By Emine Suleyman, author of Aliya

Emine Suleyman

Emine Suleyman

From losing weight to finding a more fulfilling career, the New Year marks a symbolic opportunity to start over. But while making resolutions is easy, sticking to them can be a struggle. As January 1 fast approaches, we spoke to life coach, mindfulness expert and career mentor Emine Suleyman about what simple steps we can all take to improve our happiness and state of mind. Her new book Aliya, a practical day-to- day productivity diary for 2018, is available now priced £25.

Step 1: Reflection

Self-reflection is the school of wisdom. Our life experiences are our best teachers and taking the time to reflect on our past year before planning the next one can help us to maximise what we learnt. Whether you do this alone, or with friends (chatting things through with pals over mulled wine and mince pies is one of my favourite annual traditions), it’s important that you do it deeply thoroughly and honestly. You might want to consider the following questions, which are among those I ask my mentees in December:

What were your top 10 highlights of the year?

Imagine looking back to 2017 decades from now, what were the main things that happened which represent 2017 for you?

What challenged you and what were the traumatic lows you experienced and how did you grow through this?

When we can understand life backwards, we can then begin to live it with our best foot forward. The practice of self-reflection is simply recording our highs and lows on paper. Writing it down is a way of extracting and owning the reflection in a physical way. Don’t use scrap paper or the back of a cereal box; instead use a treasured notebook or diary (such as Aliya).

Step 2: Create the highest, grandest vision you possibly can for a mind-blowing 2018.

You are the Hollywood movie, the star and the director. What is the story you tell yourself about your 2018? Make sure the vision you have for your New Year lives up to whatever you deem to be exhilarating for you. We have more efficacy to create our ideal lives than we sometimes remember, so don’t settle for mediocre! No one likes to watch a boring film, let alone live one.

You can begin a practice of goal-setting by first setting a timer for 20 minutes and listing all of the life goals that you have in that time. Imagine looking back over your life when you're 80 years old; what are the things you will be satisfied knowing you did with your precious life? Put aside all limiting beliefs and reel-off a healthy list of the things you would be excited to do. Try to include short, mid and long-term goals.

Step 3: Clarify and Prioritise

Now that you have a considered list of all that you want to achieve in your life, it’s time to select the top few goals you want to prioritise and work towards next year. Begin by identifying the top 3-5 goals you want to hit in 2018. Break each goal down into simple actionable steps, give each step a deadline and include a reward you’ll give yourself when each goal is completed.

There is genius in simplicity, so keep your action steps as simple as possible. You can work out the finer details as you go. Remember that unexpected pitfalls are inevitable as you progress.

Step 4: Repetition

What we hold true and the most consistent story we tell ourselves about where our lives are headed is generally what materialises as our reality. This is not my opinion, it’s the law of attraction; you can be as sure of it as you are the law of gravity.

We would be wise to maintain a daily ritual of allocating a 10-minute timeslot to reaffirming our goals and inviting them into our lives. This type of repetition is precisely what is required to program the mind for a big in 2018.

Aliya by Emine Suleyman is out now, priced £25 in hardback. Visit