Whether it’s a new job, apartment or even a relationship, there’s something about a fresh start that gives us a renewed sense of purpose. But nothing turns us into go-getters quite like the beginning of a new year. It’s a time for renewing your gym membership, starting a healthy eating plan and furiously scribbling goals into your new diary. The only problem with this burst of energy is that it often doesn’t make it far beyond January. Often, we get so bogged down with planning that by the time February rolls around, we’re exhausted and our big dreams are just a distant memory.
That said, you can definitely use that start-of-year motivation to your advantage. But as Nelson Mandela once said, vision without action is just a dream. Luckily, there are plenty of easy things you can do in January to help you put those dreams into action. It’s all about redirecting your energy into activities that will help you start your 2017 on the right note. Here are our favourite activities you can do this month for your most productive, successful and happy year yet:
1. Create a vision board
Rather than just thinking about what you want out of the year, why not use a vision board to visually represent it? It may sounds a bit woo-woo, but they really have been proven to help you manifest your goals. Plenty of successful people have used them as a cheap and effective way to constantly keep their dreams and priorities at the forefront of their minds. The idea is that the law of attraction will then bring those awesome things into your life! There’s no ‘right’ way to create a vision board- you can use a piece of cardboard, cork board, wall in your house or even just a Pinterest board! But a few good tips are to include things that enrich your life in a broader sense (think the financial freedom to travel over bags and shoes) and keep it in a spot where you’ll see it everyday.
January is a great time to decluttering. This doesn’t just mean tidying your pantry or wardrobe, either (although those are great places to start!) Doing a digital declutter is a great way to start your year on the right foot. This means clearing out your inbox, deleting any unused apps and unfollowing any Instagram accounts that make you feel like crap. It’s also worth having a think about the people you spend time with and how they make you feel. If there’s anyone who brings you down with negative energy, it may be a good time to think about cutting them loose (nicely.) All of these things will give you more room for focusing on the things that really matter to you throughout 2017.
3. Set your intention for the year
Most of us have a list longer than our forearm when it comes to things we want to achieve in 2017. It’s fantastic to be so motivated, but it can be hard to know where to start! A great way to narrow it down is to pick one word that summarises your intention for the year. It could be something like ‘strength,’ ‘passion,’ ‘independence,’ or ‘joy.’ When you feel like you’re moving further away from your goals or not being true to yourself, use your word as a compass to guide you back in the right direction. Keep the word on your computer desktop, a post-it on your mirror or as your phone screensaver- anywhere you’re going to regularly see it!
4. Wake up earlier
Yes, it’s tempting to press snooze 15 times when you’re still recovering from the December break. But if you’ve ever thought about getting yourself into a solid morning routine, now is the time to do it. There are so many productive things you could do with an extra hour or two in the morning, like going for a sunrise walk, meditation or even working on a passion project! Start by waking up 15 minutes earlier each week, and in a month’s time, you’ll be getting up an hour earlier than usual and it won’t even feel that difficult! Think of all the things you’ll be able get done throughout the year with all those extra hours.
5. Get a journal
What are you going to do now that all the excitement of buying your 2017 diary (or is that just me?) is over? Buy yourself a journal! From improving your creativity and problem writing skills to reducing stress, the benefits of writing even just a few sentences in a journal each day are endless. Not sure where to start? We love these journals from Soult, because each day includes a writing prompt that will help spark your inspiration.
6. Schedule your appointments
You know all those appointments that you put off all year, like a pap smear or trip to the dentist? This month, take half an hour out of your day to sit down and book em’ all in. The sooner you get them out of the way, the sooner the weight is lifted off your shoulders and you can focus on other things, like smashing your goals!
7. Create a budget
There’s no better time to get in control of your finances than the beginning of the year. Once you have an awesome budget in place, you’ll know exactly what you have to work with and the rest of the year will be a piece of a place! For tips on creating a kick-ass budget and actually sticking to it, check out this article.