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So Long, Same Old Routine: 10 Ideas to Spark Change and Start Fresh in the New Year

January 9, 2024

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Freshen up your New Year’s goal-planning with these tips.

 

Ah, the New Year.

 

It is a time of brand-new goals, lists of resolutions, and expectations to accomplish great things with a fresh slate.

 

While many of us are motivated to do *all the things* out of the gate, we often lose steam within weeks of January 1st and need help figuring out why.

 

One reason is that we set our sights on the wrong shiny things or try to accomplish something without the right strategies in our back pockets.

 

This list will give you ten surefire strategies to help you spark change, accomplish your promises to yourself, and start fresh in the New Year. Check out the list to get started!

 

 

 

So Long, Same Old Routine: 10 Ideas to Spark Change and Start Fresh in the New Year

 

 

 

1. Make a list of *ins* and *outs* for the new year.

Pause and answer this question: What did you like about last year?

 

Whether it was something as simple as the homemade meals you cooked for yourself or the time you spent with friends and family, surely some things made last year great.

 

Similarly, what didn’t you like about the previous year? Understanding what you didn’t like so much will help you pinpoint how to head into the new year.

 

Instead of making the same ‘ol tired list of resolutions, writing a list of ins and “outs” based on your likes and dislikes will help you narrow down what you enjoy (and like to do more of) and what you’d like to omit from the new year.

 

Having clarity on what worked and what didn’t from previous years is the ultimate way to start fresh in the New Year.

 

visuals for starting fresh and setting goals

 

 

2. Create a “vision” for your year using your preferred method. (vision board not required)

Every New Year, you likely get bombarded with suggestions for creating a vision board. And while vision boards are fantastic and serve a great purpose, they’re not for everyone. 

 

Do whatever is necessary to create a vision for the life you want. A vision board is optional to start fresh in the New Year.

 

As long as you can “see” your goals, the medium you use can be what you prefer.

 

Want alternatives to a traditional vision board? Try writing down your vision as a narrative to see it in your mind.

 

The same goes for writing plans as if they’ve already happened, recording voice notes or videos, and anything else that will help you get clear on the new vision for your life.

 

 

3. Get real on what (or who) needs to be omitted from your life.

The New Year is a natural time to take stock of everything in your life and commit to removing everything (and everyone) that doesn’t serve you.

 

Implementing the necessary changes and omitting detrimental practices, people, jobs, and more is supremely difficult, and it’s why people don’t typically do it.

 

To see noticeable changes and start fresh in the New Year, consider making challenging choices and distancing yourself from things that cause heartache, stress, or adversity.

 

Making these changes may not be easy, but it will ultimately be worth it.

 

4. Be realistic about what you can change, and write down your intentions.

Do you often begin the New Year with infinite goals you want to accomplish, habits to implement, and upgrades to make? If so, having so many things on your plate may be sabotaging your ability to achieve much (or anything).

 

Rather than setting yourself up for being overwhelmed, try being realistic about what you can change when the clock strikes midnight. Narrowing your goals down to one to three in a specific time frame can help reduce stress and make achieving the goals that much easier.

 

Once you have gotten honest about what you can achieve, consider writing down your intentions and your plans to help solidify them in your mind.

 

 

woman making plans and setting goals

 

 

5. Consider adding *one* small, actionable change to your life each month.

Along with being realistic about your goals, taking baby steps can be a significant key to accomplishing what you set out to do. Consider adding a single, small change to your life every month. 

 

Making the changes you want to make bite-size will make them more attainable and less overwhelming than juggling multiple huge things at once.

 

Because you won’t be heading into the year expecting to implement a million new things simultaneously, you’ll ease your way into new habits and goals by gradually adding one actionable change each month.

 

Those are 12 noteworthy accomplishments at the end of the year!

 

 

 

RELATED: 9 Powerful Ways to Implement a Life Reset in the New Year.

 

 

 

6. Create multiple avenues for your goals.

Have you ever tried to start something unfamiliar or implement a habit but got stuck because the one way you had worked out to try it fell through? You likely got stuck because you needed a backup plan and a backup plan for your backup plan. 

 

Rather than attempting to accomplish your goals with a single path in mind, increase your odds of success by creating multiple avenues.

 

For example, if your goal is to run a mile every day, you can plan to run outside every morning. You could also have multiple avenues, like running on your gym’s treadmill if it’s raining in the morning or running outside in the evening after work if you don’t wake up in time. 

 

Creating multiple avenues for your goal increases the likelihood that you’ll always have a way to achieve it.

 

 

7. To reduce your chances of failure, put contingency plans in place.

You know yourself better than anyone. You are well aware of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to making changes and implementing new things.

 

Save yourself time and disappointment by putting contingency plans into place rather than flying unquestioningly into your goals. 

 

If you know you tend to procrastinate, create a contingency plan that considers the habit and can help keep you on track.

 

If you tend to give up on your dreams by month two, brainstorm ways to keep yourself engaged before burnout hits. The goal is to have a backup plan waiting in the wings for setbacks that you’ll likely encounter.

 

 

 

woman writing thoughts and feelings

 

 

8. Be gentle with yourself.

No matter how hard we try, only some things we do will work out exactly as we hoped. Getting your inner perfectionist to take a backseat will do wonders for accomplishing your goals and enjoying the ride along the way. 

 

At the risk of sounding cliche, life is a marathon, not a sprint. Be gentle with yourself and show some self-compassion throughout your journey.

 

Take the pressure to be perfect and execute everything you set out to do flawlessly (on the first try) off of yourself. 

 

 

9. Don’t wait! Reward your wins in the moment.

If you find yourself saying, “I’ll celebrate when…” or “I’ll reward myself when…” it’s time to stop putting it off.

 

When you hit a milestone or achieve something that gets you closer to your goal, it’s worthwhile to take the time to celebrate. These mini-rewards and celebrations help to reinforce your accomplishments, boost your mood, and motivate you to keep going.

 

The rewards don’t have to be large or grand. A celebratory gift can be as simple as an inexpensive token from one of your favorite stores or a 1-hour uninterrupted spa night. The intent is to reinforce the good habits and achievements you’ve displayed as encouragement to continue. 

 

So whenever you notice that you’re on the right track and making progress on your goals, don’t be afraid to reward yourself at the moment (or soon after).

 

 

10. Keep track of your progress.

Think about an accomplishment that you’ve made in the past. Did you achieve what you set out to do with no tracking along the way? It’s doubtful that you succeeded at your goal without monitoring your progress.

 

Knowing how much progress you’ve made can be challenging if you aren’t keeping track of it. Every day you exercise, make a homecooked meal, meditate, or do whatever you’re striving towards, be sure to make a note somewhere to keep track.

 

Bonus: If you like how an unbroken streak toward your goal looks on a calendar, keeping track of your progress is a great way to use this motivational tool. 

 

 

The Takeaway

Whether you’re the type who welcomes a brand-spankin’ new year with open arms or reluctantly rings it in, there are countless ways to start fresh in the New Year.

 

Getting realistic with yourself by creating contingency plans, creating alternate avenues for your desired outcome, and figuring out what worked and what didn’t in previous years can help you plan and achieve your goals more comfortably. 

 

The New Year is the perfect opportunity to break free from the mundane. Refrain from letting the monotony of the same old routine and strategies hold you back. With these fresh ideas, you’ll increase your success odds and make every moment count.

 

Do you have any fresh start suggestions for heading into the New Year? Leave them in the comments down below!

start fresh in the New Year with planning and goals

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Founder. Creative. Innovator. Artist. Writer. I'm here to take you along with me as we explore personal development, lifestyle, wellness, and self-care... together.

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