One of my favorite things to do each year as a new year begins (and actually I also do it on my birthday and at the beginning and end of the school year) is to first, look back and determine how much growth has occurred, what approaches worked, which did not and make a specific list so that while I am not done chasing goals, I can at least pat myself on the back for what I’ve accomplished in the last 12 months.
Once I have looked back, I then set my sights forward and make clear goals/resolutions on what I want to target as the new year begins. And no matter what I write down, it is quite helpful to begin the new year with a clean slate and with as few leftovers from the previous twelve months as possible.
With a long holiday weekend coming up in the states in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., I am looking forward to tackling this list I am sharing with you today. There is nothing more unburdening and rejuvenating than tidying up the business of your life. And that is truly how you must see it. No matter what you do for a living, your life is your own little business, and you determine how successfully it is managed. If it is cluttered, productivity will wane; however, it you are well organized and clear about how you want to successfully go through your day, there is an increased potential for wonderful successful and happiness.
So, without further chit chat, below is a list of ideas so that you can begin this year, and each subsequent year, with a clean slate, leaving as much room as possible for tremendous growth.
1. Clean Out Your Files
Knowing exactly where certain paperwork is located without blinking an eye is a very comforting feeling when it comes to security. Take the time to go through all of your files, shredding what is no longer needed to be kept and strategically making files for each company that has a bill you pay (and thus receive an invoice), a fund you have money in or any other set of documents that are necessary to keep at the house. Click here to determine how to long to keep certain items.
2. Clean Out the Refrigerator and the Pantry
Whether you’ve set a resolution to lose weight or not, clean out your fridge and edit your pantry, evaluating what you have in it, trying to maintain healthy choices, as well as limiting the snacks. Click here to view Rachael Ray’s suggested essential list to a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator.
3. Clear Out Email Inboxes
Choosing to go digital is a great idea to reduce clutter, but when the inbox is overloaded, just looking at the long list of emails can be a drain on our mental psyche. Take some time to clear it out, filing important emails in appropriate folders and feel at ease knowing that you have dealt with all unfinished business from last year, so that the new year can begin with a fresh start.
4. Reset Fitness Goals
So how do you feel in your body? Do you feel full of energy, or sluggish? Do you feel you are as fit as you can be, or could you be a bit more disciplined? Take some time to reassess how well your previous health approach was working and tweak it to either maintain or improve your outer and inner being. Add new music to your iTunes account, set simple goals – maybe just one each month, and once you successfully follow through, add another new habit – walk each morning or eliminate desserts, or limit the amount of caffeine you consume. Oh, and on the fashion side, treat yourself to a new set of workout pants or a top you’ve had your eye on. Working out is easier to look forward to when you know you will be looking your best.
5. Get In Sync with Your Finances
Being financially secure is a piece of the foundation that allows for true independence and a healthy self-confidence. (Click here for more financial ideas and inspiration.) How much money is where? How much money is REALLY coming in each month? If you have debt, create a reasonable plan to pay it down. Begin to prep for taxes and organize all receipts and other necessary materials.
6. Go Through Your Closet
Last week, I shared my top five new years’ resolutions for fashion, and I must reiterate that going through your closet at least once a year (some do it seasonally) allows for you to determine what it is you should be shopping for when you do go clothes shopping. One of the reasons our closets become so cluttered, yet we still feel like we have nothing to wear is because we don’t have a clear idea of what we are looking for. Upon going through your closet, create three piles - keep, fix, and donate. Then, based on the fundamental pieces needed in your wardrobe (view my suggested list here), make a list of what is missing and what you need be searching for when you head out to your favorite boutique.
By following this six steps, you are that much closer to making sure 2012 is the best year yet. And if you choose to embark on this task during this upcoming weekend, think of me, as I will be cleaning my slate right along with you.