I love getting ready for a new year. I always look at January as a fresh start and it really motivates me to get organized and start making and tackling my goals for the year. I always like to start the new year organized and ready to go, and these seven steps are a great start to getting organized for the new year and getting ready to tackle your goals!
Reflect on the Previous Year
A super important step in preparing and getting organized for the new year (and a step that many people skip) is reflecting on the previous year.
What went well the previous year that you would like to continue/repeat? What steps did you use and can you repeat in the new year to keep you in a positive place?
On the flip side, what didn’t go so well in the last year? Be honest with yourself! Are there certain goals you didn’t reach or certain areas of your life where you definitely aren’t where you’d like to be?
For me, my blog was sorely neglected over the past year because of being so busy with my full-time job, as well as because of things going on in my personal life. I plan to use this to not only get back on track with my business but to help prepare my blog for anything that may come up in the future so I’m more prepared to keep things running when other parts of my life get in the way.
Update Your Budget
A big part of getting organized for the new year is getting your finances in order. This is especially important if you have some financial goals you’re working toward next year (which most of us do) such as saving for a home or a vacation or working to pay off debt.
Recently I wrote a post about creating a financial plan for the new year, which would be a great resource to use when updating your budget!
Declutter Your Home
The new year is a great time to tackle all of the clutter that has built up in your home over the last year, and even long before. This one is a tad easier for me because I have moved twice in the past two years, meaning the decluttering has been sort of a natural process (and since my last move was into a studio apartment, the decluttering was pretty non-negotiable).
Decluttering and minimizing can be a pretty daunting process, but it sure feels good once you start making progress! I have a few questions I ask myself to help me declutter, and it helps me decide whether or not I really need each item.
Find a System for Paper Clutter
When it comes to clutter, one of the most frustrating types to deal with is paper clutter! It piles up so quickly with everything from bills to receipts to employment information. I’ve found that the best solution for myself to avoid allowing paper clutter to take over my life is to digitize everything and toss the physical copies.
I have a scanner app on my phone, and it makes it super easy to upload all the paper I have coming in, and then organize it in folders on my computer versus in folders taking up space in my home.
Create a System For Digital Organization
One of the big benefits of living in a digital world is that paper clutter becomes so much less necessary and it’s a lot easier to stay organized, at least in theory. But this is only the case if you actually take the time to create a system to organize your digital clutter!
Since starting my business, I’ve used tools like DropBox and Google Drive to organize my digital files so I can access them anywhere and so they are backed up somewhere besides my computer’s hard drive. Earlier this year my laptop was damaged by water and I wasn’t able to recover anything that was saved there, so I’m super glad I had saved everything elsewhere!
There are so many articles out there that will dive into detail about how to organize your digital files. The important thing is coming up with a system that works for you and that will be sustainable and easy to stay on top of.
Set Goals and Make a Plan
When we talk about preparing for the new year, setting goals and resolutions is probably the first thing that comes to mind. I always get excited about sitting down with my notebook and planning out my goals for the following year.
There’s a significant difference, however, between setting vague resolutions that you hope might happen to come to fruition versus setting well thought out goals that are accompanied by an action plan.
A year is a long time to work toward a goal, so it’s no wonder we tend to lose track of those goals and never reach them. The important step that so many of us miss is creating a plan!
I have a more comprehensive blog post on achieving long-term goals, so you can use this to make a plan to reach your goals in the next year!
Track Your Progress
Most people look at new year’s resolutions as a “set it and forget it” type of activity. They excitedly think, and maybe even write down, everything they want to accomplish in the new year. Then that list quickly gets pushed aside and forgotten about. By the end of the year, you may not even remember what your goals for the new year were, and you very likely haven’t regularly checked back in on your progress.
So rather than letting your goals fall through the cracks, start from Day 1 with a system that reminds you to track and check in on your progress! It literally might be a monthly reminder on your calendar to really reflect on how you’re doing. For some goals it might make sense to track your progress in a spreadsheet – this works great for financial goals or blogging goals!
Among other things, tracking your progress will regularly give you that little nudge of accountability so you don’t forget about your goals altogether.