How To Jump Start The New Year

Sick of giving up on your new year's resolutions? I share exactly how to start the new year (and why the last months of the year are an untapped resource)

I can’t believe we’re about to start the new year!

It’s actually crazy how fast time has gone.

It feels like only a few of weeks ago that I was waiting in the tinsel-covered checkout line at kikki.K, new diary in hand, feeling so hopeful and dreamy that I was about to start the new year – and now it’s nearly October!

And that brings up the question:

What should we do with this final quarter of the year? The quarter that is the least inspiring, the least productive and the easiest to neglect.

We could:

  1. just write it off (because we feel like we have to wait for that annual ‘clean slate’ before we can start doing something new)
  2. decide to relax and enjoy the silly season (ain’t nothing wrong with that)
  3. keep working on our new year’s goals if we can even remember them (and if this is the case for you then you are amazing!)
  4. start preparing and creating some momentum for what we want to achieve when we start the new year (which, as you might have guessed, is what this post is about)
  5. all and none of the above (i.e. not make any decision about what we’re going to do)

I’m writing this blog post because I realised that I’d ‘chosen’ what I described above as option 5 – indecision.

I’m quite a big fan of using indecision as a way to procrastinate. It’s a trap I find myself falling into quite often and I could quite happily spend the next 3 months toing and froing between the options so I never have to actually make a choice.

But once I realised that being indecisive (aka procrastinating) meant I would just be wasting the last 3 months of the year (in terms of getting shit done and kicking goals) I started thinking about what I could do instead.

Why do we wait to start the new year?

We all have that list of things we say we’d ‘like’ to do.

We’d like to get fit and eat healthy. We’d like to learn Spanish. We’d like to travel. We’d like to do some yoga everyday. We’d like to read more.  We’d like to wake up when our alarm goes off.

So it’s not like we’re at a loss for things we want to change.

But, even though it doesn’t really make sense, we often put off doing the things we would like to do because we’re waiting until we have the perfect conditions to do them. And for a lot of us, one of those ‘perfect conditions’ is that feeling of a fresh start that comes around only once a year.

I’m not saying that we need to make new goals at the beginning of October (though we definitely could) or that there’s anything wrong with using an arbitrary date like new years to reflect and set some goals.

I was just thinking that what if, instead of waiting until January 1 and having to start from a complete standstill, I just did a few things that would start creating a little momentum towards my goals before I would start the new year.

How I’m preparing to start the new year

One of my main goals to start the new year is to spend more time creating and less time consuming.

love binging on my favourite TV shows and I devour podcasts and audio books. But I want to spend some of the time I use to watch TV to do things that are creative. And I want to actually put the amazing things I learn in podcasts and audio books into practice.

So instead of trying to change my creating and consuming habits dramatically in January next year, I’m going to use the rest of the year to just start creating a little momentum. I’m going to be overseas for all of November and December, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait until I get back in January to start working on this (even though it would be super easy to use my holiday as an excuse).

For the next few months I’ll be taking notice of how much I’m creating and how much I’m consuming. I’ll be carving some time out to do things that are creative and making sure I’m not automatically going to Netflix every time I’m looking for something to do. I’ll just be taking small steps towards my goal so that I don’t have to start from nothing in January.

Overcoming past experiences

It can be painful setting New Years goals, especially when we’ve struggled to follow through with them in the past. It can bring up a lot of disappointment, embarrassment and self-doubt and it can feel pointless or like we’re just setting ourselves up for failure.

Or it can be extremely exciting and inspiring, and we make plans to overhaul every area of our life all at once (this is what I do). But trying to change every aspect of our lives all at once soon gets too overwhelming and we end up doing none of it at all.

For the people who are in the first boat, building some momentum now can be a great way to get around your negative association with new year’s resolutions. By the time you start the new year you’ll already be on your way to reaching your goals and you’ll be that much more likely to actually follow through with them.

And for those of us in the second category, it can be great to do some goal-setting away from all the social media hype that comes along when we start the new year. If you’re the kind of person that wants to change every area of your life all at once, building momentum in one of those areas can be a great way to avoid the overwhelm that comes with setting a lot of goals.

One thing

If you create some momentum to start the new year, pick one thing to start working towards.

Just one.

Working towards just one goal for the next 3 months is a great way to build some serious momentum by the new year (and if you really focus on one thing you’re much more likely to see results than if you kinda focus on a little of things).

What is your one thing?

How are you going to start the new year? And are you the kind of person that feels like you have to wait until January before you can do any serious goal-setting? I’d love to know!

