Changing habits is hard. You can make it a little easier by starting off on the right foot. A little prep work never hurt anyone. While we are still in this first jump of the year, implement these 10 steps to set your year up for success.
1. Get a planner
I know. It’s such a “duh” thing. But do you have one? Bigger question- is it filled out? Start getting in the habit of being someone who uses a planner, if you aren’t already! Yes your phone, but a physical planner you can write in is important. I’m all for saving the trees but there is also something behind writing down your plans. It helps your brain remember it to a greater degree than typing will. GET A PLANNER. USE THE PLANNER.
On Sunday (or whenever, weekly) set aside time to fill out the planner for the week. This is when you add the things you don’t plan out too far ahead, like when you’ll grocery shop, daycare drop-off, weird work events, etc. But it’s equally important you keep this planner on your person. If you can’t fill it out when someone is trying to schedule something with you, what good is it? (Your other option is to be good about checking your phone weekly to see if you scheduled something on your virtual calendar.)
2. Deep clean a room
Pick a room! Any room. They probably all have something you’ve been putting off. Behind the entertainment center, the baseboards, under the bed, under the rug, the crack just outside the front and back doors that manages to collect a lot of nasty. Even clean people have something they hate doing and to start the year, get it out of the way.
It’s easier to start a clean slate to form new habit when you’re living in a clean space.
3. Do some feng shui updates
I’;ll be the first to admit when I’m moving in somewhere, it’s such a whirlwind that the rules of feng shui are totally not on my mind. Even a room set-up properly at the first of the year will have energy changes and small things moved around or clutter that gathers in a new spot that should be reset when another year begins.
For organization and hippie newbies feng shui is “a system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (qi), and whose favorable or unfavorable effects are taken into account when siting and designing buildings.”
I am NOT a feng shui expert my any means. I definitely have to Google what the latest tips are and remind myself of the basics frequently but the three big ones that are easy to remember and take with you from here on out are:
- Place your bed, desk, stove, and main living-sitting piece in a command position
- Unclutter your entryway(s)
- Repair or expel broken objects
4. Pick a word for the year
So this idea didn’t start with me at all. I stole this from my church. Christian or not I promise this is something to adopt. How we do it: our pastor takes the time to write down dozens of meaningful words (one per piece) on wooden stars. They are face down as we select one at the first service of the year. Now when you are doing this at home, you can pick from a hat you’ve written down a bunch on, have Google generate a word, use a decision maker app, or don’t make it random- sit down and intentionally think of a word you will go after.
Personally, I prefer the random word because it’s easy to live up to a word you’re picking but if you want to challenge yourself to grow during the year a random word can make you tap into something you wouldn’t have thought to.
5. Wake up earlier
Fight me. Ask any successful person when they wake up. They are NOT sleeping in till 10am. Even rock stars aren’t afforded that life much anymore.
Not to say you CAN’T be successful and rise up while being someone who sleeps in but the odds aren’t in your favor. A study in 2014 found that early risers had less negative thinking than those who sleep in. Research also suggests that those who wake up earlier, go to sleep sooner and end up with longer, better quality sleep than those who stay up.
Need some additional incentive (other than being more likely to reach your goals) then check these out:
- peaceful mornings
- extra time (to work out/organize the day/actually have breakfast)
- getting to “wake up” before the day starts
- improved cognitive function (according to a 2010 study.)
6. Track Your Habits
Don’t just think you’re keeping up with your new habit, TRACK IT. Or what I find even more useful, tracking the habit you want to drop. Getting a real grip on how often you’re doing something you say you don’t want to do. Either way, there are helpful little charts you can print out to stay organized and make it easy to hold yourself accountable. SEE HERE.
7. Schedule all your appointments
UGH! You read this and you’re already mad because you don’t want to do it but also know it’s smart and super helpful. Bite the bullet. Avoid big expenditures for medical care later by doing the $50 copay this month to upkeep your health. But yeah, it’s annoying.
Appointments that might be relevant to you:
- family doctor check up
- Special docs you may see (dermatologist/chiropractor/physical therapy/OBGYN etc)
- vision screening
- car (oil change/brakes/tires)
- house (a/c inspection/plumbing/roofing/pest control/landscaping)
8. Revisit your budget
Have a budget you made? Budgets should always be revisited. Whether it’s att he first of the year, tax season or some time after, it needs to be a yearly occurrence (at least) if you want it to successfully help you get to your financial goals or if you want it to maintain status quo. Your income, property tax, cost of goods are all things that change every year and in the last two years it’s been more up and down than ever before. If you haven’t since the start of the pandemic- it’s time to sit down and start your budget over from scratch.
Remember to be HONEST when budgeting or it won’t work!
9. Clear virtual junk
This one feels like an endless time consuming void- but you can do it! READ the texts, delete the emails you don’t intend to ever open, CLEAR your “deleted” folders. Go through your photos and delete irrelevant memes, duplicate photos, similar pics, and accident screenshots. A big one I want to tackle this year is my music library. So much crap I downloaded that I ALWAYS skip over on shuffle. No reason for it to take up space on my phone when I can just stream it the handful of times I want to hear it. Own up to your virtual clutter and get rid of it.
10. Update your contact information for people
One last annoying task to get out of the way and start your year feeling prepared and already a success… update your contacts.
This is more than deleting old ones. This is full updates. Time to complete their profile. Get their address in with their name, email, birthday, business address etc. It ends up being a whole inconvenience waiting around for someone to text you back about their address that you know they have already sent you before but you “can’t find the message.” Stop doing the same thing and expecting different results on that one.
HOT TIP: Save important information about them in the notes sections such as allergies, special dates, or random gift ideas.
A lot of what happens to you is ENTIRELY IN YOUR HANDS. Wild sh*t can happen but if you have done a full year prep before the first quarter of the year is done, you are in good shape to fully handle that sh*t without breaking stride.
Don’t be afraid to commit to a new game plan. One where you buckle down, be daring, be different and be a you that is thriving this year.