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Inspired Living

Five Ways to Make the New Year Sparkle

by Kelly Martinsen

Inspiration may strike anywhere, at any time. The trick is nurturing the process to appear on demand when we need it most.

Often, an inspiration is sparked when we perceive someone being selfless, courageous, physically extraordinary or deliciously creative. However, we don't need to wait for outside stimulus when we can discover internal stirrings by invoking any of these self-inspiring tips.

1. Just Do It – The Nike slogan has never been more appropriate. We all have something we've thought about doing or trying. Whether traveling to a new location, trying a different sport, joining a new-to-us group or club, or making more friends, don't put it off—just do it.

2. Defeat allodoxaphobia – It's the fear of others' negative opinions. Everyone suffers from this to some extent, and it can hinder us from living our best life. Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt remarked, "You wouldn't worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do."

3. Volunteer – A common excuse for not volunteering is, "I don't have the time." Next year, make the time. When researchers at the London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and happiness in a large group of American adults, they found that the more people volunteered, the happier they were.

4. Journal – People often journal as a way to reflect upon their lives. That can be helpfully revealing, but rather than looking back, look forward, using a journal as a blueprint to manifest the most inspired year yet. Write out plans and dreams with the steps needed to achieve them.

5. Gratitude This is the big one. One way to be and stay inspired is by starting off each day in a state of gratitude. Every morning before getting out of bed, think of at least three things to be grateful for. By doing this, we recognize the blessings we have and greet the day in a positive frame of mind. It's a perfect way to end each day, too. When someone routinely inquires, "How are you?" answer, "I am grateful."

Our time on Earth is not infinite. With only so many days promised, let's vow to live them inspired.

Kelly Martinsen is publisher of Natural Awakenings Long Island and author of the new book A Year of Inspired Living (Publisher@awakeli.com).