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Get Ready For The New Year


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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April Harris sitting in an armchair in her home library with an iPad on her lap using ideas to get ready for the New Year

When it comes time to get ready for the new year, there often seems to be an expectation that we should be ready to raise a toast at midnight on December 31st with carefully organised lists intact and a clear vision of where we are headed. Yes, most of us like to have a bit of a plan in place to help us get ready for the new year and make the most the clean slate January first provides. However, your goals and plans don’t all have to be in place on that exact date. It is totally okay to take a while to get your thoughts, dreams and goals together.

It’s Important To Get a Feel For the Year​

I do like to have some of my plans and goals in place at midnight on New Year’s Eve to help me get ready for the New Year. However, just like many people take a few days to name a child or live in a house for months or years to get a feel for it before decorating, I think we need to get a feel for the year as well. Every year is unique, and the clock striking twelve on New Year’s Eve is only the beginning of us getting to know it. So don’t feel pressured. This is supposed to be fun.

Of course, some people find the idea of setting an arbitrary date like 1 January for a new start simply does not resonate with them. If you are one of them you may find you want to try using these ideas any time you want to declare a new beginning.

Get Ready For the New Year​

For many years, I made a practice of setting New Year Aspirations to get ready for the new year. I still like the idea of aspirations, but now I have even more techniques to help me focus, plan and dream my way into the New Year. These are just a few of them. I hope you will pick and choose from these ideas, taking inspiration from the ones that resonate with you and leaving the rest.

1. Check Your Diary Is Up To Date​

One of my favourite things to do to help me get ready for the new year is to reconcile my diary. I find the whole exercise curiously satisfying.

I have a shared online diary with my family, but I also like to keep a paper diary. This is the second year that I will be using this Legend Planner (affiliate link). I like that it has sections for goals, to do lists, and also spaces for reflection.

Whatever type of diary you choose, have a look at it and check if you have all the main events for 2024 recorded in it. Many electronic diaries put national holidays in automatically, but if you are using a paper diary you may want to check they are also included.

Do you have birthday and anniversary dates for those you want to remember with a card or gift? I like to put reminders in a week or so before the event, depending on how long things will take to arrive if I have to send them by post or courier.

If you have any events or trips planned for the new year, be sure you have them in the diary – and build in time around them so you can get ready.

If you have a significant other, children or other family members, consider having a shared online diary as I do. If you prefer a paper diary – or even if you don’t – you may want to have a diary reconciliation meeting. This will ensure you all have any events that include multiple family members recorded. Make this process fun. You could have a “dessert and diary” meeting each year.

2. Choose a Word, Phrase and/or Theme For The Year​

I love to choose a word and/or a phrase to help me get ready for the New Year. It helps keep me focused and keeps me living in an atmosphere of growth.

Need some inspiration? In 2019 my word was ‘Expand’. I wanted to expand my horizons, get out into the world more, connect with friends old and new and finally get past some of the issues that were holding me back. I felt like I was very successful with ‘expand’ that year. I made some great strides forward, personally and professionally.

Another example was 2022 when my word was ‘Fun’, and my theme was Playful. I definitely succeeded with the ‘fun’ part. We made a real effort to get out and about a lot more and we had some really fun experiences.

In 2023, my word was Elevate. I accomplished this by elevating our surroundings with our renovation, elevating my skills by taking some courses and learning new things and elevating my wardrobe with some carefully-thought-out, sustainable investment purchases. I did not choose a theme last year.

I’ll be revealing my word (in fact this year I have two words) for 2024 soon. I am still working on a theme. Do you have a word, phrase or theme for 2024? Please share in the comments!

April Harris making a vision board to get ready for the New Year

3. Get Ready For The New Year with a Vision Board​

Vision boards are fun to make, and in my experience, they can definitely work. Of course, not every single thing I have put on a vision board has come into my life yet, but many of them have. For the last sixteen years, I have been living in a house that featured on one of my first vision boards many years ago.

There are so many ways of making a vision board. You can use a scrapbook, a large piece of poster board or you can use an online design package. I made a vision board using Canva last year. However, I also still love the old fashioned way of using photographs and cuttings from magazines and other print media. I collect lots of images of things, experiences and locations I want to bring into my life and then either paste them on a board or into a beautiful scrapbook. I am excited to have a brand new scrapbook to start fresh with this year.

You can make one big vision board or make different vision boards for different areas of your life.

Whichever way you choose to collate or display your images, make sure you look at them often. If your vision board is electronic, it could become your screensaver on your computer, laptop or tablet. I make a point of looking through my current vision board book with a coffee at least once a week.

4. Make a 24 For 2024 List​

Inspired by the Happier podcast, I have been crafting annual lists of the same number of things to do/achieve as the last two numbers of the year since 2018. Back then, it was 18 for 18, and of course it follows that this year, it’s 24 for 24.

The things on your list don’t have to be resolutions as such, although they can be if you like. In previous years, my personal lists have included reaching out by phone or letter to someone at least once a week and replacing my everyday dinnerware. In 2019, my husband and I also had a joint list of 19 for 2019 which was really fun. This included various trips we wanted to take and also a few larger tasks we wanted to accomplish around our home. You can make this idea work for you any way you like. I find it is a great way to get ready for the new year.

Most years I do many of the things on my list, but I do not always achieve all of them. Honestly, my 20 for 2020 was a bit of a disaster, and last year with the renovations I only managed eight of my 23 for 23. That’s totally okay. You can carry an item over to the following year, or even amend or delete an item you haven’t completed if it no longer resonates with you. You can find out more about these annual lists on Gretchen Rubin’s blog.

5. Get Ready for the New Year – Be Kind to Yourself​

It is so important to treat ourselves with kindness. One of the things I have always struggled with is to learn how to treat myself as kindly as I treat others. If you are in the same boat, check out Be Kind To Yourself for lots of hints and tips on how to make being kind to yourself easier (and fun too).

January does not have to be a month of deprivation! Enjoy delicious, comforting dinners and a few treats too. Check out my Recipe Index for lots of recipes to inspire you.

Let’s all make 2024 the year we are good to ourselves!

Wishing You An Amazing 2024​

It’s never too late to incorporate any of these ideas into your year – regardless of whether it’s January or the middle of June. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year – and if this post finds you later in the year, I hope 2024 is going really well!

Get Ready for the New Year – More Posts​

Taking Time Out

The 20 Minute Time Management Solution

One Thing At A Time

The post Get Ready For The New Year appeared first on April J Harris.
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