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10 Steps to a new you

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Love yourself in 2011

The only way that you can really be ready for a new relationship is if you are happy with yourself. This year, take the steps necessary to get truly healthy and love yourself. Follow these 10 steps to a new you.

Woman writing in journal

1Get healthy

Getting healthy isn't just about going on a quick diet and losing weight. It's about creating a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it. Carrying extra weight increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other health conditions. In 2011, exercise every day for 30 minutes to an hour and eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and good fats.

2Rid yourself of toxic relationships

Get rid of any toxic people in your life -- whether it's your partner, friend, boss or relative. One key ingredient to a healthy, successful life is quality friendships. You don't have to have a million friends to be happy, however, fostering a few special, high quality relationships will bring joy, happiness and stability to your life without emotional abuse, judgment and toxicity.

3Declutter your house

Decluttering and organizing your home not only makes it more attractive, but it also helps clear your mind, and it's a fantastic way to kick off the new year with a fresh, clean start. Begin with your closets. Get rid of any clothes that you don't wear, whether they are out of style or just don't fit. Donate gently used clothing to local charities and organize your closet with hangers, shelves, baskets and bins. Declutter one room in your house each day until your entire house is completely decluttered.

4Start a journal

If you want to make changes in your life, you have to figure out exactly what needs changing. One of the best ways to do self-assessment is by writing things down. Though blogging is great, good old-fashioned pen and paper is even better. There's something about seeing your problems, dreams, hopes and goals written in your own handwriting. Start by writing down what you love about yourself and your life. This will get things off on a positive note. Then, start chronicling any concerns and list the items that you want to change.

5Set goals

Instead of concentrating on what you are going to stop this year (stop smoking, stop eating carbs, etc.), focus on what you are going to start. Have you wanted to take a class, change your job or move to a new city? Make a step-by-step game plan, complete with deadlines to finish each step. By having a timeline, you'll achieve your goals before you know it.

6Find a mentor

Even if you are superwoman, you can use a little guidance. Read books and other materials about great people and their accomplishments. Surround yourself with positivity and find a mentor to help guide you toward achieving your goals. You can locate a mentor through friends of friends, trade organizations, church groups and community functions.

7Exercise your mind

According to Discovery Health, your brain contains "100 billion neurons, 900 billion glial cells, 100 trillion branches and 1,000 trillion receptors, all interlaced through a complex network." Exercising your brain will help improve knowledge and intelligence. And believe it or not, making your brain work can also help ward off dementia and other neurological issues. Doing logic puzzles, playing strategic video games and studying new subjects can stimulate and exercise your brain. Eat plenty of brain foods. Blueberries are fabulous. They are low calorie, delicious, and research has shown that they can help prevent and slow neurological aging.

8Create a personal budget

If you have lofty goals in terms of opening a business or even planning your retirement, you need to have the finances. Though money isn't everything, being financially secure is assuredly necessary. Start by creating a personal or family budget and stick to it. If you have a savings goal in mind (whether it's for investments, retirement or vacation), enlist the help of a professional. Most banks offer someone who can help you create a plan to achieve your financial goals.

9Live green

You don't have to compost your waste, use solar power or drive an electric car to live green. Reduce, reuse and recycle, as well as make small changes in your lifestyle. Adjust your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and put on a sweater. Turn it up a few degrees in the summer too. You'll save energy, as well as heating and cooling costs. Check out these other easy green changes that you'll actually make.

10Give back

Life isn't all about you, you, you. Volunteer your time to charities that are close to your heart. You'll be contributing to those who are less fortunate or to worthy causes in your community, and you'll feel great doing it. And always pay it forward. Whenever someone does something nice for you, turn around and do something good for someone else.

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