Sam xx

Author: Sam Brown

    • Hey Elyse 🙂

      Yep it’s definitely the time of year that motivation is at an all-time low! Finishing one book a month is a really good thing to focus on – I’d love to know how you go with it! I think the easiest way to read one book a month is just to read 10 pages everyday (when you wake up or before you go to sleep) – an average book is about 300 pages 🙂

      Sam xx

  • I liked this post. It’s very motivational. & you are really hitting something. I mean, why should we wait till January 1st to make goals? Why not do it now? After all, NOW is all we got. I don’t have a thing yet – but I’ll think of one. Perhaps something with not being too hard on myself…

    • Hey Heidi

      Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear you found the post helpful. Something around not being too hard on yourself would be a really good one (I feel like I should do that too). Maybe instead of trying to be kinder to yourself, you can start with just taking notice of when you’re being hard on yourself and why you’re doing it. I’d love to know how it goes!

      Sam xx

    • Hey Natalie

      Thanks so much 🙂 And yeah, overcoming past bad experiences with new years resolutions is really important I think. So many of us are just like ‘I can never stick to my new years resolutions’ and that’s just not true. Maybe we haven’t been able to stick to them in the past but that doesn’t mean we’ll never be able to!

      Sam xx

    • Hey Carmen!

      I know – I can’t believe that 2016 is so close! And it is definitely really important to learn from what we’ve done in the past. Even if we make the same mistakes again, starting to become aware of what caused us to make them is a step in the right direction!

      Sam xx

    • Hey Cristina!

      Time definitely goes way too fast – January is going to be here before we know it! Thanks for your comment 🙂

      Sam xx

  • Such a great post! I like the idea of getting started now. I believe we we set new years goals they are more likely to get ignored. I like to set goals with the seasons. I’m realizing I have to step back and take one day at a time. I remember I fell of hard with exercising and blogging and I told myself that I would just start getting back into it. Every little bit counts.

    By the way I really like how your post are inspiring, but also realistic. 🙂

    • Ooh I love the idea of setting goals with the seasons – I may have to steal that haha. It can be easy to fall out of habits but what matters is that we keep trying and don’t give up (and that we’re flexible in the way we go about accomplishing that goal)

      And thanks so much – that really means a lot!

      Sam xx

  • I love the layout of your blog, it’s so modern and sleek! I ‘m always goal setting but I struggle to follow through, maybe I need to set more realistic ones!

    • Aww thanks so much Beth!

      I think there can be a lot of reasons why we struggle to follow through with things (one of which could be that you’re goals aren’t ‘realistic’ but not necessarily).

      I definitely recommend having a listen to Brooke Castillo’s podcast ‘The Life Coach School Podcast’ if you’re interested in learning more about why you’re struggling to stick to your goals – episode 40 is my absolutely favourite (it’s called ‘change and your brain’ and I’ve probably listened to it 20 times – no joke).

      Sam xx

    • Thanks so much for your comment Erin!

      I definitely get carried away with consuming too, especially since newsfeeds make it SO easy.

      Sam xx

  • I used to use New Years as the catalyst to setting goals but I’ve since learned over the years that you can set goals any time of the year. In fact, I think it’s probably better because there’s not nearly as much pressure and I think New Years resolutions are a little overrated. Kudos to those that succeed in their New Years resolutions though. My goal this year was to make writing a daily habit and send some of my material out to be published. You’re right–when you focus on one major goal you’re more likely to follow through with them. Currently doing NaNoWriMo and I’m surpassing my word counts daily. 🙂

    • I definitely agree about new years resolutions being overrated, I think it causes a lot of people to stall for the last part of a year because they tell themselves they need a ‘fresh start’ before they can make a change (I’ve definitely done that before).

      Making writing a daily habit sounds amazing, it’s something I’d definitely love to do. I just looked up NaNoWriMo and it sounds amazing!

      Sam xx

  • I feel your indecisiveness! I feel like you really know how to put a name to something (is that how you say it in English?) that is always there in the background. Am I making sense? I just want to tell you that I feel like I go through all of your phases too. I like how you put your finger on it, so I can change it. You’re like my life coach or something! Oh well, I will just stop typing, I need some sleep. 🙂

    Just to answer your question: my one thing is applying for a second master degree in China next year!


  • ooooh I LOVE this! Every year I make a list of things I want to do/work on. Right now I’m making sure I’m tackling 2015 and preparing ideas for 2016! I’m also just trying to live in the moment; not waiting for that clean slate but getting a head start on things!

    XO Sahra
    Que Sera Sahra

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