4 Tips to Prepare for the New Year

Another year is coming in hot! How do you like to prepare for the fresh 365 days that are ahead of us? As we enter a new year, it’s a perfect time to start fresh and create routines, rituals, and habits for the year ahead. This is the time to get organized and set yourself up for success with meaningful habits that will help you reach your goals. The end of the year is a great opportunity to reflect on the last 52 weeks and look forward to the exciting possibilities of what lies ahead and make some plans.

I love the fresh slate of a new year! Even a new month or week…I even love Mondays for that reason. I might be a bit weird. Whether you embrace resolutions and goal-setting or avoid them like the plague there is a lot to ponder in the countdown to the new year.

4 Tips to Prepare for the New Year

1. End-of-Year Review

Here are a few things I like to reflect on the year that is coming to an end:

  • What worked well? 
  • Did any of my ideas or projects flop?
  • What do I want more of in the new year?
  • And finally, what would I like to leave behind as the year closes?

From there I drill down a bit more:

  • Projects: Each project teaches me something new and presents its own challenges.
    • Which ones did I enjoy the most? More of those please in the new year!
  • Clients: Collaboration with other creative people is my favorite thing about my job. Collaborating is a process that I’m continually working to improve.
    • Where could the communication process have been better?
    • I like to create a new ideal customer profile based on my favorite clients and projects.
  • Income: It is essential to track income and notice trends. Which type of project is getting booked most? Which are more profitable?
    • Is there a need for a new service in the new year?
    • Is there a service that can be eliminated?
  • Expenses: Review all expenses, especially subscriptions and eliminate or cancel any that are no longer needed. Bonus, you will be a step ahead for tax preparation.

2. Resolutions & Goals

  • One Word – for years I have chosen a word for the year. This past year was Action. I’m still pondering my word for the new year but I’m thinking about Habits since I’ve been on a question (see below) to improve my habits. 
  • Resolutions – I can’t resist the urge to set some NY resolutions. Usually, they fall by the wayside by mid-February, but each year I do it anyway. To me, resolutions are more idealistic than goals.
  • Goal setting -Goals are more focused than resolutions. I like to focus on SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely) goals and set baby steps to help me get there. Personally, I think “attainable” should feel just out of reach. If you met or came close to your income goal in the current year add 10-30% so you are stretching yourself a bit. 

3. Habits

4 Tips to Prepare for the New Year

This year I was very interested in habit hacking and creating new habits. I read (and listened to) Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s a great book and it gave me some new ideas, inspiration, and insights into my habits. The book covers both how to build new habits and how to break bad ones. 

My morning routine is good but I need to add exercise into the equation. Fitting in movement or exercise is my biggest struggle. That is the biggest reason I read the book. I still haven’t hacked it but I’m going to try something new for January. 

When I went full-time with Bellano and quit my corporate job, I made it a point to get ready for the day and make the bed every morning. I have set office hours and it feels good to have a routine. I work all day and before I know it it’s time to make dinner. Then there are evening chores and relaxing. At the end of the day, I feel defeated that I didn’t fit in a walk or any movement at all.

James (we are on a first-name basis in my head) suggests baby steps and starting with just one little step toward the habit you want to build. Like just go to the gym. Don’t even worry about working out yet. Focus on the habit of going. Once you are going to the gym regularly then you can add one exercise. And then another and another. Until you’ve reached your goal of going to the gym and completing a workout. 

Habit stacking is the idea of adding something to your established habits. Adding time for exercise doesn’t work at the completion of my morning routine because I feel a strong pull to get to work. I’m going to try adding it to the beginning of my morning routine. Instead of going straight to the shower I will put on my workout clothes and go downstairs to the treadmill and then add my current morning routine to the end of a walk.

4. Habit Tracking

Habit tracking is a fun way to stay on top of your habit goals. It makes your progress visual. It is motivating for me to see my progress and I don’t want to break the chain once I have a streak going. I used to have an app on my phone called Don’t Break the Chain and while I love phone apps I would forget to use it at times. 

I’ve tried a few habit trackers and couldn’t find one that really felt right to me, so I made two! The yearly tracker I plan to use for the daily exercise/movement goal. On the monthly tracker, I will add a couple of other goals like reading daily, consistent content creation, and a few others. 

Here’s to a successful new year! I’m cheering for you!

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