New Year’s resolutions have a long history, dating back to the ancient Babylonians who made promises to win favor with their gods. The tradition hasn’t lost its appeal in 4000 years. Yet, despite its popularity, the ritual of setting New Year’s resolutions is a better idea in theory than it is in practice, considering 80% of people have dropped their resolutions by February 1.

For those dedicated to continuous improvement, what’s the alternative?

Simply a shift in mindset to the realization that every day is an opportunity to begin again. There is no reason to wait until January 1 or any other date for that matter. We can begin today right where we are.

What follows is a collection of simple but impactful techniques for initiating change. Look at the list, pick one technique that calls to you, and give it a go.

  1. Four Questions to Clarity

There are times we desire change but struggle to articulate exactly what kind of change we want. Years ago, I attended a Brian Tracey seminar during which he shared four simple, but powerful questions that were created to help us gain clarity about the direction we wish to move, if not the destination. The process is simple: starting from where you are at this moment in your life, ask yourself these 4 questions and answer them on paper. Then, study what you wrote and use this information to begin charting a new course, one step at a time.

What do you want more of?

What do you want less of?

What do you want to stop doing?

What do you want to start doing?

2. Create a Morning Ritual

How you start your day significantly impacts how you live your day and, consequently, your entire life. If you want to up-level every aspect of your being, a great place to start is simply by changing what you do in the first hours of every day. Consider creating morning habits or rituals that feed your body, mind, and spirit and put you in a positive, resilient state.

Here is a selection of healthy habits to consider incorporating into your morning ritual:

Waking an hour early

Drinking a glass of warm water or lemon water first thing


Reading inspirational literature

Writing in a journal

Doing a Daily Energy Routine with Prune Harris or Donna Eden on YouTube

Participating in a Qigong, Tai Chi, or Yoga class on YouTube

Doing cardio exercise of your choosing

Reading your goals and affirmations

Writing a thank you note to someone

3. 27/9

The Feng Shui practice of 27/9 is a powerful ritual for inviting a fresh wave of energy into your life. The basics of the practice are simple: For 9 days straight, discard, give away, or donate 27 items a day for a total of 243 items. By releasing old, worn, unused, and outdated items that no longer align with who you are today and your future goals, you create space for what you truly desire.

That said, letting go of treasured items from the past can be challenging. If you feel resistant to letting go of anything you no longer use or enjoy, ask yourself this one question, “Do I really want to bring this item into the future I am now creating?” The answer will make your decision easier.

Energy is cumulative, so be sure to select a stretch of 9 days you can do this ritual without interruption. The process will be made much easier if you create a game plan before you begin and a theme for each day. Here are my daily themes from my last go of 27/9:

Day 1. Clothing

Day 2. Shoes, Boots, Hats, Gloves, Scarves

Day 3. Bathroom and Toiletries

Day 4. Kitchen and Pantry

Day 5. Books and CDs

Day 6. Office and Desk

Day 7. Crafts and Art Supplies

Day 8. Digital Files, Newsletters, Unsubscribe

Day 9. Paper Files

4. Eliminate What You Tolerate

We humans have learned to tolerate so many things. We put up with, accept, are dragged down by annoyances, broken things, missing belongings, clutter, unfinished business, unmet needs, other people’s behavior and even our own behavior. According to the late Thomas Leonard, Personal Coach and Founder of CoachU, most humans tolerate from 80-100 things at a time. You are tolerating more than you think. Get a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of everything you sense you are tolerating. Once you have identified your first round of tolerations, begin eliminating them. Write that overdue thank you note, sew on the button, clean out the drawer and make that appointment you’ve been thinking about.

Identifying and eliminating your tolerations is a powerful technique for initiating change and creating momentum and motivation for the next, new chapter in your life.

Remember, creating a fresh start is a continuous process. There is no need to wait for a special date on the calendar to initiate change. At any time, these four techniques can be applied to help you reset and move forward with purpose.

Colleen Kilpatrick

Colleen Kilpatrick is a multi-talented business owner, creative collaborator and author of the transformational book, “Eliminate What You Tolerate: A simple, proven way to regain focus, increase productivity, and liberate your energy for the more important things in life.” Colleen is known for her exceptional ability to break down complex concepts into practical, step-by-step solutions that can be understood and implemented with ease. With her extensive experience in marketing, business innovation, personal development and spiritual teachings, Colleen brings a unique perspective to her work with entrepreneurs inspiring them to unlock their full potential and courageously share their best gifts with the world.