How 10 Successful People Start Off a New Year
If you're looking for strategies to start off the new year on the right foot, we've got ideas from some notable sources.
Take inventory of what's coming and going.
Last December 31st, the Big Magic author shared her New Year's Eve ritual on Facebook: "I write down what I want to shed from the old year, and what I want to welcome into the new year. Then I burn the paper, and bring the ashes to the nearest body of water, and let it go.
This is a day to return to the elements—fire, water, earth—and to set yourself free from what was, while opening your heart wide to what is to come. It's worth the trouble to invent a little ceremony at this moment of transition, because it's a big moment.
I have always loved New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Even though our sense of time is arbitrary and human, it still means something. I love the feeling I always get on New Year's Eve that I am lucky—that the universe has been generous to me, to have let me stick around for another year, and to now erase the slate and give me another chance.
Tomorrow I will be gifted with a brand new year—with no mistakes in it yet, and no heartbreaks yet, and no failures yet. I get to try again. Amazing."
Approach the gym with a healthy dose of humor.
In her Instagram post a few days after New Year's Eve—with a grueling world tour approaching—the singer hilariously captured how we all feel about working out post holidays.
Keep intentions short, simple and memorable.
Hart told us that his vision for the year was..."To be much better in 2016 than I was in 2015. At the end of the day, I want my life to be about progress."
Pick an overarching theme for the coming year.
As she wrote about in her book Happier at Home, for the last several years Rubin has distilled her goals for the coming year into one word. In 2015, Rubin was focused on "Upgrade." For 2016, she wrote on her blog that:
"For 2016, I'm cheating a little, and allowing myself two words: 'Lighten up.' I tend to get intense and worked up, and I take myself too seriously. I want to remind myself to take things lightly, keep a sense of perspective, and see the funny side of things.
To inspire myself to lighten up, I just watched that scene from the movie Stripes: 'Lighten up, Francis.' And I re-read one of my favorite lines, from G. K. Chesterton: 'It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light."
Find your inner kid again.
In 2014, the Daring Greatly author shared with us that playing was an essential part of her plan for the new year, saying, "A few years ago, I noticed in my research that wholehearted people—my term for men and women with the courage to be vulnerable and live their lives 'all in'—shared something else, too: They goofed off. They spent time doing things that to me seemed frivolous, like gardening and reading. I couldn't really wrap my head around it—were they slackers? Then one day, while I watched my kids jump on the trampoline in our backyard, it hit me: Wholehearted adults play." Read her tips on how to make it happen here.
Try something that nobody expects.
In a counterintuitive move, the best-selling author and Wharton School professor resolved to procrastinate more, as he explained in a New York Times article in early 2016, writing:
"We think of procrastination as a curse. Over 80 percent of college students are plagued by procrastination, requiring epic all-nighters to finish papers and prepare for tests. Roughly 20 percent of adults report being chronic procrastinators. We can only guess how much higher the estimate would be if more of them got around to filling out the survey.
But while procrastination is a vice for productivity, I've learned—against my natural inclinations—that it's a virtue for creativity." Read more about his unusual resolution here.
BOZOMA SAINT JOHN
Make time to take care of your mind *and* body.
As head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, Saint John is constantly on the move. But she takes the lead-up to the new year as an opportunity to slow down, as shown in her Instagram post from NYE 2016, captioned with "On the cusp of a new year, I continue my yearly ritual of exfoliating and massaging the old year out, to usher in the new...".
Get way out of your comfort zone.
Many of us resolve to try something new when January 1st rolls around, but Rhimes took it to a new level with her 2014 resolution, telling the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine:
"So my New Year's resolution was to say yes to the things that scare me," says Rhimes. The first call she got happened to be from President Philip Hanlon '77, who asked her to give Dartmouth’s 2014 Commencement speech. "I thought, 'That sounds terrifying!'" says Rhimes. "I don't like public speaking, so to give the Dartmouth commencement speech? That's insane. As soon as I hung up the phone, I was like, 'I can't believe I said yes to that!' (For the record, Rhimes faced her fear and gave the commencement address.)
If saying yes isn't your problem...
Ariely understands. The psychology and behavioral economics professor at Duke University tried the age-old resolution so many of us could use: saying no more often. "I get a lot of requests for all kinds of time-consuming activities every day. In general, I try to be helpful, but there are only 24 hours of the day and I already don't sleep much. So, in reality, every time I say yes to something I also say no to other things—and my sad realization is that my process for saying yes and no does not lead to a plate of activities that fits with my priorities. So, in 2016, I am going to try and figure out what my priorities are, and then direct my time in a way consistent with my priorities," he wrote on his blog.
Be realistic—not but defeatist—about those lofty goals.
YouTube star Helbig tweeted in 2013 that her New Year's resolution was to "Do something good for my body/mind for 2 days then stop because it's hard. Repeat every 30-60 days."
Photo credits from top to bottom: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images, Jesse Grant/Getty Images, Courtesy of Super Soul Sunday, Courtesy of Super Soul Sunday, Noam Galai/Getty Images, Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images, Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images, Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images, Sean Gallup/Getty Images, Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images.
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