I am so happy to be starting a new year. I try to make opportunities for fresh starts as often as I can. It is the perfect opportunity to reset and right anything that isn’t going as well as it could be and to continue doing things that have been working well.. all this in search for the best possible version of one’s self and one’s life. Here are some suggestions for making the most of any fresh start.. whether it be a new calendar year, new school year, beginning of a new semester, job, business venture, hobby… or whether it is just time to try something differently.
1- Set yourself up with a clean slate. An easy way to make a change is to start with as clean of a slate as you can. This can be done with the things around you to give you that new feeling. Try washing your sheets, getting a new toothbrush, starting a fresh notebook, grocery shopping and cleaning you house. If you really want to feel light and free of burdens, try purging your home of things you don’t wear/use/read/want any more and donating them or giving to friends..or sell them for some extra money. All of these things give me the feeling of a fresh start and little energy boost to tackle a new beginning.
2- Planning ahead. This might seem very obvious, but failing to plan is planing to fail. Sit down at the beginning of your ‘fresh start’ and make a plan. Get a good planner that works with your lifestyle (for some people this might be a notebook and for others it may mean several planners, notebooks or a online calendar) and write your goals and ideas down on paper. Once you have them written down, you are more committed to sticking to that plan. Try to write down goals, commitments and important dates/events and as often as possible, attach these to a date. It is easier to stick to something when there is a solid deadline to accomplish them by.
3- Make it easy on yourself. Set yourself up for as much success as possible by putting in the work ahead of time. Plan meals and prep them ahead of time to avoid grabbing prepared foods in a rush. Buy supplies for a project before you want to start it. Look into and tour gyms and buy a membership before your first workout. Set out clothes and pack bags the night before so there is less running around to do in the morning. All of these relatively simple steps can help reduce procrastination and even get you motivated to actually do what it is you want to do.
4- Don’t put too much pressure on the first day. It is easy when embarking on a new adventure to put a lot of pressure on the first day or first time. If you avoid this you can avoid getting down on yourself too soon. When signing up for a gym, go to the gym to buy your membership and take a tour- don’t plan to work out that day. When trying a new eating plan, don’t try a complicated recipe on the first day..stick to something you either already know how to do or are comfortable with doing. When pursuing goals for a new year, start after the first week has passed instead of on January 1st. It is easy to get carried away with enthusiasm and the desire to see results immediately that often we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and our first start that we are disappointed pretty quick. Don’t forget that all experts were once beginners and it is okay not to start out being perfect. It is a process and takes time to get the feel for something new.
5-Celebrate ‘firsts’. When a new year hits or you are starting a new project, take advantage of ‘firsts’ to keep your enthusiasm going. At the beginning of a new year celebrate first breakfast, first date, first weekend, first workout, first new recipe, first book.. sky is the limit really but if you keep talking the opportunity to celebrate when you can, you can keep motivated and excited about what you’re doing.
6- To move forward you have to stop spending time and energy on the past. This is much easier said than done, but in order to throw yourself into your new beginning, you can’t keep dwelling on your past. Obsessing about what you could have done or the way an interaction went keeps you from putting your all into your present and future goals.
There is no one way to start fresh and best set yourself up for success. Above are a few things that work for me. I love the exciting feeling that comes with the opportunity to set something right, start a new venture or simply trying to be the best version of myself that I can. What are some things that work for you? How do you plan to accomplish your 2017 goals or succeed in something new?