25 things to do in January to start a new life
January is probably the most exciting time of the year.
The New Year usually comes with high hopes. Most people wait for January to make a fresh start and set life goals.
Although we do not have to wait until the new year to actually transform our lives, a lot of people see this period of the year as the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter.
In this post, we will discuss 25 things to do in January to start a new life and make the most out of the year to come.
Let’s start, shall we?
Pin for Later 📍
Do a life audit
January is definitely a great time to do a life audit.
A life audit will help you reflect on your life and identify the gaps between your current and dream life.
The Wheel of life is my favorite tool for doing a life audit.
This tool will help you evaluate the 8 main areas of your life to identify the changes you need to make to improve your overall life satisfaction.
The Wheel is divided into the 8 following sections:
- Personal Growth
- Physical Appearance
Here is what it looks like:
To do this exercise, rate each dimension on a scale of 0 (not satisfied at all) to 10 (very satisfied).
The purpose of this exercise is not to beat yourself up but to be honest with yourself and reflect on your areas of improvement.
For each area of the wheel, think about why you did not grade it a 10/10.
What would it take to be entirely satisfied by this dimension?
This exercise should help you define the goals to set for the 12 months to come.
Related post: How to do a life audit with the Wheel of Life
Define personal goals
The second thing on this list is a no-brainer: setting new personal goals.
Setting new goals will give you a clearer vision of what you want to accomplish during the year.
Having your goals in mind will also give you a strong motivation to keep going even when life gets in the way.
One mistake a lot of people make when goal-setting is not defining clear goals.
You will need to actually create a plan around your goals. And to be able to do it, you need to define SMART goals.
As you probably already know, SMART stands for :
- Specific goals: Set specific goals and narrow them down to simplify planning.
- Measurable goals: Set measurable goals to be able to track your progress.
- Attainable goals: Define attainable goals and make sure you can reach them in a reasonable amount of time.
- Realistic goals: Set realistic goals that support a broader vision of your ideal life.
- Time-bound goals: Define time-bound goals with a clear deadline to stay motivated and make yourself accountable.
If you want to lose weight, an example of a SMART goal would be:
” I want to lose 20 lbs by the 31st of March by following a balanced diet and working out 6 hours per week.”
Now that you have defined your SMART goal, you will need to actually develop a plan around it.
An easy way to write your plan is to break down your goal into bite-size chunks.
Losing 20 lbs might seem impossible if you have been trying to lose weight for a long time already.
But by breaking it down, it will suddenly seem far more reachable.
If you give yourself 3 months to lose 20 lbs, you will have to shred roughly 7 lbs every month, which equals less than 2 lbs every week.
It seems far more attainable now, right?
If you want to start a new life, you will have to define additional goals and again create plans around them.
No matter the goals you decide to set for the new year, make sure you do not set too many so you actually stick to them.
Setting too many goals will make it impossible to keep up with them, and you will probably fail at achieving most of them, which will be highly discouraging.
No matter what you decide to change in your life, defining a maximum of 3 goals per dimension will help you create a plan you will be able to stick to.
There is no need to rush. You will have time to achieve the rest of your goals later during the year.
Related post: 11 mistakes people make when goal-setting
Focus on yourself
To make a fresh start and improve your life, you need to understand the importance of taking care of yourself and making yourself your number 1 priority.
No, focusing on yourself is not selfish.
It is necessary to live a well-balanced life and make sure you create a life you love.
Focusing on yourself means taking time to check in with yourself and plan rest time.
No matter your goals and how busy you are, you will not be able to stay motivated and productive in the long run if you burn yourself out.
However, focusing on yourself means more than just lazy Sunday mornings.
It also implies learning how to say “no” when necessary.
You have set goals and created a plan around them. But to make it work, you need to keep it in mind and say “no” to everything that does not support it or makes you happy.
Becoming your priority will help you protect your well-being and increase your life satisfaction.
Break one bad habit (at a time)
Breaking bad habits is just as important as implementing new habits that will support your goals
Your bad habits can seriously slow you down when it comes to transforming your life.
Breaking bad habits is hard because habits are a direct reaction to the cues from our environment.
To break bad habits, you will most likely have to make tweaks to your environment to make these cues disappear.
Bad habits are mostly unconscious, and following them feels good because they bring us a weird form of comfort.
This is the reason why breaking them can be so hard.
The good news is that making small changes to your environment can considerably help you break these bad habits.
Do you struggle with your new/bad habits?
If so, here is a post about how to make new habits stick and break bad ones with 4 Golden rules from Atomic Habits by James Clear.
This bestseller is a game-changer when it comes to implementing habits and routines that stick.
