We all want to start the New Year off right, but all your goals and plans don’t have to be in place for the first of January. There seems to be an expectation that we should all be ready to toast the New Year with carefully organised lists intact, a word or theme for the year and a clear vision of where we are headed. A year is a long time, and it is totally okay to take a few weeks – or longer – to get your thoughts, dreams and goals together.
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Start the New Year Off Right – Get a Feel For the Year
Furthermore, just like many people take a few days to name a child or live in a house for months or years to get a feel for it before decorating, to start the new year off right, I think we need to get a feel for the year as well. Every year is unique, and the clock striking twelve on New Year’s Eve is only the beginning of us getting to know it. In my view, this year, as the start of a new decade, has an entirely different feel to it than any other.
So while I have ‘sat with’ the New Year for a little over a week, I’m just getting started with my plans and goals. It’s a process I look forward to each year. For many years, I made a practice of setting New Year Aspirations. I’m still keen on those, but now I have even more techniques to help me focus, plan and dream my way into the New Year. Here are just a few of them. I hope you will pick and choose, and perhaps find a new favourite way to look forward to the year to come.
Choose a word or phrase to focus on for the year
The word or phrase will often come to me before the old year ends and for me is one of the easier ways to start the New Year off right. Last year my word was ‘Expand’. I wanted to expand my horizons, get out into the world more, connect with friends old and new and finally get past some of the issues that have held me back since I lost both my parents during six hellish weeks of late 2007/early 2008.
Keeping the word in mind at all times, as in ‘how can I expand today?’ meant that I started to go to networking groups and began to develop a working presence in real life as well as online. Using social media, the phone and pen and paper, I got in touch with family and friends. I arranged coffee and lunch dates and socialised more on my own (as opposed to as a couple, although I still did plenty of that) than I have in years. Finally going to therapy to talk out some of the anxieties and issues that have held me back for the years following my parents’ deaths was transformational. My ‘expand’ theme for 2019 as a whole was a resounding success.
My Word For 2020
This year my word for the year is ‘Growth’, but there are five areas within it. I want to grow my audience, grow in confidence, in influence, in knowledge and to grow our family’s wealth. Having read You are a Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero earlier this year, I make no apologies for the latter.
Choosing a word or phrase can be fun, and in my experience, very effective too. If it seems like a good idea to you, give it a try. If it feels like hard work, forget about it. Like all of these ideas, everything is optional and you should tweak any ideas you choose to use so that they work for you.
Set Main Goals
To start the New Year off right, it can be helpful to set some main goals. All the goals should be SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Sensitive. Some people feel you should focus solely on one goal, others prefer multiple goals. To each their own, and if goals stress you out, give this one a miss.
I like to have 3 main goals. My first goal this year is to increase my blog traffic to 30,000 individual visitors a month by June 2020. My traffic has gone up over 41 percent in the last year and I am very nearly at Mediavine level so I’ve made a good start.
I’m still choosing my other two main goals. I’ve got a lot of things I want to do personally and professionally so choosing just three main goals to really focus on is hard!
Write your goals down and put them somewhere you see them every day. If you enjoy creating posters or pretty graphics, this is a great time for it.
Choose 20 Things For 2020
I’m a big fan of the Happier podcast and thoroughly enjoyed crafting a list of 18 for 2018 and 19 for 2019. As well as a personal 19 for 2019, my husband and I had a joint list as well. This year, the idea is to choose 20 things to do/achieve in 2020. It is a fun thing to do to help start the New Year off right, and there are lots of ways to look at it.
The 20 things on your list don’t have to be resolutions as such, although they can be if you like. Last year, my personal 19 for 2019 list last year included reaching out to someone at least once a week, either by phone or letter, to spend at least 12 weekends at home, and replace my everyday dinnerware to name a few. One of our joint 19 things for 2019 was to go to Hawaii. It was a trip we thoroughly enjoyed and hope to repeat this year.
I did most of the things on my 19 for 2019 list, but I didn’t achieve all of them. That’s totally okay. There’s nothing to say you can’t carry an item over to the following year, or even amend or delete it if you haven’t completed it and it no longer resonates with you. You can find out more about 20 for 2020 on Gretchen Rubin’s blog. I’m about half way through creating my 20 for 2020 list just now. I may share it when I’ve finished.
Start the New Year Off Right – Be Kind to Yourself
It is so important to treat ourselves with kindness. One of the things I have always struggled with is to learn how to treat myself as kindly as I treat others. If you are in the same boat, check out Be Kind To Yourself for lots of hints and tips on how to make being kind to yourself easier (and fun too!).
Wishing You An Amazing 2020
Whether you are a fan of all this planning and dreaming, or you prefer to let things work out for themselves, I hope that 2020 is an amazing year for you. of course, no year is amazing all the time. Each year presents its own challenges and brings its own joys and sorrows. I pray that the former outweigh the latter for you, and that this will be a year to remember for all the right reasons.