Sometimes you need a bit of reality therapy in the grey days of early January. I believe you can do/be pretty much whatever you want (with some common-sense caveats), but you have to know where you're starting from.
So first, don't make assumptions about the changes you think you want to make. Spend a few weeks finding out what you really want to do and be. Use a journal, sketch, write, think, feel. Listen to your instincts, and spare an ear for voices that are overly negative: being fearful of something can mean it's the wrong thing for you, or it may be the very thing you need to face up to in order to grow. At this point avoid asking other people what they think. (Of course you need to take others into account to whatever extent your circumstances dictate, but plan that side after you've found out what YOU want.)
Don't spend too long on this dreaming part. Set yourself a deadline otherwise drift is a big danger.
Once you know what you want, establish where you are now. Make an inventory of whatever part of your life you want to change. Finances, health, education, love life, career, whatever. (All of these? Yeah, me too, but let's just pick a couple to be getting on with, otherwise we'll get discouraged!)
Be specific and detailed in your inventory. Say you're lonely and you want to share your life with someone special, so that's your goal. You haven't had a romantic relationship for several years, your social life revolves around the same group of friends, and you never meet anyone new because you've been concentrating on your career. Plus a big part of you is really scared of commitment and you're self-conscious about your weight so the thought of using the bedroom for anything other than sleep embarrasses you, and anyway maybe no-one will want you because now you're too old. That's your detailed starting point.
Next step is to make a plan. Using this example, if you really want intimacy back in your life, then unravelling some of your negative feelings may need a bit of therapy. You obviously need to widen your social circle, and maybe one way of doing that would be to join a gym or dance class where you could start to feel more confident physically. You need to find a way to work fewer hours. Maybe your friends don't have any idea you're looking, and have someone they could introduce you to. You could join classes, a dating agency, do some voluntary work.
That's the easy part, next bit is to put your plan into action!
You get the picture: dream, detail, design, do.
And by the way, that example above? Yes, that's me, so wish me all the best, because it's scary stuff!
Happy 2007 everyone.