Get out of your comfort zone
Stepping out of your comfort zone will help you considerably change your life.
Think about it…
If you are not satisfied with your life, it is probably because you have been comfortable for too long.
Getting uncomfortable is the only way to grow.
Taking calculated risks will help you transform your life really fast. An easy way to do so is to plan at least one activity that will make you step out of your comfort zone every month.
You will quickly realize how fast your life will change.
Implement morning and night routines
Implementing a morning and night routine is a great way to give your life a new direction.
Routines, when followed with assiduity, compound and create great changes in our lives.
Implementing a morning routine is probably the best thing you can do to boost your productivity, get things done, and achieve your goals.
Starting to work on your personal goals before getting to work is key to ensuring you stay consistent even when your schedule is busy.
Implementing a morning routine will help you start the day off on the right foot and stay focused on your goals.
The second best routine you can implement is a night routine.
Following a night routine will help you unwind after work and check in with yourself.
A night routine is also a great opportunity to take time for yourself, practice self-care, and set yourself up for a good night’s sleep.
These two routines will help you structure your life to ensure you make every day count.
Implement a new self-care routine
Self-care is important to unwind and stay sane.
If life is busy and you struggle to get out of bed every morning, you will benefit from implementing a self-care routine.
A lot of people think that self-care is only about taking hot baths, doing hair masks, and getting your nails done.
But there is so much more to that!
Self-care is, according to Oxford languages :
“the act of caring for yourself, for example, by eating and sleeping well, taking exercise and getting help so that you do not become ill.“
This definition is pretty broad and covers a lot of different activities.
Any activity that is meant to improve your general well-being and protect your physical and mental health can be considered self-care.
Self-care will help you achieve balance in life, rest, take care of yourself and also grow as a person.
Engaging in self-care activities such as reading, meditating, or journaling can help you unwind and relieve stress.
If you are serious about changing your life and making a fresh start, the months to come will be challenging.
Finding activities that help you unwind and recenter yourself will definitely help you stay consistent in the long run.
Related read: 11 reasons why self-care is important to achieve your goals
Change your eating habits
Another simple way to start fresh is by changing your eating habits.
This might seem hard at first, but the good news is that apps are nowadays making it super easy to change our food habits.
A great app if you want to start eating healthy or try a specific diet to achieve your weight/fitness goals is Lifesum.
Lifesum is one of my all-time favorite apps.
It makes it super easy to log meals, find healthy recipes, track workouts and try out new diets.
I have been using the app for years now, and it helped me lose 35 lbs simply by making smarter choices!
What we feed our bodies is important. Food is our fuel, and we often do not realize how unhealthy some of our eating habits can be.
If you want to change your eating habits and eat healthier, trying out Lifesum is one of the best things you can do.
Give meal plan/prep a try
This is another habit that can help you make smarter choices when it comes to food.
Cooking can be a real waste of time when you don’t know what to cook and spend hours looking for recipes online.
However, cooking all your meals will help you make healthier choices. And it will also save you a ton of money as well!
If you want to be more organized and have set fitness goals, you should give meal planning a try.
Planning all your meals for the week in advance will help you know exactly what to cook, buy only the ingredients you need and avoid food waste.
It will also make it super easy to log your food intake in Lifesum.
If you want to get really organized and have your diet under control, you can also give meal prep a try.
I understand that this is not for everyone because it requires a lot of organization. If you decide to meal prep, you will have to cook all your meals for the week (at least 21 meals if we consider breakfast, lunch, and dinner) on the same day.
You will then be ready for the week.
If meal prepping sounds too extreme for you, try at least to meal plan and prepare all your recipes for the week in advance.
This simple tip will help you save a lot of time!
Create a workout plan
Creating a new workout plan is another step you can take to start fresh.
No matter your goals, you should incorporate workouts into your routines. We all need to stay active to stay healthy.
I totally stopped working out during the 3 first years of college because I thought I was too busy and too tired to work out.
I was already working a full-time job at the time and was going to college in the evenings and on the weekend.
So I really thought I couldn’t do more.
And it took me 3 years to realize that you can make time for personal growth and exercise no matter how busy your schedule is.
It’s all a matter of priorities.
Creating your workout plan and sticking to it will help you relieve anxiety and make you feel much more energized, which will help you achieve your long-term and short-term goals.
If you are not used to working out and do not know where to start, I definitely recommend FitOn.
FitOn is an amazing free app with a ton of workouts from HIIT to yoga and pilates. A lot of different programs are available, and all workouts are prerecorded, so you basically watch the video while doing the exercises.
And that’s super motivating!
