As the door closes on another year and we ring in the new year, our thoughts turn to New Years Resolutions. We all set good intentions and aim for the new year to be our biggest and best year yet.
The start of the new year is the idea time to reflect on your life and consider some positive changes to put in place for the new year. It’s something we all do year in, year out, but very few of us actually stick to our resolutions and see a positive change in our lives.
Are our goals too big? Do we set ourselves up for failure? Do our resolutions mean we actually have to change our habits… And changing our habits are simply too hard to do?
Maybe it’s one or all of the reasons above. Regardless, the reality is that most of us fail in our resolutions and find ourselves a year down the track setting the same intentions that we set year in year out.
How about thinking differently this year… New decade, new thinking…. Why not!
Instead of setting intentions that force us to change our long held habits, we make resolutions that are more realistic, are not overly ambitious but over time, will make an impact to our lives.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with our top 20 list of cool ideas you can start in the New Year. Ideas that are easy to implement, don’t take much time and but can make a positive impact to your life.
Read on to find out what they are…
1. Start the Day with 5 Minutes of Mediation and Reflection
Before you begin your day, take 5 to 10 minutes to yourself to meditate and reflect on your life… Where it is now, where it is going, what you want to achieve. This will help to ground you and build a strong mind.
5 to 10 minutes out of your day will barely be noticeable, yet it can make all the difference to how you perceive yourself and how you approach the day ahead.
Do this before you do anything else. Give yourself this time. Make an effort to get in your meditation time before you even pick up your phone or start preparing for the day.
If you want to take it a little further, you can set yourself a full morning routine like the Miracle Morning to really get you into the right frame of mind.
2. Track your Income and Expenses
Money can be one the of the biggest stressors in our lives. And I know most of you will run a mile if I even mention the word ‘budget’. If money (or lack of money) is a stress in your life, why not start of small…ish and simply track where your money is coming in and where it is going out.
By completing this one simple activity, it will give you a lot of insight into your spending habits and how much you are actually spending on items you simply don’t need.
There are plenty of apps, programs and spreadsheets that can help you keep track of your money. All which make the process very easy. So there is really no excuse to get started.
3. Create a Savings Plan
If the simple task of tracking your money is too basic for you, why not go an extra step and set yourself up a savings plan. There are plenty of plans and tracking sheets that make saving not only a breeze but super fun in the process. These savings sheets show you just how much you can save by putting away pocket change every week.
Or you could pick a denomination such as a dollar or five dollars and every time you find yourself with one, set it aside and count them all up at the end of the year. You might surprise yourself with how much money you save.
4. Set Up Passive Income Streams
They say that rich people have on average 6 to 10 passive income streams. That is income that is generated with little to no input from you. Now doesn’t that sound like an Idea to Live By? Sure, it may take a little bit of your time to set up the passive streams, but once they are set and working, you may find yourself generating a tidy little sum for yourself.
The ways in which you can generate passive income is multiple… It could mean buying investment properties, investing in shares that provide dividends… Or it could mean creating products and assets, such as books, eBooks and the like that you create once and sell over and over again.
5. Make One Day a Week a ‘No Spend’ Day.
Now this is a cool idea that I think we can all achieve! Choose one day a week that you set as a ‘No Spend’ day. This means you spend no money on that day. You don’t buy lunch, you walk instead of paying for the bus and you don’t pop into the shops in your lunch break for a little retail therapy.
I’m sure we can all get through just one day a week where we spend no money, and by the end of the year we may find it’s had a positive impact to our bank balance.
If you’re the ambitious type… you could even stretch it to two or more day…. Heck, why not aim for a ‘No Spend Month’!
6. Make One Green Change a Month
This idea might need some forward thinking, but just like the others, and idea that is highly achievable without putting to much strain on our long held habits and routine.
Each month, pick one thing that you can change that is good for the environment. One month this could mean making a conscious effort in reducing the plastic that comes into your home… using reusable bags over plastic bags, putting your fruit and veg loose in your trolley rather than using a bag for each item, saying no straws and so on.
The next month you could choose to take a reusable coffee cup for your takeaway coffee and say no to disposable cups.
You could arrange car pooling with your work mates/school mates / team mates or decide to walk more instead of using your car.
One small change every month can make a huge difference over a year.
7. Switch to All Natural Cleaning Products
Cleaning products can be some of the most toxic things in our lives. Why not set new intentions this year to swap out the toxic cleaning chemicals for Eco friendly natural products. Not only are there some great natural cleaning cloths available on the market but old fashioned, homemade remedies can clean just as good as the manufactured chemical products.
And not only are they better for you and better for the environment, but they are often much cheaper and easier to use as well.
Check out some natural cleaning methods here.
8. Invest in an Indoor Plant or Two
This is definitely a cool idea to start the new year with. Invest in an indoor plant or two. They will do wonders for the air quality within your home and there is a wide variety to choose from.
9. Create a 356 Day Memory Jar
This is a great idea for those who feel like they haven’t done or achieved anything throughout the year.
All you need is a jar or container and some note paper. Every time you do something, achieve something or anything else significant happens, write it down and put it in the jar. Make a note of what happened, who was with you and how you felt.
Then, at the end of the year you can spend some time going through the memories of everything that took place throughout the year.
The best thing is, you can make it totally customizable to you. You can place a note in when events happen in your life, or you can place a note in everyday commenting on how you feel that day or something funny, inspiring or remarkable that you want to remember.
10. Leave a Motivational Message
Who wouldn’t want to start off the day with a bit of positivity! And why not do this every day!
