The idea of starting fresh in the new year is so appealing; being able to leave old habits and hangups behind and become a new you can be a seductive idea. But we so often find that becoming that new you is much harder than we anticipated. Making smaller changes over time can help us experience more success in bettering ourselves. These small changes can have big impacts! Here are some creative ways to start fresh in 2022.
1. Declutter One Room
Decluttering is all the rage right now, but the idea of decluttering your whole home can seem overwhelming! Instead, commit to decluttering one room in your home. Babies and kiddos collect a lot of belongings, so why not start in your kid’s room? Babies and toddlers need a lot of changes of clothes, so start with those first. Remove any clothing that is stained, worn out, or too small. You might be surprised at how much you’re getting rid of! Sort out the still-wearable items for donations, or to save for younger siblings. Those that are too worn or stained to be used can be discarded; some locations have fabric recycling, so check that out!
Once you’ve trimmed down your little one’s wardrobe, you might want to check out some new baby clothes! We have adorable outfits for babies from newborns to 12 months old.
Next go through their toys. Remove any broken or worn out items (but not their lovey! Never throw out the lovey), and sort them into two piles; one to be donated (for still usable items), and one to be discarded. You might want to have your kiddo help make these decisions if they’re old enough, it may help avoid tears in the future!
Starting over fresh in your kid’s room can help make your life and theirs a little bit easier in the new year!
2. Forgive Your Friends
When someone’s actions hurt us, it can be difficult to forgive them, especially if that hurt is long-lasting. Forgiveness is at its heart an act of love, so it’s a way to express care and compassion for your family and loved ones. Forgiveness offers benefits not just to the forgiven, but also to the forgiver.
- Forgiveness brings friends and family closer.
- Forgiveness is correlated with improved physical health, including reduced blood pressure, reduced pain, and improved sleep.
- Forgiveness reduces depression, anxiety, and stress.
Any kind of forgiveness helps, but deep forgiveness, a forgiveness that comes from understanding the other person in the conflict, reaps greater rewards. People who forgive from a place of understanding and compassion were more likely to resume a normal and healthy relationship with that person.
Once you’ve reflected on the situation and come to the decision to forgive, pair that decision with an action. You may not be able to talk to the person in question, but you can write about your decision in a journal or a letter (whether it’s sent or not), or you can tell someone close to you that you trust. Marking that decision with an action makes it seem more real and gives you greater benefits.
3. Consider What Matters Most Today
Sometimes our priorities in life change without us even noticing. We may find ourselves bogged down by old commitments we’ve made to ourselves that no longer feel as important now. Sitting down and giving some thought to what your priorities are right now can help you choose how to start fresh in the new year.
So sit down, either at your computer or with a pen and paper, and start to write down things that are important to you today, right now. These can be big things, like your career, or little things like having a tidy kitchen each day. Both of these things can have big impacts on your life even if one seems much smaller than the other! You may end up crossing things off this list as you go and discover that some things you thought were really important to you really aren’t anymore, and that’s okay! This is a process of discovery.
Once you’re armed with your priorities, you can turn these into actionable, measurable goals. When goals are actionable (they have a clear course of action associated with them) and measurable (you can quantify your progress in some way and know when you’ve reached your goal), we have a greater likelihood of reaching them. These goals can be short term (something you’ll do today) or long term (something that will be accomplished this year), or anywhere in between.
4. Bring Something Beautiful Into Your Life
The beauty of our built environments has a direct impact on our well-being, even if we don’t notice it. Sparse or bare environments can actually cause additional stress and unhappiness. To help set yourself up for a happier, healthier, and more productive year, bring something beautiful into your home or office.
This could be a piece of art that you enjoy, something to break up the blankness of an empty wall. It could be a new piece of furniture, or even a reupholstering of an old, much loved piece of furniture. It could be a new potted plant, whether flowering or not (plants have a particularly positive effect on us). Or a pretty throw blanket or pillow for the living room or bedroom! It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive, either. Just something that you find beautiful. You might even have something in storage that you never found the time to hang up!
Making the decision to bring something in to beautify your home or office is an act of self-care. You’re making the explicit choice to improve your life. So find something beautiful for yourself and put it where you can enjoy it daily.
5. Set Aside Time to Reflect
Setting aside time to reflect makes us happier and more productive. This time can be in the morning, reflecting on the prior day and planning for the day ahead, or it can be in the evening, before bed. Just fifteen minutes of reflection time a day can make us happier and better at what we do, so it doesn’t have to be a big change in your routine.
Reflection is a skill. It’s an act of careful thought, and can be difficult or uncomfortable at first. It involves doing some things that a lot of us don’t want to do; slowing down, approaching things with curiosity and uncertainty, tolerating messiness and inefficiency, considering multiple points of view, and being willing to take responsibility.
Since this is a skill, and a skill of some difficulty and complexity, don’t give up if you don’t feel like you’re doing it right, or getting the results you expected. Like meditation, it takes time and practice to get good at it.
Some people like to use tools for reflective time, one of the most common being a pen and notepad. Writing your reflections down can be useful; insights you gain from your reflective time will be recorded for later reference.
You can teach your kids to engage in reflective time, too! Just keep in mind, they probably won’t have the same ability to maintain focus or think quietly that adults do. Making it a family practice will help teach them skills that will keep them happier and healthier throughout their lives.
So there you have it, some fresh start tips for the new year, most of which won’t cost you a penny, but will set you up for a healthier, happier new year. They’re small changes, but they can make a big difference!