Facing the new year with a forward-thinking attitude is vital to one’s health and happiness. This advice will help you take charge of 2014

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: I know that you always have good advice at the end of each year. As we close down 2013, what are some things you suggest we can do in our homes and in our minds to best prepare for a successful 2014?

It is really amazing that we are saying goodbye to yet another year. The more I am aware of how fast time is passing, the more I am brought back to the importance of appreciating each moment and making the most of all our experiences. I feel that it’s more important than ever that we set clear intentions and foster being present in our lives, otherwise we will get to the end of 2014 feeling that we failed to maximize our potential and all possibilities.

Your home and environment can support you in what you want to create in the new year, but you must first get clear about what you want.


Ask yourself what you want

What do you want for yourself this coming year? Take some time to think about what’s important to you and then set the intent to create it. The clearer you are, the better and easier your year will unfold. At the beginning of every year, I take time off to get clear, and envision and develop strategies for the year ahead because I know it is vital to my happiness and success.

Look around your home

I marvel at how much we collect in just one year, and I am acutely aware that we are energetically tied to things in our environment. So, in addition to planning and strategizing for the coming year, I set aside an extra two days before the current year ends to prepare my home to support me in all of my endeavors in the year ahead.


If your home is not yet prepared for the new year, don’t worry! Chinese New Year, determined by the lunar calendar, is January 31, so you still have plenty of time to get things ready for the Year of the Horse.

If you don’t know where to start, use the points below as a guide. Engage every person in the house, preparing them to let go of the belongings that no longer serve them, making way for a fresh new year. The tips below are meant to be a fast way to make a big difference.


1. Discard

Put your mind in “I’m on a mission” mode. Then, go from room to room, spending no longer than 10 minutes in each area, putting in a trash bag everything you no longer use or need.

Get rid of expired food items in the refrigerator and cabinets, old newspapers, junk mail, chipped cups, old cosmetics, burned down candles, broken items, warped Tupperware, and other things that no longer serve you. Be quick and snappy. This is an easy step that takes no thought at all.

2. Donate

Next, in a large plastic bag, put clothes you haven’t worn and CDs, books, figurines and other items with which you no longer resonate. For large items, make a list and schedule a day to remove them from your home. For now, remove only the items that will fit into a few bags, and don’t think too much; just do it. If you have a hard time letting things go, imagine the smile on the face of the person who needs the item more than you do.

3. Clear and clean

Clutter creates lethargy and overwhelm. Make space to welcome the opportunities for the upcoming year by clearing off surfaces where things have settled — kitchen and bathroom counters, dining room tables.


1. Stock up on healthy food

Food symbolizes abundance and health. Fill your pantry and stock your refrigerator with the type of food that you want to eat in 2014.

2. Bring in a thriving plant


Plants symbolize growth and represent the life force. Bring in a plant from your garden, or better yet, purchase live plants and place them in your home to represent a new and healthy beginning to the year. A display of beautiful flowers is a positive symbol and represents reaching your highest potential.

3. Hang up new calendars

Calendars should represent the future. Discarding all of last year’s calendars will help you greet the new year by showing you are present and open to the future, not stuck in the past.

4. Freshen up the energy

For just a few minutes, open every door and window to let go of the old year and energy and welcome in the new, with a vision to receive the best that life has to offer.

Getting rid of the negative

Finally, don’t forget that while letting go of things physically is important, mental and emotional clearing is just as important. Start anew in 2014 by leaving behind past grudges and resentments. If you have a hard time letting go, ask yourself how holding on to negative feelings has affected you. The more you think about something the less likely you are to resolve it.

Next, ask yourself how you have benefitted from all the “negative” things that happened in 2013. If you can find the answer, you will feel lighter and happier. If you take the time to balance out your perspective on how much you have gained from the year versus how difficult it was, you would create the best possible foundation for an awesome new year.

Here’s to a fantastic close to 2013. Thank you so much for your growing support! I’ll be back in 2014 with more insights.

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly and warm educational establishment at the Gentry Pacific Center on Nimitz Highway. At Happiness U, one can learn how to be happy, a subject you won’t find in a traditional school. Happiness U offers classes such as feng shui 101, clutter clearing plan 101, positive mind-set 101, happiness 101 and more. www.YourHappinessU.com