A brand new year will soon be here, unblemished and full of promise. I always find that rather exciting. But before I turn that calendar page, I like to take a look back, reflect a bit and tie up some loose ends. I can then move forward with a clean slate, ready to fully embrace the new year.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
Anne of Green Gables
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Here is a list of things I like to do before the start of a new year:
1. Inbox Zero
Even though I know it won’t last, I love to begin the year with an empty inbox. I’ve been working on this and plan to finish up on Sunday afternoon. If necessary, I’ll move what’s left to a file and put a reminder in my phone to deal with it in a few days. Yeah, I know. But even if it’s largely symbolic, I want to see that empty inbox.
One thing I’m doing as I sort through emails is to unsubscribe from anything I don’t need. It’s too easy to simply keep deleting those newsletters I don’t have time to read but now is the time to be honest with myself and let them go.
If email threatens to overwhelm you, I highly recommend SaneBox. I signed up for the free 14-day trial and at the end of those two weeks I was hooked. SaneBox sorts your incoming emails into two categories, placing only the really important emails into your regular inbox. Everything else goes into a file called, SaneLater. You then receive a digest post which allows you to quickly deal with those less important emails. It’s truly brilliant and saves me hours every week. If you’d like to check it out, click here.
2. Clear Out My Feedly Account
I like the idea of starting the new year with no unread posts in Feedly (this is where I subscribe to and read blogs). I’m unfollowing those I don’t read regularly and yesterday I unfollowed over 50 blogs which haven’t posted in more than 6 months. I also have a Bloglovin’ account which I don’t really use. That’s something I may revisit at some point this coming year. When Google Reader was discontinued (let’s all pause for a moment of silence) I looked at several options for feed aggregators and at the time, I felt Feedly was the best option. In part, because their mobile app was much better than Bloglovin’s. That may no longer be the case. I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you read blogs via an aggregator, which do you use?
3. Finish a Couple of Books
I usually have a few books going at the same time. I only read one novel at a time but I often have one or more non-fiction books on hand to read when I have a few minutes here and there. It’s these non-fiction books I want to finish up before the end of the year. Here are the links in case you’re interested:
The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
4. Send Thank You Notes
I like to get my Christmas thank you notes mailed before the end of the year. Here’s a little tip: Use the fronts of Christmas cards you received as thank you notes. Very carefully cut off the fronts and then use them as postcards. You’ll even save a bit on postage!
5. Return Or Exchange Gifts
Two of the items I ordered as gifts this year arrived damaged. One was from Amazon and I’ve already reported it and received a return label. David printed it at work today so I’ll be able to send it tomorrow. I still need to contact the other company which I’ll do first thing tomorrow. It’s good to get these things taken care of right away.
6. Catch Up On Bullet Journal
I got way behind on this in recent weeks. I have all my daily to-do sheets so I have the information needed to fill out my journal. I just need to set aside an hour or two to do it. I’m using a bullet journal in part so I’ll have a diary of sorts to look back on so that is why I want to catch up rather than simply starting again where I am.
7. Set Up My New Planner
In addition to my bullet journal, I also use a Happy Planner. I like having a month-at-a-glance section as well as weekly planning pages. When I’m on top of things, I sit down at the beginning of the month and write appointments, birthdays and other events on the monthly portion. Then on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings I plan my week.
I received the 2018 Happy Planner for Christmas and now I just need to get it all set up and ready to go!
8. Create a Gratitude List For the Past Year
I haven’t ever done this before but I plan to make a list of things that happened in the past year for which I’m grateful. I must admit that I haven’t been at all consistent about keeping a gratitude journal (although I hope to do better in the coming year!) so I think this will be good alternative.
9. Create a “Let Go Of” List
While I have much to be grateful for, there are a few things that are best left in the past. Regrets, broken relationships, disappointments. If there is honestly nothing I can do to “fix” the situation then it’s time to let it go. I’m going to write my list on a piece of paper and then toss it ceremoniously in the fireplace. Poof! Moving on…
10. Current Me vs. Future Me
I recently watched this video and love the idea.
11. Purchase New Calendars
Perhaps this sounds rather antiquated in this age of smart phones and Google calendars. However, I still buy a couple of wall calendars each year. I have one above my desk and another in the kitchen. I do put events and appointments on my Google calendar in my phone. But I still like to have a wall calendar handy so I can see the month at a glance without always having to pull out my phone.
I usually buy something Paris-related for my office and something retro for the kitchen. Here are the ones I chose this year:
Office (It was several dollars cheaper when I ordered mine.)
Kitchen (Unfortunately, this is no longer available so I’m glad I ordered early!)
12. Evaluate and Tweak My Morning and Evening Routines
I’ve posted about morning and evening routines. These are ever-evolving. A new season or a new year are good times to take a look at your routines and determine if they are still working for you. I’m thinking about adding a bubble bath to my evening routine.
If you need some help creating routines, I can’t say enough about how good Crystal Paine’s courses are:
13. Create a List of Goals for the New Year
I’ll talk more about this in another post but setting goals and intentions is an important part of my preparation for a new year. I like to set goals for each area of my life and then break them down into small steps.
14. Select My “Word” for the Coming Year
I love this idea of choosing a word to focus on for the year. Last year my word was “release” which you can read about here. I’ve chosen my word for 2018 and will write a post about it soon. If you do this, I’d love to hear what your word is for 2018.
And that is how I am wrapping up the old year and moving into the new. Do you do any of these things? Or do you have additional ideas for saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new? I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment or send me an email if you prefer. I’m really excited about the coming year and look forward to providing more helpful content here on Life With Dee.