The new year is a time to start fresh. A time to slough off the yesterdays of last year and look ahead to what the tomorrows hold.
Whether last year was a good year filled with success and joy, or it was a rough year laden with trials and setbacks, you’ve changed over the past 365 days. It’s your job to determine if it was for better or worse.
Regardless, the new year is a perfect time to make a commitment to yourself to become a better person (whatever that means to you) over the coming year.
All of this reflection and introspection won’t happen on it’s own, though. You must be intentional about taking this time for yourself. If you don’t, you’ll likely just float through the next year and become stagnant in your personal growth.
I realize this can be a bit daunting if you’ve never done it so I’m going to share how I’ve prepared for the coming new year. Follow these steps at the beginning of the year to see amazing personal, professional and relational growth!
Set Aside Time
This year, I was fortunate enough to take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off work. If you’re not able to do this or if that time has already passed, that’s ok!
For those who can’t take any time off work, you’ll just need to be more intentional about how you spend your spare time during this week so you can work this in to your schedule.
If it’s already January, don’t worry! Doing this any time throughout January will still put you in a good position for the rest of the year.
Cleanse Your Life
I don’t know about you but I always get in a mood of needing to cleanse and organize my life the day after Christmas. I think it’s because everything has been so chaotic and there have been gifts, wrapping paper, decorations, just stuff everywhere so I need to get everything back in order.
This year, I cleansed my body by doing a juice cleanse. This is a fantastic option for anyone who tends to throw healthy eating out the window during the holidays. For me, it served as a physical cleanse, but also a symbolic washing away of the last year.
If a juice cleanse isn’t for you but you still want to clean out your body, you might try going raw for the week. You can create a meal plan so you’re sure not to go hungry and reach for the pizza.
Another form of cleansing I did was in my home. I spent the day after Christmas picking up around the house and throwing away anything that I didn’t need. I even reorganized our pantry and cupboards!
At the end of the day I felt like I had a clean slate to work with and was not mentally distracted.
Read a Book
Whether you’re reading a self-improvement book or the latest Harry Potter, reading gives your mind the opportunity to slow down. You are able to put all your other thoughts on the shelf for a moment.
This year my boss gave me a book called How to Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job with My Blog (not the kind of book you would expect from your boss but I am so grateful!) so I dug into that.
I also started reading Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and took lots of notes. I chose to read these books now because they are both goals of mine for the coming year.
…which leads me to…
Reflect on the past year
If you go through life without taking time to look back at your successes and failures, you won’t be able to grow to your full potential. It’s like the saying goes, you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been.
Through your ups and downs last year, you probably learned a lot and this is the perfect time to reflect on that and really ingrain it so you can be even better.
Not only is this a learning opportunity, but it’s also a time to feel. Looking back over the past year gives you the chance to feel the emotions you’ve lived, and to work through them if needed.
Set Goals for the New Year
You likely have something you want to achieve in the near future. What is it? Setting goals for yourself can help keep you on the track you want to be on.
Find something in multiple aspects of your life that you want to achieve to ensure you continue to grow as a well-rounded individual.
How can you improve on a personal level? Maybe it’s increasing your emotional intelligence. Or maybe you want to practice self-love. What will make you a better person?
What career goals do you want to achieve? Do you want to go all-in to get that promotion? Or do you want to change careers altogether? What will make you more fulfilled?
How can you improve your relationships (with your spouse, children, parents, friends, coworkers, etc.)? Maybe you need to have more open communication. Maybe you need to learn the other person’s love language. How can you be better for someone else?
After setting your goals, plan out (whether on paper or in your mind) how you will achieve those goals and constantly check-in throughout the year.
There are so many ways to prepare yourself to thrive in the new year and come out of it having grown in a positive direction. The important thing is to at least do something.
I used to go from year to year without setting goals or reflecting. Going from December 31 to January 1 was only significant in that I now had to remember to write a different year.
My husband taught me about its true significance and learning to grow as a person. I feel it’s really changed my life and given me more direction.
I hope these tips help you to have a prosperous new year.