Most of us like to start the New Year off right, with a bit of a plan in place to help us make the most the clean slate January first provides. That said, your goals and plans don’t all have to be in place on that exact date. There often seems to be an expectation that we should be ready to toast the New Year with carefully organised lists intact and a clear vision of where we are headed. However, a year is a long time, and it is totally okay to take a while to get your thoughts, dreams and goals together.
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Start the New Year Off Right – Get a Feel For the Year
I do like to have some of my plans and goals in place at midnight on New Year’s Eve. However, 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. Both 2020 and 2021 taught me that! So don’t feel pressured, this process is supposed to be fun!
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. For example, in 2019 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 were holding me back.
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. On the whole, my ‘expand’ theme for 2019 was a resounding success. My themes for 2020 and 2021 were harder to stay focused on with all that has been happening in the world, but they still helped me.
My Words and Theme For 2022
This year my word for the year is ‘Fun’, and my theme is Playful.
I chose the word ‘fun’ because although we have been having some really fun experiences recently, when it comes to day to day life, I rarely allow myself to do the things I really enjoy. I haven’t even been taking time out to read or indulge in any of my other hobbies. I plan to focus a lot more on things I enjoy doing on a day to day basis in 2022.
My ‘playful’ theme is to remind me to take time out and allow myself time for fun.
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, you need to choose the ones that resonate with you. And feel free to ‘tweak’ them if you want to.
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 read 52 books, one each week. If you would like to see some of the books I’ve been reading lately, please check out my bookstore on Bookshop.org. (affiliate link)
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 22 Things For 2022
I’m a big fan of the Happier podcast and have thoroughly enjoyed crafting these annual lists every year since 2018. This year, the idea is to choose 22 things to do/achieve in 2022.
The things on your list don’t have to be resolutions as such, although they can be if you like. In previous years, my personal lists have included reaching out by phone or letter to someone at least once a week and replace my everyday dinnerware. In 2019, my husband and I also had a joint list of 19 for 2019. This included various trips we wanted to take and also a few tasks we wanted to accomplish around our home. 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.
Most years I do many of the things on my list, but I do not always achieve all of them. Honestly, my 20 for 2020 was a bit of a disaster! 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 an item if you haven’t completed it and it no longer resonates with you. You can find out more about these lists on Gretchen Rubin’s blog.
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 2022
Whether you are a fan of all this planning and dreaming, or you prefer to let things work out for themselves, I hope that 2022 is an amazing year for you and that it will be a year to remember for all the right reasons.