Things To Do For A Better New Year

Things To Do For A Better New Year

January 1 is when all the calendars recognize the start of the New Year. And as we have just passed that date, I thought I would talk about some things you can do to make your New Year get off to a great start.

I have discovered that when I take time to acknowledge the new year and its potential, I get off on a productive beginning that will carry me through the doldrums of January. I do certain things every new year that I’ve learned by experimentation, but that really help me get some direction.

New Beginning

In some ways, January 1 doesn’t feel like the new year…I still feel like the year begins in September, with the return of school. And yet we celebrate a new year in January on an arbitrary day in the cycle of the earth around the sun. All this means is you can celebrate your New Year whenever you please.

A new year is marked, for me, as a feeling of a clean slate and a new beginning. It is this feeling that we can begin again that makes it so powerful. So let’s take a look at some things you can do.

Review the Past Year

Where you currently are depends a lot on where you have been. It’s important to take a look at the past year and see what you’ve accomplished. This is not an excuse to wallow in it, however – the review should be a high level one in which you look at what well, and what didn’t go so well.

Here are some questions to answer:

  • What did you accomplish?
  • What did you slack off on?
  • What skills did you learn?
  • What could you have done better?

Evaluate Your Systems

Far too many of us use systems that we have been using for years, without any thought. These may not be the best systems for what we are trying to accomplish.

I have a filing cabinet full of papers that rarely get looked at, but for a long time I was still stuffing with paid bills. A friend of mine was using a paper planner, and never had a handle on her schedule, which had become almost all electronic.

So take a look at your systems and see if they are still working for you. Here are some questions to answer:

  • Do your calendar, task management and note-taking methods meet your needs?Are you missing appointments, failing to clean out your task list daily or losing notes?
  • Are you managing your email in a timely manner without leaving them in your inbox? (For specific help in this, see my courses, Taming The Gmail Dragon)
  • Are your errands being handled in a way that makes best use of your time?
  • Is your home maintenance system working for you and keeping your home to your standards? (For specific help in this, see my Custom Chore Grid)
  • Is your system for managing paper (bills, magazines, newspapers) working for you?
  • Do you spend an excessive amount of time doing anything you wish you didn’t have to do?

Set Up Your Calendar

Your calendar is a road map from which you work. Even if you use an electronic calendar, you need to review it to make sure everything is on there. (There will be a future article on this exact subject later this month)

Here are some questions to help you:

  • Who are the important people for whom I need to remember a birthday or anniversary?
  • Who needs to be taken off the calendar? (I’m not trying to be cold here, but people do die. It was time to take my husband’s grandmother’s birthday off the calendar five years after her passing.)
  • What long-term appointments have you set up that aren’t in your calendar yet? (Vet, dentist, annual medical)

Plan Goals (No More Than 90 Days!)

What do you want to do in this new year? I’m not talking about the whole year, because planning a whole year is pointless; it’s too big of a time span. But think about what you could do in the next three months.

Here are some questions to help you:

  • What are the things that are coming up in the next three months?
  • Is there room for me to tackle some big goal?
  • Can I complete that goal in three months?

Make A Vision Board

Ten years ago I was resistant to making vision boards. It was just too out there for me. However, a person I trust convinced me to give it a try. The results still shock me.

I make my vision boards in Canva (no affiliation, just happy with the service), and put together pictures (from Flicker) all of the things I want to bring into my life for the year. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • What do I want more of in my life? Friends, relaxation, hobby, etc.
  • Is there somewhere specific I want to go this year?
  • Is there something specific I want to create?
  • Are there other things I want to bring into my life?


Setting up the new year allows me to take advantage of that fresh start. I review the previous year for positives and negatives; evaluate my systems; set up my calendar; set my goals; and make a vision board. All of these activities set me on a directed and deliberate path.

Action Steps

Follow the steps in this article. Write things down….thinking about it won’t make it real. Then see how things go.

Image By Shireah Ragnar