Each January comes with a great deal of pressure. After spending a large part of the previous month gorging and buying into a consumerist culture that leaves us wondering where all of that money actually went? We do a 180. It’s a new year, so we resolve to save money and cut out the types of food we’ve recently eaten in excess. Although there’s beauty in the clean slate of a new year, that’s not to say that plans and preparations can’t be made prior to it. We don’t have to wait until the clock strikes 12 on the very last day of the year. Deciding what changes to make and how we plan to spend the year ahead can be made beforehand. I’ve already been considering the start of a new decade (scary, right?). Here’s how I’m getting a head start on the new year.
At the beginning of this year, I spoke about the necessity of attainable resolutions and setting them into motion immediately. Whilst I stand by this, my personal goals have next year looking like a very busy one. I’m attempting to keep on top of things the best way I know how, by planning. I’ve been determined to get a head start on the new year in the following ways.
One of the most effective ways to improve is to reflect and I love looking back on the year. Not only do I suss out what I can improve on but also what the highlights were. This allows me to make more time for whatever those may be. Sometimes it serves as a reminder that ‘progress’ isn’t the only measure of achievement. Self-development and having made some fantastic life-long memories like travel count as a win for me, and other things can too.
Reflections aren’t about giving yourself a hard time, full-stop. I do find it helpful though, to work out what I wanted to achieve that I didn’t manage to. I can then reassess and either put these ideas to bed or work out how I can push myself to achieve them next year instead.
QUALITY OF LIFE
I’m a worrier and recently had a bit of a mild quarter-life crisis. (Now I think of it, I might still be having one). It’s seen me questioning just about every single goal and plan of mine until retirement. That includes worrying, at the age of 24, whether my pension is large enough (spoiler: obviously not).
What most, if not all of us, strive to achieve is a good quality of life. Whilst pensions are important, I’ve realised that I need to work on striking a better. A balance between my quality of life now as well as in the future. For me, that means prioritising short-term goals as well as keeping the longer-term ones somewhere attainable, in the back of my mind.
Instead of sitting around waiting until the new year rolls around, I’m making changes now. I’m getting myself back in the gym more regularly so that I feel better and can (sensibly) indulge over the Christmas period without feeling guilty. I’m continuing to take the vitamins that help me to feel good and over the last couple of months, I have also introduced CDB drops into my routine. I’d heard so many good things about their benefits from friends and was hoping that they’d help me feel more rested and less anxious. Whilst Mistatera boast many benefits in terms of energy, performance, and focus, I’ve noticed the biggest difference in my mindset. They’ve been helping to ease my stress and anxieties and have allowed a slightly calmer, more relaxed outlook. Obviously, I keep them handy for whenever stress-inducing topics like pensions or mortgages come up, ha.
I tend to sleep well but still often feel as though I’ve not had quite enough. Although I was sceptical at first about CBDs ability to help me in this regard, over the last month or so there seem to have been more mornings in which I’ve woken up and have felt properly rested. If you’d like to try CBD drops out and see how they can benefit you in the new year, then I have good news, Mistatera is currently sending out free 2ml glass bottles of their product (you just need to pay for shipping).
Having goals is one of my biggest motivators. I love visualising my goals and like them to be as detailed as possible. Tracking progress is helpful as it’s reassuring to know that you are, indeed, moving forward. It also helps to manage expectations about how quickly you can realistically achieve the things you want to.
One sure way of getting a head start on the new year is to set your goals for that year before it even officially starts. That way you’re past the planning stages and into the get sh*t done stages in day one. Having specific goals will also help towards making helpful and relevant new years resolutions. We’re hoping to buy our first home next year and so I know exactly how much ££ I want to have saved by the end of this year. Having specifics like this in mind is more constructive. The closer we get to our goal, the more we want to push towards it. In turn, we’re more likely to say no to unnecessary spending.
Resolution planning is so much more effective after a little reflection time and once you have goals in mind. Once you’ve figured out past shortfalls, you’re already on track to improvement. By knowing your goals you can put productive resolutions firmly in place straight away. I know I’ve already touched on this, but make them attainable and take steps to actually put them into action. It’s so important.
I recently listened to a Podcast (Hashtag Authentic 62) the other day in which guest Anna Newton advises a three things a day rule. The suggestion is to set yourself three things to do a day, so as to be more realistic with our to-do lists and avoid overwhelming ourselves. I really suggest the same approach when it comes to resolutions. Setting a few attainable and realistic goals will ultimately be more rewarding than setting too many, becoming overwhelmed and eventually giving up on them all.
Self-improvement can tie into the previous goal-setting and resolution categories to a degree. However, my resolutions are often forged heavily from my goals. As I’ve mentioned, these are as specific as possible, so can often take the shape of trackable or tick-box exercises. For example, my goal to buy our first house will form a resolution to save X amount of money and then to house hunt and finally buy. This is a distinct series of steps and once complete I can tick it off.
If I find that my goals and resolutions predominantly take this shape then I also find it worthwhile heading back to my reflections and figuring out what I enjoyed the most and what I didn’t do as much of as I wanted to. I consider these with more of a self-improvement hat on, not what goals can I achieve but how can I generally work on myself? This is less trackable in many circumstances but I’m okay with that, as long as I know I’m moving forward.
I view these almost as less serious resolutions, but they’re helpful to consider and keep in mind. Last year I set myself a Good Reads challenge which I’m happy I exceeded. Recently (and this, for example, is less trackable) I’ve been listening to less Apple Music (basically the same songs on shuffle) in the car and have been listening to Podcasts instead. Maybe I’ll write up my favourite ones sometime. I’ve already mentioned one within this post and it acts as an example of the kind of value I’m gaining. That’s not to say that I don’t still enjoy music. It’s scary though, to think about how many hours per week I was mindlessly doing so purely out of habit. I’m now opening my mind to new ideas, learning about marketing and hearing from interesting people on the days I don’t fancy a singalong.
GET A HEAD START ON THE NEW YEAR
These are the steps that I’ve personally found incredibly helpful in getting a head start on the new year. Obviously, they can be adapted to suit however you best plan and visualise. Really, the message is: Don’t allow yourself the common excuse of waiting until the new year to implement change. If you have any goals or changes you’d like to make, imagine how far ahead you could already be at the start of 2020 by starting today.