Gather together all your best quotes, inspiration and motivation and leave a motivational message for your loved one to see every day. All you need is 365 post-it-notes, a pen and 365 positive quotes and affirmations.
Each night write out an inspirational quote on a post it and stick it somewhere where your loved one will see it as they prepare for their day. This could be on the bathroom mirror, the back of the front door, stuck to the steering wheel of the car or poking out of their lunchbox each day.
11. Write a Gratitude Journal
Another way to remember your year is to write in a journal. Each day, take 5 minutes to write down what you are grateful for in your life. Again, it can be major things or simply the smallest things in your day that made it better.
I’m sure all of us can find just one thing every day that we can be grateful about.
12. Cut Back on Sugar
They say that Sugar is more addictive than cocaine… I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that sugar sure is hard to cut out of your life. But I also know, that when I do cut sugar out, or significantly cut back, I feel much better for it.
If you struggle like me to cut out sugar, you could try cutting back slowly in small ways… Such as reducing the amount of sugar you have in your coffee, or opting for sugar free alternatives in your favorite foods.
This may be a hard resolution to keep… But your health will thank you for it.
13. Read a New Book a Month
Who doesn’t love a good book? Jhumpa Lahiri summed up books perfectly in her quote “… They let you travel without moving your feet” Not only do they let you travel, fill your mind with the possibility of new experiences, and grow your knowledge, books can transport you away from where you are.
If you are feeling alone, isolated or helpless, a book can help inspire you, encourage you and give you the confidence to try new things.
Set yourself a goal of reading one new book a month. Even if you achieved only half your goal, that’s six new books that you’ve allowed to expand your brain.
14. Learn a New Skill
Along the same though pattern as reading new books, why not make a resolution in the new year to learn a new skill. Something you’ve always been interested in learning but never got around to it.
A new skill could be anything from learning a new language, taking up a carpentry course, learning an instrument or learning how to dance. The options really, are endless!
15. Take Yourself on Dates
When was the last time you went on a date…. With yourself?? I bet you can’t even remember. (And NO, alone time in the car is not considered a date!)
Why not give yourself some extra love in the new year and take yourself on regular dates… Do everything you love to do without having to compromise, leave early or feel guilty about taking up anyone’s time.
Find a favorite coffee shop and make it a weekly coffee and good book date (That’ll definitely help with idea 13!). Or aim for a monthly movie where you can stay to watch all the credits and you don’t have to share the popcorn. I’m sure yourself would also appreciate a day out at the local museum or art gallery.
Make it a year of self love!
16. Take a Photo a Day
While we’re talking about self love, when was the last time you put yourself in front of a camera? Yes, yes, I know you have 1000 reasons why you shouldn’t be taking photos of yourself, but trust me, your families future generations will appreciate some real and raw images of you. Warts, wrinkles and wobbly bits to boot!
Nothing will show you how much you have grown than a photo a day. Just like this dad who took a photo of his daughter every day for 20 years. It’s amazing how much she has grown.
Go on, give it a go! Take a selfie a day for a year! I challenge you. No one has to see them if you don’t want them to see.
If you don’t think you can bring yourself to take selfies, then why not simply a photo a day of your life around you. Take random photos or take ques from photo lists such as Fat Mum Slim’s Photo a day
17. De-clutter the Old – One Thing In, Three Things Out
Anyone who has Netflix would no doubt have come across Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of decluttering. It’s fairly extreme, but gets results!!
I’m not suggesting you KonMari your life, but there’s no harm in setting a little rule in place that is in the spirit of de-cluttering and certainly helps reduce any signs of hoarding. It’s the ‘One thing in, three things out’ rule. And it’s very simple!
Whenever you introduce a new item into your home, you must remove (sell, donate, throw away) three other items. For example, if you buy a new pot plant, then choose a book, an ornament and a stationary set to remove. It sounds a little extreme to get rid of three items when we are only introducing one new item, but trust me, we all own way to much stuff anyway!
18. Get Involved in Your Community
How well do you know your neighbors? When was the last time you at out at the local family owned restaurant? How much do you know about what events take place in your home town?
Getting involved in your community is such a rewarding experience. It strengthens relationships and keeps the community on the whole strong. Take some time to get to know what is happening in your community and get involved. Join the local exercise classes. Shop at the local specialty stores… Even just signing up to the community Facebook group in your area and joining the conversation can help keep you connected to your neighbors.
19. Reach Out to Someone That Inspires You
Who do you admire? Who inspires you to do better, be better? Who’s movies do you love to watch or books you love to read? We all have someone that we admire and look up too. It may be your mum or it could be someone who’s influence is far greater… Such as Oprah or Tony Robbins.
Why not take the time and reach out to that person. Tell them you admire them. Tell them why you admire them and share the impact they have had on your life. Just like all the other ideas listed here, just one small action such as this, can change your life for the better…. You just never know where it may lead.
20. Focus on Changing One Bad Habit Every Month
If all the other ideas on this list of 20 Cool Ideas to start in the New Year hasn’t inspired you to make a change, then why not simply choose one bad habit and commit to changing that habit for one month.
They say it takes only 28 days to make a habit and to break a habit, so choose the one habit that you hate the most and commit to changing it.
It could be snacking after dinner, or waking up late for work every day, or going over your budget every month… What ever it is, make it your focus to actively change it for one month.
Do your research on the habit, ask for suggestions on how to change it and put a plan in place that stops you reverting back to that bad habit.
I know you can do it!!
Let me know in the comments below what idea you like the most and what ideas your are looking to implement in the new year.