The start of a new year is a great time to make changes in your life that will improve your health and wellness, add an element of fun, and allow you to reach your goals. Many people do that by setting new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, most people don’t quite achieve those resolutions over the long term. There are some steps you can take to start the new off on a positive note. Most of these don’t require a long-term commitment (and the ones that do start with small steps that are easy to stick to!). Check out this list of nine ways to start the new year off on the right foot.
1. Try Something New
Do you ever feel like you’re in a rut? If you’re starting off the new year bored and unfulfilled, there’s plenty of time to turn that around! Think of something new you’ve been meaning to try and sign up to do it within the next couple of weeks. It might be as simple as visiting a nearby city or as exciting as skydiving out of an airplane. What’s on your “bucket list”? Choose an activity that you can reasonably do in January to get the year off to an adventurous start.
2. Make a List of Life Goals
If you were living your ideal life, what would it look like? Take some time to daydream about some of the goals you’d like to achieve in your lifetime? Don’t be afraid to think big: Remember that you have a whole lifetime to accomplish these goals, so don’t limit yourself! If you look ahead to the next few decades, would you own a home in another country? Maybe you foresee yourself surrounded by rescued cats or you want to learn a new language and speak it fluently. Just write it down, even if it seems unlikely; you never know what the future will bring!
3. Start a Savings Account
Many people start off the new year resolving to save money but never actually put anything in their savings account. If you’ve received any money as holiday gifts, this is the perfect time for you to open an account. You could also spend January working extra hours, walking dogs, babysitting, building websites, or doing whatever you can to earn some extra cash. Put this in your savings account for a rainy day. Once that’s done, you’ll feel secure in the knowledge that if a minor emergency crops up, you’ll have the cash to cover it.
4. Crack Open a New Journal
There’s something satisfying about opening a new journal to begin a new year of writing about what’s important to you. If you’re not currently keeping a journal, this is a great habit to pick up in 2018. If you are, store the one you’re writing in now and start a new one. You could do anything with it: Begin bullet journaling, keep a gratitude journal, or just follow some journaling prompts to get your creative juices flowing.
5. Write a Letter To Yourself
Something fun you can do now is to write a letter to yourself to be opened on the first day of 2019. Write about what you hope you’ll accomplish during the year (keep this list realistic; no need to get 2019 off to a frustrating start if you don’t end up achieving your goals) and give yourself some encouragement to make the next year even better than this one. If you don’t want to open it in just a year’s time, date it for your next milestone birthday or for five or ten years from now.
6. Give Yourself a Makeover
If you are feeling a bit down, nothing will perk you up like a makeover. You don’t have to spend a lot of money: Spring for one new outfit that you feel great in and style your hair differently. If you wear makeup, switch up some of your regular colors. Even one new lipstick in a shade you don’t normally wear can make you smile when you glance in the mirror. Try to walk a bit straighter and carry yourself with more confidence. All of these small changes will help you walk into 2018 feeling better about yourself.
7. Sign Up for a Class
Make 2018 your year to learn something new by signing up for a course. It can be anything at all: You can take free university classes through a site like Coursera. You could also find a local meetup where people are meeting to talk and learn about a topic of interest. Your community center might put on art or music classes. Your local library might sponsor speakers on a variety of topics, too. There are online courses as well as in-person classes that might spark your interest. Look at what’s available in your area and sign up for something fun!
8. Clean Out Your Closet
Do you feel frustrated when you look in your closet every morning? Many people struggle with disorganization, but taking the time to clean out your closet can make your days run more smoothly. Get rid of what you’re not wearing by bringing it to your local thrift shop. This will give you more room in the closet and it will also bless someone else by providing them with used clothing at a low price. You might even try switching unwanted clothes with friends; you just might see something hanging unworn in a friend’s closet that would be perfect for you.
9. Commit to Better Health
While typical new year’s resolutions often fail, making a commitment to better health by taking an actionable step can get your year off to a great start. Hire a personal trainer who will see you weekly through the first month of the year; that might be just what you need to kickstart an exercise plan that lasts. You might also consider signing up for a service that delivers fresh produce to your door each week or each month; that will help you get the healthy fruits and veggies you need for good health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, make a standing weekly appointment with a therapist who can help you gain control of your mental health.
Make 2018 your year to shine by starting the new year off on a positive note. Taking any of these steps will give you something to look back on with pride at the end of the year. Happy new year!
Dr. Nalin is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, and Founder and Executive Director of Paradigm Treatment Centers, who has been a respected leader in the field of adolescent mental health for more than 20 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California, his Master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University, his Doctoral degree from Pacific University’s APA approved Clinical Psychology program, and completed his training at the University of California, San Diego’s APA approved psychology internship program.
Dr. Nalin has provided training and mentoring to students entering the field of psychology at institutions of learning including Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology, UCSD, Pacific University, and Santa Monica College. He was also instrumental in the development of the treatment component of Los Angeles County’s first Juvenile Drug Court, which now serves as a national model.
Dr. Nalin has appeared as an expert on shows ranging from CBS News and Larry King, to CNN, The Today Show and MTV. He was also featured in an Anti-Drug Campaign for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Dr. Nalin is a Diplomate of the National Institute of Sports Professionals and a Certified Sports Psychologist as well as a Certified Chemical Dependency Intervention Specialist. He lectures and conducts workshops nationally on the issues of teen mental health, substance abuse prevention, and innovative adolescence treatment.
In 2017 Dr. Nalin was awarded The Sigmund Freud Foundation and Sigmund Freud University’s Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his work with youth in the field of mental health over the course of his career.