Be kind to your mind
Taking care of your mental health is important when you try to change your life.
Some days will be harder than others.
What will make all the difference between your failure and success is your ability to show up even when you don’t feel like it.
Staying consistent requires staying motivated, which will be extremely hard if you feel overwhelmed.
If you regularly feel stressed and fear failure, many habits can help you overcome that.
Meditating with Headspace, journaling, and reading can definitely help you overcome self-doubt.
Related read: How to overcome the fear of failure
Make sleep your priority
Improving your sleep quality will considerably improve your overall life.
You cannot get things done if you always feel exhausted and struggle to stay awake.
Sleeping enough every night will give you the energy to move mountains. “Enough” does not mean the same thing for everyone.
Some people only need 6-7 hours to feel energized in the morning, while others might need 9 hours.
Finding what works best for you and sticking to your sleeping schedule (weekends included!) will help you improve your overall health and life.
Simple tips can help you improve sleep quality:
- Avoid screens at least one hour before going to bed
- Avoid coffee after 5 pm
- Take a hot bath
- Read for at least 20 minutes before going to bed
- Listen to a sleepcast
Getting organized is another way to start fresh in January.
If you want to get seriously organized and find balance in life, you should definitely give time-blocking a try.
When you time-block, you basically divide your days into blocks and allocate time for the tasks you want to complete.
Time-blocking will help you make time for everything that matters to you despite a hectic work schedule.
Time-blocking is definitely easier with a digital planner since it is super easy to make recurring blocks.
If you want to try time-blocking, Google calendar is a must.
Time-blocking with Google calendar is what helped me find a balance between my social life, full-time job, College, and this blog.
Need more tips to get organized? Here are 15 tips to become the most organized person you know.
Declutter your space
Decluttering your space is a great way to make a fresh start in life.
Our environment has a huge impact on our habits and behaviors. Our behaviors are direct responses to the cues we are exposed to in our environment.
If you want to change your life, you need to make changes to your environment (home) as well.
Decluttering gives us a great sense of accomplishment and relief because physical clutter often turns into mental chaos.
Decluttering your space will remove all unnecessary distractions from your sight, which will help you focus on what needs to get done.
It will also help you with the following point on this list: deep cleaning.
Deep clean your space
Deep cleaning of your home will help you take a fresh start in life because cleaning has the same benefits as decluttering.
It will also be easier to implement a cleaning schedule once you have fully cleaned your house.
And having a cleaning schedule will greatly reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning every week.
This will be a super important factor to help you focus on your goals.
Sticking to your schedule will make you save hours every week, and you will be able to dedicate these precious hours to work on your goals instead.
This simple tip helped me make time to launch my own business while in college.
Following a cleaning schedule has freed up my Sundays, which allowed me to start working on Sundayrainday.com despite a super busy schedule.
Here is an example of a cleaning schedule with all the tasks you should complete daily, weekly, monthly and seasonally:
Rethink your space
This is another step to help you make your environment work for you instead of against you.
And as already discussed, it is particularly important when trying to implement new habits and break bad habits.
To make new habits stick, you need to decrease the number of steps between you and your new habits.
Simply put, this means that if you want to work out more, you need to make it easier to stick to this habit so you actually stick to it even when having a bad day.
You can do so by, for instance:
- Having a dedicated space to workout at home
- Buying some fitness equipment
- Finding a fitness club close to your house or work
- Separating your gym clothes from the rest of your wardrobe
- Prepare your gym clothes every night before going to bed
When it comes to bad habits, you should try to adapt your environment to make the cues of your bad habits invisible so they are easier to break.
If you want to stop smoking, you can increase the steps between you and this bad habit by removing all the ashtrays from your house and going outside every time you want to smoke.
This will make this habit harder to follow and easier to break because every time you will want to smoke, you will have to:
- Get dressed if you are already in your pajamas
- Put some shoes on
- Put a coat on and take an umbrella if it rains
- Grab your phone
- Take your cigarettes and lighter
- Find your keys
- Lock the door
- Go outside and probably get cold
- Get back inside
- Remove your coat and shoes
- Put back your pajamas
Adapting your environment after setting new goals will definitely help you achieve them.
Declutter and organize your wardrobe
Decluttering your wardrobe is an important step to making a fresh start.
This simple step will also help you save a lot of time in the evening/morning when choosing what to wear.
We all have a ton of clothes we do not wear sitting in our wardrobes.
Going through every item from your wardrobe and deciding whether you want to keep it, sell it, or donate it will help you redefine your style and make sure you only keep clothes that suit you.
