Preparing for the new year

How are you feeling as we head into 2020? Are you feeling excited? Maybe a bit overwhelmed or like it’s just another day? To me, the start of a new year represents the ability to start over. I can declutter and start new or expand on things I really enjoyed over the last 365 days.

preparing for the new year

So as we round out 2019 and head into a whole new decade, I find myself filled with a renewed since of optimism and hope that this next year will be amazing. 2019 was a pretty good year for me overall but I planning on making the most out of the new year and new decade. I’m hoping to have it filled with  plenty of adventure, creativity, and happiness.

But this can’t happen on it’s own. In order to make the new year start off peacefully and to have the beginning of the year be as fulfilling as possible, you’ve got to be prepared. Just like anything else in life, you have to set yourself up for success by having all of the necessary parts assembled in order to make it run smoothly.

To help to keep from feeling overwhelmed, I’ve come up with 12 simple actions you can do to prepare for the new year. 

So grab a cup of coffee, a pen, and some paper and let’s get this party started so you can have an amazing start to the new year.

Let’s hit the reset button

Reset for the new year

De-clutter your life-

Throughout the year we can tend to accumulate a lot of clutter, both physically and emotionally. Take the time at the beginning of the year to get rid of all of that crap you’ve collected.

How do you de-clutter your life?

Pretend that you’re on an episode of Tidying Up and that Marie Kondo is running you through her steps of cleaning out your junk. Hold on to each of the items in front of you and ask yourself, does it bring you joy. If not, part ways with it. If it does, store it someplace special. This is for all aspects of your life. If there is a shirt in the back of your closet that you just absolutely hate or know you’ll never wear… donate it. If there is a relationship in your life that you know is toxic or unfulfilling… end it. Now is the time to let all of those things go that aren’t bringing you fulfillment or joy.

Social Media Purge

The first thing that you need to clean out is your social media. Now, I’m not saying to get rid of your social media or even to take time off. For many people, taking time away from social media isn’t a possibility because it’s your job or an aspect of your job. But in your personal life, think about what you’re doing with your social media and maybe look into  limiting the amount of content. So look at the people and the pages you’re following. If you don’t regularly find yourself enjoying their content or it causes you stress ( I’m looking at you news agencies) unfollow them. Get rid of those things in your social media life that you just aren’t enjoying anymore.

Let it go

Think about all of those commitments, bad habits, and even relationships that may be causing you undue stress or fatigue and let them go. It’s okay to admit to yourself and to everyone else around you that you’re overwhelmed or that maybe you made a bad decision. It shows maturity and growth. If you feel like you’ve taken on too much or aren’t enjoying something, take this time to start saying no or to end that relationship. It doesn’t have to end on a bad note, you can take the time to prepare and come up with a good ending of your choice before you lose that opportunity to end it on your terms.

Clean out the closet

Get rid of the crap cluttering up your house. Clothes that you can’t wear anymore, junk that is sitting in the back of your closet, that random cable you have saved in a junk drawer in your kitchen just in case you figure out what it went to… get rid of it. All that extra junk just sitting around your house can cause stress and anxiety without you even realizing it. Donate what’s still good and trash what’s not.

Digital Overhaul

Organize digital files. Start to condense down and organize files you have saved on your desktop or on random USBs and external hard drives around your house. This can be a long process so don’t expect it to be done all at once. Just hack away at it in little chunks until you’re happy and you can easily find important files or pictures. This can also be done with your emails. If you’re anything like me, you have a billion random emails just sitting in your inbox. Take 20 minutes a day to go through the mess. Delete emails that aren’t important, store and save the ones that are, and take the time to unsubscribe from newsletters and emails that don’t inspire you or give you content that you can use.

That old Chinese food needs to go

It’s time to purge the food sources too. Everyone wants to start the year off eating healthier and trying to do better for their body. Maybe it’s that we see how badly we’ve been treating our bodies over the last few months or maybe it’s the fact that we haven’t eaten a vagetable that wasn’t drenched in butter and cream of mushroom soup in two months. Either way, it’s time to up our health game and start taking care of our bodies. The best way to do that is to change how we are eating. So now is the time to stock up on good foods that will help to fuel our bodies and minds and help to make us feel more energized.

It may just be a “fad” for a lot of people and they may not stick with it, but the best way to get the year started is to purge that fridge, freezer, and pantry of the crap. If it’s old, freezer burned, or you’re never going to eat it, get rid of it. Donate the good unopened foods to a food pantry and the stuff that’s bad, just throw it out. You don’t have to be on some fad or restrictive diet, just make sure you’re eating a good balanced diet and allow yourself to have the things you enjoy… but in moderation for a good, healthy, sustainable life style.

