Jackie Gingrich Cushman
It's the beginning of a new year and a great chance to start over -- but how? Here are 10 ways to gain a fresh start in 2014.

1. What's past is past. Wipe all the disappointments of 2013 and before from your mind.

What has happened before, whether by your own choices or the actions of others, cannot be changed. Any amount of dwelling and wallowing will not help. Pretend you have amnesia and that it never happened, while retaining the lessons learned from the experience. Then do this again every month, every week, every morning. When you reflect, reflect on what was good and on what you learned; let the rest fall behind you.

2. Define success. Whether it be money made, time spent, lives changed or experiences created, every person has a different definition of success. Do not worry if yours is different from anyone else's. Instead, worry if it is the same.

3. Think about long-term success, not short-term success. Nothing grand can be completed in a year, so don't attempt to rebuild your life in such a short time.

Write your obituary. What do you want said about you when you die?

4. Define what you can do in the coming year that will build a foundation to achieve your long-term goals. Is it getting an additional degree, paying off credit card bills, rebuilding relationships? What can be done in one year that will set the stage for long-term success? Now, write it down.

5. Survey the terrain. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your position? What is happening in the environment around you and is there any way to take advantage of the winds and currents of change that are already happening in your industry and in your life? Write down how you can take advantage of the terrain.

6. Take inventory of talent and supplies. What are the assets available to be used and are there any alliances to be made that might help you reach those goals and help your allies reach theirs? A full and complete inventory might allow you to recognize previously unused assets. Ensure that all assets and possible alliances are being put to use. Put this in writing.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.