1. Donate twenty-five personal belongings.
By the end of the year we have accumulated a lot of junk. Pick twenty-five items: be they books, articles of clothing or household objects that you can live without, and donate them to a good cause. You won’t miss the clutter heading into the new year, and you’ll rest easier knowing that someone else is putting them to good use.
2. Make a list of the fifteen best things you did this year.
365 days is a long stretch of time – long enough for us to forget our own accomplishments and triumphs throughout. Sit down and write a list of every tiny victory you’ve encountered in the past year – fifteen at a minimum, infinity at a maximum. You may be surprised at all the tiny mountains you’ve conquered over the past twelve months, without ever recognizing them as such.
3. Make a list of five things you wish you’d done this year, but didn’t.
Just as we have to take notice of our triumphs, we also ought to take notice of the places where we sold ourselves short. Make a list of what you meant to accomplish this year, but never got around to. And then ask yourself how you’re going to make sure you make it happen now.
4. Extend a genuine and heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to the people who got you through the year.
Think of all your lowest points throughout the year. Ask yourself who was still standing beside you in those moments. And then let those people know exactly how much they’ve meant to you. Those who help us with an open heart often aren’t aware of how much of an impact they have – so it’s our job to let them know. And to give them the thanks they deserve.
5. Sever the ties you know you ought to.
The person you need to let go of. The job that you need to stop working. The situation that has been dragging you down throughout the year – it’s time to make the affirmative decision to let it all go. Why bring your baggage into the new year? If cutting off ties is going to hurt, let it hurt now. And let the new year be a place where you start over.
6. Apologize for all of the mistakes you made this year.
There’s no time like the year’s end to take accountability for what you did wrong along the way. Take this opportunity to own up and make amends with anyone you hurt over the past twelve months. It’s never to late to say you’re sorry. And you may just be giving somebody the exact closure they need heading into the New Year.
7. Forgive others for the mistakes they made this year.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean welcoming someone back into your life. It doesn’t even necessarily mean contacting them again. It just means making the conscious decision to let go of any anger, resentment and blame that you’ve been holding onto. It means accepting that we’re all fallible people, and allowing ourselves to head into the new year with peace in relation to that fact, rather than fury.
8. Accept the failures you encountered this year.
It’s tough to make it through the year without a single failure. But rather than dragging that beaten horse into the New Year alongside you, have the strength and the audacity before this year ends to let it go. To accept that you have failed. To let disappointment sink in, but also to revel in the freedom it allows you. We can’t fight new battles if we’re still waging war on the past. And there are so many other battles left to win.
9. Make a list of things that are going to get better.
Once you’ve let go of the pain, disappointment and resentment from the past year, you’re finally open to acknowledge all the amazing things that could replace them moving forward. Make a list of those things – and then make an active plan to achieve them.
10. Update your resume.
Which new skills did you pick up this year? Which do you still need to work on? Make a concrete plan to fill in those gaps in the New Year (or before the Year’s end) – it’ll remind you how far you’ve come in a year, and how much more you have left to learn.
11. Cancel the subscriptions and memberships that you never use.
Was your last visit to the gym LAST January 1st? Get real with yourself and cancel the memberships you no longer use before the year rounds up. You’ll be pleased with the financial liberation, and you can use the newfound money to put towards this year’s resolutions.
12. Get a head start on your New Year’s Resolutions.
January 1st is no day to begin resolutions – it’s cold, everything’s closed and there’s a significant chance you’ll be hungover as hell. Whichever habits you’d like to kick-start in the new year, kick-start now. By the time January 1st rolls around, you’ll be accustomed to your new routine, which means you’ll be infinitely more likely to stick with it.
13. Kiss somebody.
Is there any better time than the holidays to let someone know how you really feel about them? Take the opportunity to go out on a limb before the year ends – at best you’ll form a fantastic new relationship. At worst, you’ll have closure heading into the New Year.
14. Miss somebody.
Use the last of the year to get all the pain, heartache and strife of missing someone out of your system. Stop denying yourself the pain and allow yourself to indulge in it one last time. Get those tears out of your system and get ready to start anew in the year that follows.
15. Go visit that person you kept saying you’d visit this year, but didn’t.
Think back to the beginning of the year. Who did you promise yourself you’d catch up with, go visit or not lose touch with as the year progressed? Did you follow up on that promise? And if not, there’s still time to book a plane ticket.
16. Ask yourself the hard questions you’ve been putting off.
It’s all too easy to settle into a routine and let the little things slide – like our happiness, health and overall sense of wellbeing. Use the year’s end as an opportunity to check in with yourself about whether or not you’re really where you want to be in life. And if not, what you could be doing to start turning things around.
17. Unlearn a toxic belief.
Write down three negative beliefs you’ve been holding about yourself, other people or the world that surrounds you. And then challenge the hell out of all of them. Which of your negative perceptions are just that – perceptions? And what can you do see the other side of them before the year draws to a close?
18. Visit the doctor.
Don’t carry any anxiety over your health into the New Year. Visit the doctor, psychologist or any other professional you’ve been putting off visiting before the year draws to a close. You’ll learn what you could be doing better and you can begin implementing those changes before the New Year arrives.
19. Visit a financial advisor.
If finances were a significant source of stress for you in the past year, visiting a financial advisor is a fantastic way of alleviating some of that stress heading into the New Year. Since December is often an expensive month, it never hurts to check in on how you could be managing your finances better, and to establish what you can do differently heading forwards.
20. Make a list of all the things that you want, but are too afraid to ask for.
That raise. That relationship. That opportunity that has been dangling just out of your reach. Write it all down and then ask yourself – honestly – why you haven’t directly asked for any of it yet.
21. Make an action plan to ask for those things in the coming year.
Now that you’ve outwardly admitted what you want, make a detailed action plan that will make phrasing those questions a reality. Write down the speech you’re going to present to your boss, the text you’re going to send that person, or the application you’re going to send in that will make you eligible for that opportunity. Refuse to keep letting your dreams be dreams.
22. Ask your loved ones how the year has been for them.
There are years where we’re very in touch with those around us, but there are also years where we get so caught up in our own struggles that the challenges of others slip into our periphery. Before the year ends, make a point to catch up with the people you care about and learn what’s really been going on with them. They may appreciate it more than you could possibly know.
23. Make a list of ten things that surprised you in the past year.
Hindsight’s 20/20. None of the incredible things that happen to us seem unbelievable in retrospect, but when you look back over your year, what situations have you encountered that would have surprised yourself at this time last year? Make a concrete list of all the places life has taken you in the past year that you didn’t expect – and let it serve as a reminder that the coming year will likely be full of surprises, too.
24. Make a list of everything you’re still afraid of going into the New Year. Set the list on fire.
If there’s anything you don’t want to bring into the New Year with you, it’s uncertainty and fear. You may have a few apprehensions going forward. You may have some doubts. But you also have the power to realize that none of that has to stop you. As you draw this year to a close, let your fears for the coming year go up in flames. You won’t let them dictate your future. And your future doesn’t start with the New Year. It starts now.