Most of us would agree that 2017 was stressful AF. But even though our world was bombarded with a tumultuous political climate, natural disasters, and an unbelievable amount of sexual harassment scandals, that doesn’t mean you should just throw in the towel, chug a bottle of tequila, and call it a day (ahem, year).
Instead of calling this year a wash, this is the perfect time to turn things around on a personal level so you can bring in the 2018 year with a stress-free outlook. Whether you write down new goals or partake in self-care, here are seven things you can do now so you don’t stress out when the new year arrives.
1. Create a list of goals by working backwards
New year, new goals, right? Take some time out of your day to dig deep into your consciousness to figure out exactly what you want out of this year. Don’t think of long-term resolutions, which can totally stress you out, but instead, come up with short-term goals that you can complete in three months (or less) to help keep things realistic. The best way to do that is by working backwards.
For instance, if you want to get a new job by March, break down the steps you’ll need to do to complete that task. Consider how many jobs you’d like to apply for, if you’d need to update your résumé, what kind of companies you’d like to work for, etc. Once you figure out the steps, then you’ll be able to easily knock them off your list until you get closer to your goal.
2. Clean your home from top to bottom
Nothing is better than starting the new year with a clean home. Take a few hours out of your day to tackle one area of your home every other day. Get rid of things that no longer serve you, clean areas that haven’t seen a sponge in years, donate things that could use a good home, and sage your home to get rid of any bacteria in the air. This cleanse will not only make you feel accomplished, but will also help you feel relaxed come the new year because you’ll know exactly where everything is. Plus, having structure and feeling organized at the beginning of the year will allow you to focus on your job, loved ones, and, truthfully, yourself.
3. Answer all your emails and clean out your inbox
While we’re discussing purging, it’s also a good idea to do a digital cleanse. Go through your inbox and delete anything you no longer need, unsubscribe from newsletters, and return emails that got lost in your account. Then, once you’ve completed that, re-organize your inbox so you know exactly where everything is. This is the perfect time to clean out your inbox because everyone is most likely on hiatus due to the holiday. You won’t have to fight incoming emails and feel overwhelmed when you know you should be focusing on other things. Pro tip: a bottle of wine will help make this grueling process a lot easier. Just sayin’.
4. Do the thing you need the most to take care of yourself
Whether that means starting off the year with a new haircut or taking as many baths as humanly possible, it’s important to schedule some “me time” to help you feel empowered for the new year. While cleaning your home and writing your goals down are important, none of it will matter if you don’t feel good about yourself. Also, this is the perfect time to get your health in check. Talk to a therapist or finally schedule that dentist appointment. Essentially, whatever you distinguish to be considered “self-care,” make sure to incorporate more of those practices into your holiday break, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed with your workload when you get back to your daily grind in the new year.
5. Reflect on your accomplishments from the past year
Knocking yourself down because you felt like you didn’t accomplish everything you wanted to this year can put you in a negative mood and cause you to feel immense pressure about the new year — and that’s no way to begin a new chapter in your life, right? Instead, think of the things you’ve accomplished and how much growth you’ve experienced this year. No matter how large or small that list may be, it’s important to take this time to reflect and see how far you’ve come. Remember: it’s important to be kind to yourself. Whether or not you accomplished as much as you wanted this year, that doesn’t mean this time was a waste. The purpose of your life is to learn and eventually evolve into the person you are meant to become — and sometimes that means there are years where you grow and learn instead of accomplishing a dream.
6. Do something smart with your bonus
If you’re lucky to have a job where your boss gives you a bonus at the end of the year because of your hard work, then do something smart with it so you don’t enter the new year with any new regrets. While there’s nothing wrong with going on a little shopping spree (because I did mention to indulge in a little self-care, after all), it’s an even better idea to figure out how that bonus can make your life easier for the new year. Deposit the majority of it into your savings account, create a “fun” account for future travel expenses, or pay off debt that you’ve been avoiding this past year.
Doing any one of these things will allow you to feel a little at ease when it comes to your finances, which we all know is the culprit for most stress in everyone’s lives.
7. Do one thing you’re afraid to do
While it sounds counterintuitive to do something that may stress you out before the new year begins, your newfound bravery can trickle into the new year. Think about it — the hardest thing about trying something new is usually the moment before you actually do it; the resistance that you feel makes your palms sweaty and head spin. But instead of holding yourself back or saying, “I’ll just wait ‘til the new year to begin this journey,” doing something that you’re afraid of now may give you that extra nudge to continue to move forward and won’t make the new year seem so scary because you’ve already taken that first step.
Best way to begin? By not focusing on multiple things that scare you. Pick one thing you’ve been meaning to check off your list, figure out what you need to do to accomplish it, and pursue it. Remember: the only thing that’s in your way is you. No one is telling you no besides you — so why would you stop yourself from accomplishing something great, especially if it will benefit you in the new year?
What are some ways you plan to organize yourself before the end of the year ends? Let us know in the comments below!