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5 simple ways to prepare for the new year

As you close out this year and prepare for the new year, here are a few simple little things you still have time to do that will help lay the foundation for a successful year.

I love the start of a new year. A lot of people say that we shouldn’t wait for an arbitrary day like January 1 to start new things or set new goals. I get what they’re saying, but I still love the feeling of excitement and possibility that comes with a new year. And every year I look SO forward to planning for the coming year.

Related reading:  A new year guide to goal-setting and planning

In addition to all the planning and dreaming and visioning for the new year, I’ve found there are also some little things that can be done in the current year to help you get ready for the new year and more easily achieve your goals.

5 simple ways to prepare for the new year

1) Wrap up your incompletes.

The concept of “incompletes” is something I learned from one of my favorite books on success. Incompletes are things you’ve started and haven’t finished, or that have been on your to-do list forever and never seem to get done.

These incompletes, however small, can be a significant drain on your mental energy and a real downer for your psyche. You may not be thinking about them consciously, but somewhere in your subconscious there’s a part of your brain keeping track of all these tasks, projects and to-dos.

Let’s free up your mental space and energy for your new year goals by dealing with these incompletes!

Start by taking a look at your to-do list or planner to find ones you may have forgotten about. Then list them all out in a notebook or in an app like Trello (my personal fave).

Be sure to list them ALL, no matter how small they may be. Sometimes the little things can be more of an energy drain than the big ones.

A few of my incompletes include courses I’ve started and haven’t finished, freebies I’ve downloaded from other bloggers but haven’t taken the time to read/use, the closet clean-out that I started but never finished, the thank you note I should have sent two weeks ago, and about a million to-do’s that I’ve been rolling over for months on my to-do list.

Once you have a full inventory of your incompletes, see if there are any that aren’t really that important or necessary. If there are, just let them go and save your time and energy for better things. Cross those off the list!

Ahhh . . . doesn’t that feel better already?! This alone will likely free up so much mental space and energy for you!

Then take a look at what’s remaining — the ones you feel are important or worthwhile enough to take the time and energy to complete.

For the really simple/easy ones, set aside time on your calendar and just plow through them. The feeling of accomplishment and relief you’ll get from this is pretty awesome!

For the ones that can’t be quickly/easily completed but are important enough to see them through, make a plan for how you’ll complete these. Include a time frame and specific action steps. Put the steps in the order they’ll need to be done, and then add them to your calendar or planner.

Be sure you’re being realistic about how much time each step will take (says the person who is the worst ever at this).

2) Freshen up your living and working spaces.

Refreshing your space is another simple way to prepare for the new year.

It’s easy for the energy in our living and working spaces to get stale and stagnant.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to freshen up our space and revive the energy there (the change of seasons is also an awesome time for this!).


There are a few simple ways to freshen up your space . . .



Take a good look at the different spaces in your life (your living space, cooking space, working space, sleeping space, etc.) objectively and with fresh eyes — like you’re a guest seeing it for the first time.

What’s working for you and what’s not?

Get rid of extraneous things that aren’t serving you (like paper clutter, decorations that don’t have meaning or are no longer bringing you joy, or things that you just aren’t using). These things really bring down the vibe of your space and make it less enjoyable to use.

Perform a cleansing ritual.

There are many ways to do this, but a couple of examples are burning a smudge stick or ringing a bell throughout your space (be sure to get the corners and dark areas, as stagnant energy tends to accumulate here).

Spruce things up.

Are there any things you can add that will make the space more usable and appealing? Maybe an essential oil diffuser for your living space or a pretty organizing tool for your work space.

Rearrange things.

Rearranging your rooms is also a fun and inexpensive way to freshen things up. I used to always do this at the end of the year after taking down the Christmas decorations. As we’ve downsized over the years, we don’t have as many options when it comes to rearranging furniture, but I still usually find a few things to change up so I can have a fresh new look.

3) Handle any nagging annoyances.

