After a very trying year that was shaped by a global pandemic that halted our personal and professional lives, we are all cautiously optimistic for a brand-new year in 2021 after the holiday season. For many, the only New Year’s resolution is for a more pleasant year than last.
The top of a new year brings on new chances to improve yourself, reset, or simply take a break after a stressful, eventful year’s past. Even though there’s no surefire way on how to start a new year off right, here are a few ways you can usher in a new year this month to strive to be your happiest and healthiest.
1. Prioritize your health
After a stressful year for all, your physical, mental and emotional health at the top of another year should take priority in order to kick off your new year right, as your overall health is crucial in getting through another year. Whether you’ve sought out help in 2020 or are still trying to prioritize your health in the middle of a pandemic, your overall health is important and should not be ignored in the new year.
Make time to assess your health mentally and physically and schedule time to seek out resources and small ways to help you kick start your year with the help you need. Whether you are looking to be more physically active or to better yourself mentally by attending therapy, use the top of the year to focus on ways you can be healthier holistically.
2. Consider switching up your daily routine
If you’ve been looking to start and end your day more positively, the beginning of a new year is a great time to switch up or refresh your daily routine. A healthy daily routine improves your productivity and your mood throughout the day and keeps you focus and grounded as you move throughout your day.
Establish a daily routine that meets your needs by evaluating what makes you happy throughout the day, whether it’s finding time to meditate, spending time with your partner, your family, or your pet, or having time to pamper yourself in the mornings or evenings with your beauty routine. Identify what brings you joy and make it a priority to incorporate it throughout your day.
If you already have a daily routine, refresh what it looks like and be more mindful of prioritizing yourself first, avoiding just “getting through” your day robotically. A new year is a great time to shake up your schedule and make room for yourself and new, healthy practices that will carry on throughout the year.
3. Find an accountability partner for your new year’s goals
The new year brings on resolutions and goal-setting to ensure a productive year ahead. If you need that extra push to get you going, identify a friend or your partner to hold you accountable to reach your goals. Having an accountability partner helps you put your goals into perspective and holds you to reach them.
Your accountability partner can also remind you to show yourself more grace and patience throughout the year, as the effort to reach New Year’s resolutions can make us harder on ourselves. Find someone who is not only your coach, but your cheerleader and confidant who can remind you to press forward, but to also take a break and reset when your expectations are weighing heavily on you.
4. Check in on family and friends
We have all been through a tumultuous year, so make sure to check in on family, friends, and loved ones in the new year to express your gratitude for them and to give yourself some joy as well. Positive relationships with family and friends help us get through rough times but also helps us celebrate good ones, so start your new year off right by cultivating and prioritizing those relationships before the year picks up.
If you can’t physically spend time with family and friends due to the pandemic, schedule some Zoom time or even just a quick phone call or text to let them know you’re thinking about them as the year gets started. If there’s anything 2020 has taught us, is that everyone is going through a struggle that you may or may not know about, so connecting with your loved ones can help them get through the beginning of the year and the end of another.
5. Practice gratitude
Ring in the New Year practicing gratitude this year, which helps boosts your mood and refocuses your attention on positivity versus the challenges of the past year. Practicing gratitude helps put another year in perspective, helping you usher in another year on a positive note and being thankful for the year behind. It also helps you reflect on the good in your life rather than the negative, looking ahead in an optimistic, more productive way.
You can practice gratitude in a variety of ways to start to your year. Here are a few great ways to practice gratitude at the beginning of the year:
- Give back monetarily or volunteer your time to an organization or charity that could use some assistance in the new year
- Practice mindfulness by using meditation as a guide to stay present and aware of yourself and your mental health going into another year
- Write down what you’re grateful for from the past year by either journaling or making a simple list to recognize your own hard work and perseverance
- Treat yourself to an at-home spa day, give yourself a gift, or spend the day resting to show yourself some appreciation
- Express your gratitude for someone else by sending them a gift or kind words to start their new year off with appreciation
Gratitude is all about appreciating who you are, what you have, and loved ones around you in the moment; celebrate a new year by giving thanks to yourself each day.
6. Give yourself a moment to rest
We all need a little break mentally and emotionally from the whirlwind that was 2020. Give yourself a much-needed break at the top of the year and find some time to wind down and rest, putting aside the hustle and bustle (and stress) of what a new year brings.
Before ringing in the New Year with a mound of work, New Year’s resolutions, and a host of productive tasks to jump-start your year, give yourself permission to rest before overexerting yourself too early. Rest and relaxation is just as important to your overall health as productivity and goal-setting. If available, carve out some time before jumping back into the swing of things after celebrating the New Year to relax and focus on self-care. Whether you hop right back in the bed to get some much-needed sleep, or binge your favorite TV show or Netflix movie, give yourself some time to decompress to refocus your New Year’s energy on yourself first. This downtime will help you jump start another year at your best physically, and most importantly, mentally.