Try out new apps
There are nowadays so many apps that no matter the goal you have set, there is an app to help you achieve it.
Leveraging apps can definitely make all the difference between you achieving your goals and failing.
Looking for apps and reviews on Google is how I found my favorite apps:
- Lifesum (health and weight goals)
- FitOn (Fitness app)
- To-do list – Schedule planner(amazing for to-do lists and routines!)
- Headspace (meditation)
- NeuroNation (cognitive training)
- Drops (language learning)
- Google Agenda(digital planner)
Simply type “Best app for” followed by the goal you want to achieve and search the results to find a few apps that could help you.
Download 2-3 apps per goal and try them out to choose your favorite.
Organize your laptop/phone and paper clutter
Organizing your laptop and phone will also help you make a fresh start.
This is particularly true if you want to be more organized in general and save time.
Organizing your files and putting a system in place will help you save a lot of time when looking for things.
Once you have sorted through your digital clutter and organized everything, it is time to make back-ups of your files!
And why not download a password manager to look for weak or compromised passwords and store all your passwords?
If you use the same password for several sites because you’re terrible at remembering your credentials, it is definitely time for you to download a password manager.
Another thing you should consider to be more organized and start fresh is to finally go through all your paper clutter.
Sort every sheet of paper and decide what to keep under this format, what to scan and what to throw away.
Having all your documents sorted out will help you save a lot of time when looking for an important document!
Clean your mailbox
Now, this is something that can be very time-consuming, but that is also very necessary if you want to start the new year off on the right foot: clean your mailbox(es).
We tend to subscribe to a lot of newsletters and end up not opening most of the emails received.
Swiping left to delete an email only takes a few seconds but doing it over and over again is a real waste of time.
Take a few minutes to unsubscribe from all the newsletters you do not read, create folders to organize the emails you want to keep and delete everything else.
Receiving less junk mail will also help you save money by avoiding impulse purchases.
It’s a win-win, so taking a few minutes to clean your mailbox is definitely something to consider.
Find new podcasts or books to read
Podcasts and books have considerably transformed my life.
If you want to turn your life around, you will need to operate a mindset shift.
And there is no better way to do it than by listening to motivating podcasts every day and reading self-help books.
Here is a list of the books that helped me initiate my life transformation journey:
- Atomic habits by James Clear
- You are a badass by Jen Sincero
- The Mountain is you by Brianna Wiest
- The psychology of money by Morgan Housel
- Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life by Hector Garcia
- The automatic millionaire by David Bach
Changing your mindset is mandatory in order to transform your life.
Listening to a podcast or reading a book while commuting is a great way to expand your vision of the world and stay focused on creating a new life.
Start a new hobby
Starting a new hobby will help you step out of your comfort zone, meet new people and develop new skills.
if you want to reinvent yourself, you will have to start doing new things, so looking for a new hobby seems like a no-brainer.
This is also the perfect opportunity to spend more time outside.
If you work indoors, chances are that you spend very little time outside every day.
Research shows that spending time in nature has many benefits for our physical and mental health.
No matter your goals, you should aim to spend at least 120 minutes outside (in a calm environment) every day.
Doing so will considerably improve your mental and physical health.
Reflect on your personal finance strategy
Having your finances under control is key to improving your life.
The first step to start fresh is to create a new budget.
Listing all your expenses will help you better understand where your money is going and identify possible savings.
Listing all your debt (if you have any) and calculating your net worth will also help you have a better idea of your financial health.
To calculate your net worth, simply add all your assets and subtract all your debt. Your net worth will be a great indicator of the state of your finances.
If you want to start working on your finances, subscribe using the form below to receive all the worksheets you need to take your finances under control.
Create a new stream of income
If you only have one source of income, starting a side hustle should be your number one mission for the New year!
Having an additional source of income will give you more stability and help you achieve financial security.
If you are trying to pay off debt, having an additional source of income and allocating the money to your debt payoff will definitely help you speed up the process!
Every day is a great day to make a fresh start.
There is no need to wait until January 1st to transform your life, even though most people actually wait for it to set goals and implement new habits.
Turning your life around seems impossible when you do not know where to start.
The good news is that you can become a whole new person in just a few months.
All it takes is getting access to the right information, taking strategic actions, and being consistent.
And this is exactly what I teach in my eBook Make It Happen.
Make It Happen is a +200 page eBook including +40 worksheets that will help you transform your life in 7 steps and less than 90 days.
I love your website, and your post was amazing. I loved how everything was hyperlinked at the top, keep it up.
This was amazing. You touched on everything I was feeling. Great kick in the butt this morning!
I am glad this post inspired you to be more productive!! 🙂