We all have those little things that annoy us on the daily, but we just sort of learn to live with. Things like squeaky doors, drawers that stick, a shoe that needs a new heel cap, the bathroom drawer so stuffed to the gills that you can barely open and close it, or the thing you’re constantly misplacing because you don’t have a designated place for it (like my husband and his wallet, for example).

These things may be small, but they really add up. They’re an unnecessary drag in your day-to-day that you just don’t need.

Make a list of all these things — the ones that are in your control and you can actually do something about (things not in your control, like stupid bosses, don’t apply here). If you can’t think of any, just pay attention throughout your day and you’re bound to notice some.

Then fix it. Set aside time in your day to take care of the ones you can handle on your own, and find someone to take care of the ones you can’t.

You’ll be surprised how much you’ll benefit from doing away with these little annoyances. We all have enough annoyances to deal with that aren’t in our control, so all the more reason to handle the ones that are!

4) Be proactive and prepare yourself with the things (and mindset) you’ll need to be successful in achieving your goals.

To prepare for the new year and set yourself up for success, be sure you’re clear about what’s involved in being successful with the goals or intentions you’ve set.

For example . . . if eating healthier is one of your goals (or a strategy for a health-related goal), first get clear about what healthy eating means to you and what it looks like.

Does healthy eating mean following a particular style of eating (like vegetarian or gluten-free), or does it mean clean eating in general or just cutting back on sugar?

Once you’ve defined it, then set yourself up for success by taking some time during the holiday break to look for healthy recipes that fit into your vision of healthy eating.

Are there supplies you need that can make it easier for you (like new non-plastic containers for meal prep or an Instant Pot to make healthy cooking less time-consuming)? Stock up on those now and you’ll be one step ahead.

5) Create a new ritual for yourself.

I love rituals! They can be a really great way to support your goals and dreams, and make good things happen in your life.

You can go in so many directions with this. It can be something that supports a specific goal you’re working toward, or it can simply be something to bring more joy or calm or magic into your life.

If you aren’t sure what type of ritual you would create, I suggest starting with one that will support one of your goals or dreams for the coming year.

For example, getting more sleep is my top wellness-related focus for the new year. I really struggle with going to bed on time, so I’m going to create a bedtime ritual. Something that will help me wind down and prepare for bed so that I’m in the bed with lights out by 10pm!

When creating your ritual, you want it to be something you’ll actually look forward to. Anchoring a new habit to something you enjoy is a sure-fire way to make it happen.

To recap, here are the 5 simple ways to prepare for the new year and set yourself up for success . . .

  1. Wrap up your incompletes
  2. Freshen up your living and working spaces
  3. Deal with any nagging annoyances
  4. Be proactive and prepare yourself with the things and mindset you’ll need to be successful in achieving your goals and dreams
  5. Create a new ritual for yourself

I hope these ideas will help you prepare for the new year and set a foundation for success with your goals. If you found it helpful, please share it with others by pinning it.  I’d love to hear below in the comments about what you’re doing to set yourself up for success in the new year!

Wishing you an awesome new year of health, happiness and success!

You might also like . . .

A new year guide to goal-setting and planning

How to choose your word of the year (with free inspired words list!)

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  1. These are awesome tips! I know it’s February now, but it’s never too late to start, right? 😉

    I did what’s becoming my yearly January-decluttering so at least that got done in time! And I just wrote a post with my 20 favorite inspirational quotes so I’m going to frame a few of them so I can put them up around my desk so I get daily motivation (and new decor). We can’t really change up the furniture in the office, so I do what I can!

    My boyfriend has been bugged by the shitty paint job on the banisters ever since we moved in, so yesterday he took them off the wall and started repainting them. You’re really right that those small things, that are totally in our control to change, is something that we should just get done. Thanks for the tips! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Erika! You’re 100% right — never too late! I’m still working on some of them myself! 🙂

      I’m really glad you found them helpful and I LOVED hearing about the ones you’ve been putting into practice — thanks so much for commenting and sharing them! Getting those things done feels awesome, doesn’t it?!

      Keep up the good work and Happy New Year! <3