Inside: Use these tips to create your fresh start in the new year by getting clear on your priorities and plans.

Sometimes, you just need a fresh start.

While it’s never a bad time to pick up a new hobby, build a new habit, say goodbye to the things that no longer serve you, or completely overhaul your life, there’s something about making big changes around the new year that just feels right. 

And it makes sense. Moving from one year to the next is a perfect opportunity to compartmentalize all the things you want to bid farewell to in the new year. And gives you a clean, definitive starting point for what lies ahead. 

That’s why so many of us spend the days leading up to the new year writing down our resolutions, or setting our intentions, in hopes that January 1st will be the start of something new and exciting.

Let’s look at how you can give yourself the fresh start you’ve been craving as we enter the new year.

While there’s no magic switch to flip that can change the way you live, think, and act, there are meaningful steps you can take to say farewell to old memories, habits, and routines – and embrace the newness that lies ahead. 

fresh start

Tips for the New Year: How to Get a Fresh Start

Regardless of what a fresh start might look like for you, one thing’s certain – it won’t happen without a little effort and commitment. By focusing your energy, defining your goals, and putting plans in place to make them happen, you can realize the change you’re hoping to see in your life.

Not sure how to make it happen? Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan for the new year. 

1. Declutter your life. 

There’s never a bad time to declutter, but the new year is a great motivator to get rid of the stuff that is no longer serving you. There are various things you can declutter from your life for a fresh start to the new year.

Decluttering your physical space can help you enter the new year with renewed focus, clarity, and awareness. It can encourage creativity and critical thinking, making it easier to tackle new projects, pick up new hobbies or revisit old ones.

And it can even improve your physical health, eliminating hiding places for dust and dirt that can exacerbate allergies and other conditions. 

While your physical space might be the most obvious one to declutter, it isn’t the only thing you should consider.

Decluttering your digital space can also work wonders on your mental well-being.

How many unread emails are sitting in your inbox? How many phone numbers are in your address book that you are literally never going to call again?

What about your friends on social media – are they all people you want to have such a level of insight into your life? 

Speaking of friends, you may also benefit from decluttering your relationships. The new year is a great time to pause and reflect on the people in your life.

Are your relationships serving you – or are they leaving you exhausted, stressed out, or upset? This might be a great time to consider putting some distance between people who take more than they give, or setting healthy boundaries with those who tend to overstep.

how to set goals in the new year

2. Reflect on the progress you made over the last year – and the goals you didn’t achieve. 

Looking back on all you’ve accomplished – and what you didn’t – is a great first step to take when giving yourself a fresh start.

While it may not be pleasant, it’s a good idea to recognize where things didn’t go the way you wanted. You shouldn’t approach this with a mindset of failure; instead, it’s important to focus on the opportunity for growth.

Not only will this give you some inspiration for what you might want to focus on in the year ahead, but understanding how you fell short can help you make the adjustments needed to thrive in the new year. 

It’s even more important to celebrate your wins – little or big. What good things happened during the year? Did you move states, buy a house, or change your job? Start a new relationship – or step away from one that was toxic?

Did you fall in love with a new hobby, go to an unforgettable concert, or take a trip to someplace new? Maybe you read a few good books, got more consistent with your habits, or made your mental health a priority.

Material or not, these wins are worth recognizing and reflecting upon. It’s a great way to give yourself some positive momentum as you move into the new year, ready to tackle a whole new set of goals, changes, and challenges. 

fresh start in the new year

3. Set your goals and intentions for the year ahead.

Once you’ve spent some time celebrating your wins and learning from your shortcomings, it’s time to identify what you’d like to accomplish in the year ahead. 

Grab a journal and a pen, find a comfortable place to sit, and start writing down everything you hope to achieve. These goals might be specific, with clear actions you can take to achieve them: 

  • Volunteer 100 hours in support of a cause I believe in.
  • Run a 5k – or a half marathon. 
  • Save $10,000. 
  • Travel to Thailand. 

Or they might be a little more open-ended in terms of how to achieve them:

  • Worry less.
  • Be more spontaneous. 
  • Enjoy life to the fullest.

While there is no “right” or “wrong” number of goals to set, it’s a good idea to be realistic about what you can achieve in the new year. You can’t do everything, and convincing yourself that you can is only going to set you up for failure and disappointment.

Instead, hone in on the goals that will bring you the most joy and well-being and put your energy into making them a reality. 

fresh start in the new year

4. Identify meaningful steps you can take to achieve those goals.

Defining your goals is a great way to get a fresh start in the new year, but in order to achieve them, it’s a good idea to make a plan. By identifying specific actions you can take to reach your goals and anticipating how you’ll incorporate them into your routine, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Here are some examples:

Is your goal to establish a good morning routine in the new year? Start by spending some time defining what exactly that means to you. What time will you wake up? What do you want to do? And how can you make it easier to start new habits that will help you succeed?

You might set an alarm, set the timer on your coffee pot to automatically brew each morning, keep your journal by your bedside, or leave a sticky note on your bathroom mirror with a list of what you want to accomplish before you head to work. 

Is your goal to save a certain amount of money in the new year? Start by putting a reminder on your calendar each payday to transfer a specific amount into your savings account – or automate the process so you don’t even have to think about it.

Do you hope to travel to a new destination? Begin by making a list of everything you need to do to make that happen. That could include things like renewing your passport, purchasing a plane ticket, and planning your itinerary. Set time-bound goals to accomplish each step of the process. 

By breaking your big goals into bite-sized, actionable pieces, you’ll set yourself up to achieve them without overwhelming yourself. 

5. Give yourself some grace.

Changing old habits and routines is easier said than done. 

While the new year might be a great motivator for making big changes, shifting your outlook, and setting new goals, it’s important to recognize that it’s hard to change everything overnight. 

Keep this in mind as you approach the new year and give yourself grace if you slip up or stumble. Resist taking an all-or-nothing approach as you work towards your goals.

Give yourself a break and let it be ok to have an off day or two. Recognize what happened and refocus on what you want to achieve to help yourself get back on track.

Continue taking small steps toward your goals and don’t give up. Failure only occurs when you decide to stop trying. Every day can be a fresh start and a chance for a new beginning.

How do you give yourself a fresh start in the new year? Leave a comment and let me know!

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  1. I caught a nasty bug in the New Year, with no energy. My attention span when awake was zilch. What did I do? I sat in a comfortable chair next to some filing cabinets and drawers, with a large waste basket at my side and I started purging! I now have a 30″ deep filing drawer empty and an equally deep shallow drawer EMPTY! Over two wastebaskets full of stuff went into recycling, with a smaller pile of brand-new hanging file folders to donate. This was so doable in short periods of time. I can’t wait to do more. Thank you for your practical tips! Cathy

  2. This is like food for my soul. Reading this alone made me feel like I was been decluttered. Thank you. Can I have this sent to me so I can read this a few more time to use as my guide.

    Thank you and best wishes for you as we unfold 2023.

  3. I was writing in my journal for the first time in years. I had the idea to make 2 columns. one for more and one for less of what I want for the future. then I made 2 more columns, happy, sad. it was good to write down for the first time what made me feel happy. simple things like trees, leaves, butterflies etc.
    I’ve been surprised how light I’ve felt after giving away 4 large garden bags of my fantasy clothes and shoes and now I have empty shelves in my wardrobe. I’ve given lots away on my local buy nothing group. I didn’t believe the difference it would make. I have brain space now to be creative. it’s felt like taking off a heavy black coat and stepping into the light.

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