By Charreah K. Jackson for

It may feel too soon for the crazy Target lady commercials and sea of sequins at parties. But the holidays are here and it’s time to say goodbye to 2011! You don’t have to wait for a countdown or midnight kiss to prepare for your best year yet. Get a running start to a year full of love and life with these five tips.

1. Own Your Power
We all have the opportunity to create our dream lives. Whether you are ready for a new relationship, to turn up the heat in your current one or simply fall deeper in love with yourself, the key ingredient to it happening is you. Before plowing through another year, take a step back to see what you liked about the last and what you want more of.

2. Make Your Roadmap
Once you proclaim the year to be grand, it’s time to plot how you will get there. First decide your big goals for the year to help keep you focused. Next, outline specific and small tasks to avoid being overwhelmed. In my coaching business, I see much higher success from clients who commit to measurable outcomes. After settling in NYC, I entered 2008 ready for an exciting dating life. I made a resolution to go on at least one date every two weeks. The goal gave me a confidence boost to explore new ways to meet people and even to make the first move, because I had a concrete benchmark to hit.

3. Consider Your Circle
Want a sneak peek into your year? Check out the five people closest to you. Your friend group is a direct reflection of who you are and where you are headed. Make sure you are around people who are working to bring their own dreams to life and building healthy relationships. Limit your time with negative people and increase your interaction with those who make you feel encouraged. Thanks to Meetup and Facebook, it’s easier than ever to find like-minded people. I also encourage women to identify a love buddy to keep each other updated on your progress of growing your dating life and relationships.

4. Speak a New Language
Be conscious of the words coming out of your mouth and how you define a situation. Just because a date didn’t end with romance, don’t miss the upside of trying a new experience. On a rough Friday a few months ago, my man met me at my office. As I started to tell him how awful my day was, it started to rain. Of course, I had forgotten my umbrella. On the train, I continued to talk about everything that had went wrong and my shoe (one of my favorites!) broke as the train swayed to a stop. I realized the more I said the day was bad, the more the universe delivered. I started to focus on the good things like even having work issues and a great guy to complain to. My attitude adjustment salvaged the night even if not my shoe. This year stay in the driver’s seat of your life and name every day a great one – regardless of the curves that come your way.

5. Enjoy the Journey
As we prepare for the future, we also have to appreciate the present. Not waking up to your dream man on Saturday morning, may be the perfect time to take that yoga class you’ve been eyeing – and another way to meet new people. I look forward to being a wife and mother one day. But for now I am enjoying waking up in my fuchsia bedroom, knowing I’ll have to consult someone else on the color scheme down the road. Soak up the opportunities of your current season and count your blessings big and small.


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