We’re a week away from 2020. Have you thought about how you’ll get a head start on the new year? Given that it’s almost old year’s eve, I’m guessing your mind is on the vegan party snacks you promised everyone you’d make.
Drunk promising is almost as bad as drunk dialling.
The thing is, as Benjamin Franklin so rightly said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
You should have used November and December to get a head start on the upcoming year, but if you’re anything like me you spent the last couple of months doing all sorts of important stuff, like surfing YouTube for, um, editorial content.
Oh well, since there’s no point bemoaning the past, let’s instead look at how we can course correct in January. Yes, technically it’s the first month of the year, but I think we can all agree that January is really just a practice month. February is when you need to have your sh*t together.
Sporty hates it when I swear on the blog, so I annoy her with asterisks instead.
Start by thinking about what you’d like to achieve and how you’ll make that happen. It can be tempting to forgo the effort and click play on yet another YouTube compilation of cats in boxes instead. But while that may well be more entertaining, it’s not going to help you figure out what you want to achieve in 2020.
I should know.
From becoming uncluttered, downsizing your debt and getting clear on your health goals, there are plenty of things you can start doing right now to make 2020 your best year ever. Let’s get started!
No, really. Let’s get started. Stop watching that.
1. Clean up Your Messes and Incompletes
In his book, The Success Principles, Jack Canfield talks about cleaning up your messes and incompletes. He says you can’t expect to make a success of your new endeavors without first tying up those messy loose ends.
Cleaning up your messes and incompletes pretty much guarantees you a great year. Just don’t be fooled into assuming it’s a once-off affair. The trick is to keep the messes and incompletes from piling up again.
Make a habit of tending to the things you’d much rather ignore on at least a monthly basis. If that sounds super boring, it’s because it is. But. And this is a big but. Life is so much sweeter when you do. Even better, December 2021 will be a breeze, because you’ll have nothing hanging over your head by the time it arrives.
Which takes things from sweet to downright saccharine. In a good way.
2. Improve Your Diet
It’s tempting to let your healthy habits slide during the festive season. Sadly, overindulging on party food and umbrella drinks has consequences. And they invariably end up on your thighs and midriff.
Oh well, regretting the past won’t help. (Especially when it tasted so good.) Instead, decide now that you’ll pull the reins in on your free for all approach to health.
One super easy way to get your eating habits back in check is by signing up for Veganuary. Eating nothing but plants for the month will definitely get things back on track. Don’t worry, eating vegan doesn’t mean living on rabbit food.
Believe it or not, you can be healthy and still eat tasty food. Just Google ‘vegan’ + ‘whatever’ and you’ll find a recipe for it. Obviously, if you search for vegan beef wellington or vegan Philly cheesesteak that won’t work.
Oh wait, it does work.
I jest. Replicating omnivorous junk food defeats the purpose of the exercise. Just do like your Mom says and eat your greens. Even if you can’t see your way clear to going completely vegan, you can still improve your health by upping your intake of fresh fruit and veggies (organic if possible) and choosing whole grains over processed junk. Cooking from scratch rather than buying take-out also makes a huge difference.
3. Get Uncluttered
Clutter takes many forms: physical, digital, mental, and even emotional. Use the next couple of weeks to get uncluttered. Make a commitment to yourself that by the time February arrives you will be clutter-free. Conveniently, registration for the Winter Edition of Joshua Becker’s course Uncluttered opens on January 2, 2020.
Joshua’s course focuses on physical clutter and that’s always a good place to start. Go through your house a room at a time and get rid of everything you no longer need. Remember, you also need to declutter the areas that aren’t front of mind, like the basement, attic, garage and garden shed.
When your house is fit for the cover of Garden & Home, it’s time to start tackling the less obvious areas, such digital clutter, mental clutter, sentimental clutter, and so on. They might not be as straightforward to sort through as your hall closet, but you can certainly make inroads into downsizing them before the month is over.
4. Downsize Your Debt
How are your finances? Do you look at your bank balance through your fingers a week into the month? (Been there, done that.) Now is the time to make a debt-demolishing budget and start inching your way back into the black.
The Holidays have a way of making us lose common sense. We often end up spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need, simply because there’s a festive feeling in the air. Starting now, you need to put your credit cards away, stop buying random stuff online, and quit the morning coffee run.
Depending on how far in the red you are, being debt-free by February might not be a realistic goal. That’s fine. The point is to start the year with less debt, not more. Check out these TED Talks on living a debt-free lifestyle for inspiration.
5. Get Clear on Your Goals
The reason most of us (myself included) fall short on our New Year’s resolutions is because we’re not clear on what we actually want to achieve. Stating a vague intention to be slimmer, healthier, richer, nicer or whatever, will get you nowhere fast.
The other problem with setting goals for the year ahead is that we generally leave it to the last minute. Thinking about what you want to accomplish on January 1 is unproductive, not to mention a tad overwhelming.
In this department, too, we’ll have to accept that milk was spilt and move on. We can commit to doing better next year, but for now let’s focus on the one that’s just begun..
Using Warren Buffet’s 5/25 Rule, take the time now to get clear on your goals for the year ahead. Once you know what you’d like to achieve, you can start taking steps towards making that happen.
When it comes to the art of goal setting, I can think of no better person to learn from than James Clear. Check out his website, sign up for his weekly newsletter and get yourself a copy of his book Atomic Habits.