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5 new ways to change your life this year

As the calendar flips to 2015, our minds turn to resolutions for the new year. Who doesn't want to become better? We're all looking for ways to improve in all our roles — as parents, spouses, children and as spiritual beings. However, too often our resolutions focus on narrow goals that are easily abandoned. Do yourself a favor this year, and look at the big picture. Here are five mindsets for the new year that will transform your life.

Pursue a passion

Want to make this your most interesting year yet? Do something that frightens you. Take that class, travel to that destination or start that adventure that makes your heart beat a little faster. Life is too short to worry about failing. Besides, if you never fail, how will you ever grow? Our years are limited, so make every second of this year count by doing what you love.

Recognize your own worth

Too often, we stretch ourselves thin caring for others while neglecting our own needs. Bettering yourself may take time away from your family, friends and other obligations, but it's worth it in the end. You are worth every second of time you spend on yourself. You deserve to do things that make you happy in addition to caring for the happiness of those around you. It's not selfish to stand up for your needs — it's essential for leading a meaningful life!

Let go

Sometimes, we get caught up in the status quo and forget to evaluate our habits and relationships. Although it's sometimes painful, dedicate some time this year to evaluating your relationships. Are your friendships helping you become a better person, or are they holding you back? If you feel surrounded by negative people, you may decide to limit your time with certain friends. The people you welcome into your life largely determine your mental and emotional state. Choose your friends wisely, and surround yourself with people you aspire to become like. Good friends inspire you to live a good life.

Improve your mind

If education tops your list of resolutions this year, expand your horizons beyond college and technical training. Even if your formal schooling is over, make this the year you study new topics, read new books and ask the big questions. Too many adults forgo expanding their minds once they put away the textbooks and finish school, but now is the perfect time to continue learning. At this stage in life, you can study whatever interests you, and you don't have to take any tests. Make a list of areas of interest, and start researching.

Find yourself

Make 2015 the year you discover you, regardless of the roles you've played before. Unfortunately, we pigeonhole ourselves by conforming to what our parents, spouses, friends and social circles think about us. When we act the way we think we're supposed to act, we miss out on becoming who we really want to be. Do you have an interest you've never acted on, a latent passion you are afraid others might find silly? Be brave and try on a new role this year. It may surprise your loved ones, but hopefully you'll also surprise yourself in wonderful ways.

Think you can't change your life this coming year? Think again! Maybe it's not practical to quit your job, pack up your family and move to a faraway destination. Maybe it's not be a good time to go back to school or start a new career. However, that doesn't mean you can't make drastic changes right where you're at. Use this year to discover yourself, shed preconceived notions about your life and start living the way you've always dreamed.

Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan, mom to three crazy boys, and wife to one amazing husband. She writes about passionate parenthood at moderatelycrunchy.com.