5 Creative Ways to Start the New Year off Right

Here at iCadenza, we are all about setting goals and intentions. But New Year’s goals leave us a little frustrated. Maybe it’s because we never manage to stick to them!

Every time the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, we get filled with promise for a new year. A better year. A year of completing ALL our to-do lists. A year when our yet unrealized dreams will come true. And a year when finally, FINALLY, we will do x, y, and z.

For us, our goals tend to be: workout more, go to sleep earlier, pamper ourselves a little bit each week, and get more done while feeling more rested.

Doesn’t that sound like a tall order? And yet, every year we go through the same process of hoping and dreaming that things will magically change.

This year, let’s try something different. Here are 5 creative ways to start the year off right. Click To Tweet

#1 Can you be more curious than afraid?

New Year’s Eve always follows the holidays, which are more hectic than other times of the year. In the midst of the pace and hubbub of the season, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Here’s a tip from Julia:

“I shared my overwhelm with a friend of mine, who happens to be an esteemed Alexander Technique teacher, and she shared a concept that rocked my world. She asked, “Can you be more curious than afraid?”

As I let that phrase ruminate around my head for a few days, I realized that most of the stress and overwhelm of the season was coming from fear.

Fear that things wouldn’t pan out the way I want them to, fear that I wouldn’t be able to handle things the right way, fear that I wouldn’t be enough.

What if, as my friend suggested, you allow yourself to be curious about how things will go, curious about where they might lead? How would that change your outlook?”

#2 Get clear about how you want to feel

Instead of setting a specific, tangible goal for yourself, think about how you want to feel instead.
What emotions do you want to experience?

From that emotional place, figure out three things you want to add to your life to help you get there.

#3 Create your own mini retreat

In July 2015, we “retreated” (literally to an island) to work on a big dream project of ours — our first book, Awakening Your Business Brain.

This year, dedicate time to your big dream project. Sometimes a little “time pressure” will help jump start your progress, especially when it comes to an idea that has been in the back of your mind and nagging you.

Here’s a tip from Jennifer:

“I started writing a musical in the spring of 2015, and since then it has been nagging me. I realized that, to find time to complete the project, I need to build time into my calendar.

I snuck a retreat into the final days of December, blocking off a weekend to focus on writing my musical. I even created specific progress deadlines for myself to complete — number of songs, scenes, etc.

It was a challenging yet rewarding process because, regardless of the quality of the output, or whether I end up keeping what I wrote or not, I can’t deny that I made progress!”

#4 Start a 30-day gratitude journal

What are you grateful for? As simple as this project sounds, it can be transformative.

You’ll find that this is like a 30-day cleanse. It will make you more positive, more receptive, and often more open to new possibilities.

#5 Invest in your happiness

What makes you feel connected and joyful? If it’s music, perhaps you’re already in touch with those feelings on a daily basis. Or — if there’s a lot of stress surrounding your career — maybe you’ve become dulled to the experience.

Where can you find new joy and inspiration? What new skill have you been longing to pick up or explore?

Schedule one session to try out something new and see what it is like. Consider it a New Year’s gift to yourself.

Here’s what Jennifer did:

“Last fall I started taking piano lessons again just for fun. There were many reasons not to do it — I don’t have time, I travel a lot, the costs, etc.

But the payoffs have been huge. I feel a huge sense of joy permeating my life because I gave myself this gift. I feel so proud of myself for the progress I have made already and I feel strongly connected to the joy of making music and learning music.

It relaxes my mind (I cannot multitask at the piano!). It engages my creativity, which has had tangible effects on my work. Most of all, it sends a message that my goals, interests, and desires matter — to me!”

Tell Us What You Think

How do you mentally prepare for the year ahead?

Does one of these tips stand out as something you’d like to try this year?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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