts became hopeful, my words became loving and compassionate, and my actions were driven by excitement and motivation.

There are 5 things that are the primary foundation of my daily practice. There are more, yes, and when I consciously choose to make every choice matter by doing these five things I feel grounded, clear, energized, inspired and motivated. Here are my top 5:

1. Meditation
Every single day. When we meditate, we are taking a “time in” to soften the mind, relax the body and connect more deeply to who we truly are at the core of our being. Some days my meditation is smooth and relaxed and other days it feels turbulent and choppy. I still show up and sit each day because I know that whatever I am going through in my life, I am becoming more present to the experience and this helps me to make more conscious choices moving forward.

2. Writing
Each morning I do what I refer to as ‘stream of consciousness’ writing in my favorite leather bound journal. These are what Julia Cameron teaches in the Artist’s Way as morning pages. I just let the pen move without worrying about grammar, punctuation or content and, when nothing is forthcoming I doodle or write blah, blah, blah until the channel opens and the page fills up. I write 3 pages or 30 minutes, whichever comes first.

3. Spiritual Reading
Each morning I read about something spiritual, uplifting and inspirational. Not a novel, not articles from Mind Body Green, not about business or home improvement. I read about something that will connect me to source, show me my path and move me toward my greater purpose. I read 1 chapter or for 30 minutes, whichever comes first.

4. Exercise and Clean Eating
I group these two together because they directly determine my health, vitality and longevity. Each morning I practice 20-30 minutes of yoga (stretching and sun salutations) get my physical body moving and ready for the day. At some point in the day, I take a yoga class or do some other form of fitness using light weights to keep my metabolism boosted and my body strong. I am mindful to eat and drink fresh, organic produce every day, blend nutrient-rich superfoods into shakes and smoothies, and balance that out with clean protein and grains. Daily. And yes, I drink coffee and wine on the regular because this is life, I am human and I choose to indulge in things that make me happy.

5. Emotional Clearing
I have a few different practices that I apply depending on what is going on in my life at the moment. Each day, I witness my emotions and I take time to self-reflect on where the emotion is really coming from, how it is showing up in the moment, and what it needs in order to first integrate, then release. At the end of each day, I do a brief recapitulation of the day, followed by a specific forgiveness process. I move through forgiveness of myself and others so that I don’t drag baggage forward into the next day. This helps me to love myself more and allows me to be more loving and compassionate in all of my relationships.

Here’s what I know: the Universe digs it when we choose to stand up and be counted; when we say YES to taking back the reigns and creating the life we want to be living. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for being “in it” as long as we’re careful not to unpack and live there. I’m talking about knowing when it’s time to pick ourselves up, dust off and set about making some real and lasting changes.

The moral of this story is this: transformation from where we are to where we want to be can happen quickly, and change can be brought about by doing little things every single day that bring us closer to happiness, health and fulfillment. We just have to enthusiastically want it. We have to be inclined to actively make it happen. We have to be willing to experience the growing pains of shedding our old skin, and we have to be amenable to stepping into the upgraded version of ourselves that we know is ready and waiting for us to say “YES! Let’s DO this!” What better time than now?