In 3 Steps: How to skip your New Year’s Resolution and start 2017 off right!

If you’ve known me longer than a year or two, you probably know that I don’t treat New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day like most people.

I don’t spend the last day of December wasting money on overpriced drinks to go to over-packed bars, just to wait lose your voice trying to talk to your friends over the music. None of that has ever really appealed to me, especially now that I just don’t enjoy drinking. And starting the first day of the year as a hungover mess? No thanks.

I don’t know specifically when I first made the decision to do something different, but since I turned 30, I have skipped making a resolution in favor of preparedness. Making grand New Year’s sets you up for failure. How many times have you made a resolution and failed? Exactly. Instead, I choose to set the year up for success, and it only takes a few simple shifts in thinking, purpose and intention. Here are my three New Year’s Day traditions.

1. Exercise

Every New Year’s Day, I wake up at 6am, and I take a 3–5ish mile solo run. I do my usual inner-mind focused stretches to a specific mix, then I hop out onto the road and try and focus on my breathing while I run/jog (walk fast). My goal is not just to listen to the music, but listen to myself. It’s very refreshing.

2. Coffee

After my run and a nice hot shower with all the ridiculous liquid soaps I got in my stocking on Christmas, I head to Starbucks. Not because it’s my favorite coffee shop — because it’s not, by far Reveille in The Castro in SF is my favorite — but because Starbucks is consistent, and who doesn’t love a Caramel Apple Cider or a Raspberry Mint Mocha? I usually only get a grande drip for myself. No, the selection of four additional fine beverages from the caffeinated mermaid of Seattle are for the people in my third tradition.

3. Organize

Starbucks in hand, I walk into The Container Store. I greet the bleary-eyed retail heroes with my tray of treats. I love seeing their surprise and delight. There’s usually some conversation about how I tell them the years I spent working retail, and the numbers of holidays I worked. [Once, for Club Monaco, I worked a New Year’s Eve AND a New Year’s Day in a year when I was partying and hosting out of town guests. It was rough.] So, I get the struggle. But The Container Store is one of those few stores that truly make me happy. Even just walking by one makes me dream sweet nothings of organizing something.

Each year I have a different budget and need for different levels of organization. (If you don’t go out for NYE, then you might have some big bucks leftover to spend at TCS.) As you might expect after reading this, I’m a pretty organized person — though I firmly believe in the value of a perpetually unruly junk drawer.

Old systems and methods of organization can often benefit from a fresh perspective, so I usually shop with an eye to organize my desk, and my closet. Since I work mostly from home, these are my two most-used areas of my home. And, since I always want the new year to be better than the old, what better way to do that than by focusing on setting myself up for professional success?

Why this tradition is the best

The great thing about having this simple yearly tradition is that I end the year thinking positively about the new year. Pause for a moment. Right now. Imagine beginning each year with a day of reflection, energy, and positive actions all while imagining future experiences, mitigating any potential organizational pitfalls. Like I tell my clients: I craft my own future through a better designed life experience. I try to live my ethos/”craft the future” tagline.

This yearly New Year’s Day tradition also does four things:

  1. It focuses my mind on myself, and sets in motion a commitment to my own health and well being.
  2. It reinforces how I aim to live my life: with kindness and love to strangers. My first outward gesture is one of intentional kindness, charity and appreciation in delivering the coffee and treats to the retail employees.
  3. I focus on imagining the entire year unfold by assessing my organizational challenges of the past year and solve new ones for the new year.
  4. A sense of refreshing accomplishment, not a hangover.

I’m not perfect, and every year doesn’t always go according to plan, but usually I can stick pretty close to my tradition. And the best part is I can usually have this all done before New Year’s Day brunch with friends.

No matter how you spend your holidays, I hope they are merry, bright, and filled with delight! Oh, and Happy New Year!