Wrap up the incompletes

to_do_list

Nothing is worse than starting something new with a list of incomplete items ticking themselves off in the back of your head. So try to finish out the year by taking care of as many, if not all, of those incomplete tasks as you can.

What exactly constitutes an incomplete?

Incompletes are those things that you have started but maybe haven’t had a chance to finish yet or those little things you’ve had on your to-do list for ages but just haven’t had the chance to get to yet. These incompletes, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, can actually cause a lot of stress. It can be something as simple as making a phone call to paying a medical bill, to just making sure the garage is cleaned out.

So to help free up some of that head space and save yourself some mental fatigue, take a look at that long to-do list of yours and start prioritizing what’s on it from most critical to things that can wait and start ticking away at it.

What is most critical?

The most critical things are going to be the things that have a time limit or that hold the biggest impact. So, if you have to finish paying bills before the start of the new year, then mark that as being priority numero uno. Then go from there.

If some of the things on your list are simple and quick, try to set aside 20-30 minutes to go ahead and knock those out over the course of a couple of days. That way you free up more time and you can feel like you’ve accomplished something.

Some of the tasks on your list may be bigger but not necessarily that important. For these tasks that may just be time consuming or may take more effort, work on devising a plan for how to accomplish it and start chipping away at them a little bit at a time. Put the steps in order, give yourself a completion date, and mark it on your calendar.

Most importantly, be realistic with yourself. Make sure your working towards obtainable goals and if something is on your list that isn’t important or that really doesn’t need to be done, mark it off and move on or delegate it to someone else who can complete it for you.

Time to reflect

Reflect on the last year

Take time at the end of the year to reflect on everything that has happened over the last year. Look at the goals and the resolutions you made at the beginning of the year and see where you ended up. Pull out an empty journal or notebook and answer these questions…

What were your goals for the year?

Did you accomplish everything that you set out to do at the beginning of the year?

What did you enjoy about the year?

What did you not enjoy?

What things do you want to do over?

How can you change what you did not enjoy?

Did you take time out for yourself?

Do you feel like you were able to stay on top of your tasks and projects throughout the year or did you find yourself struggling or overwhelmed?

What can you change to help you stay more on task or to complete your projects more easily?

How was the year mentally or emotionally? Did you find yourself calm or stressed more throughout the year?

What can you do to help improve this throughout the year to come?

How did things go with relationships throughout the year? You forge different kinds of relationships all of the time so this can be friendships, work relationships, or romantic relationships.

Did you find these relationships enjoyable or toxic?

What can you do to encourage or strengthen those good relationships?

How can you correct the toxic relationships or do they need to be ended?

Taking the time to reflect on the previous year can really help you to set up the new year for a more positive and calm experience. Use the information from the questions to help create an action plan for the upcoming year and use it to help shape your goals and resolutions.

Set the plan

Plan for the year

The final step to having an amazing year is to plan. Coming up with a proper plan is probably one of the hardest things you can do but it’s a necessary evil. Your plan will give you something to work towards throughout the year and will help to keep you on track.

Set Monthly Goals

Come up with two to three main goals each month that you want to accomplish. Set up a plan of action for each one of those goals by breaking them down into steps and work towards completing each step. Make sure to include and start and an end date for each thing you need to accomplish.

Make your Daily routine easier

Try to find a way to simplify your daily routine. Come up with a schedule that will actually work for you and your family and stick to it. Decide the things you actually need to make time for in your day and make sure to work that into your daily routines. If something can be automated or if you are able to delegate parts of your day, make sure to set that up so you’re not wasting time on things that you don’t have to do.

Travel

Think of one place you would like to visit and plan it. It doesn’t have to be for this year, some trips may take a year or more to plan, but do it. So that trip to Bali you’ve had on your bucket list for the last ten years, pull it off of the bucket list, and actually start planning it. Find out how much it will cost, what amount of time you would want to be there, how many people you would be taking, and what all you would need to have done in order to take the trip. Set out a budget and date you want to go and work with a travel agent to get the best trip you can plan.

Choose a word of the year

This is a fun exercise I like to do at the beginning of each year. I like to pick a work and define what that word means to me and then use it as a mantra for myself throughout the year.

What is something you’re looking forward to in the new year? Let me know in the comment section below!