10 ways to help you start the New Year right

At the end of each year many of us like to reflect back on our successes and failures of the past year. Some, like myself, tend to be more reflective and find it useful to read through the year's journals, make notes and lists of goals met or fallen short, while others prefer to focus their attentions on looking forward and setting new goals. What ever your preference, it seems only natural to want to start each year fresh.

Though many scoff at the idea of making resolutions, there is certainly benefit in taking advantage of the mental new start and motivational momentum that comes to our culture with each new year.

10 ways to help you start the New Year right | Salt & Light Natural Wellness

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Here are some great tips and ideas to help you make the most of this new beginning and carry you through the year with success and tremendous personal growth:

How to Make the Best Start to your New Year

10 ways to help you start the New Year right | Salt & Light Natural Wellness

1. Journal

Journaling is a great way to set goals, organize your plan, track your progress, and keep yourself accountable in your journey. I find that it doesn't have to be an expensive, fancy one, though having something aesthetically pleasing to go to everyday is an added bonus, however a dollar store type composition notebook works just fine. There are many ways to format your journal to assist you. I like this style myself, as it leaves room for free-writing of my thoughts and feelings, but also has a structured section to easily track progress.

2. OneWord365

If you aren't familiar with the OneWord365 concept, it's a movement that started almost a decade ago, where you select a word to be your theme or focus for the coming year. There is a growing community of folks on social media that also participate and you can register your word online to find others in your tribe, share your word, your inspirations, and your goals if you want to. It's a very optimistic and supportive community, and I always enjoy participating. I've taken it a little further than simply choosing a word to focus on and usually start at the end of November and through December with praying for divine guidance in selecting my OneWord, and while I'm often surprised at the word that God gives me for the year, I always experience tremendous growth through it.

10 ways to help you start the New Year right | Salt & Light Natural Wellness

3. Accountability partner

Having a friend who will support you but also check in and call you out when you aren't sticking with your plan can be a great asset to sticking with your new year goals. My partner and I try to meet every other week. This also works to make sure we are staying consistent with our journaling, because no one wants to show up unprepared to a meeting! We also send each other encouraging verses, prayers, quotes, and memes through out the week or as they come to us. Knowing that someone else can relate to your same struggles can ease your burden and bring a perspective you may not have otherwise had.

10 ways to help you start the New Year right | Salt & Light Natural Wellness

4. Peer support groups

Another great (and free!) area to find support and accountability is through local peer support groups. There are many different groups out there, depending on your goals, and sites like Meetup can assist in connecting you with a group. I've found my local library and church great sources for support groups as well.

5. Online focus groups

For those living in remote areas, for who local groups may not be accessible, or those of us that are comfortable connecting online, online groups can also be a great asset. There are many closed Facebook groups and Instagram communities that cater to any goal you could possibly think of. These groups can be awesome sources of support and encouragement as well as incredibly creative think tanks for getting you through your roadblocks.

6. Subscription planners

While there are quite a number of paid online subscription planners and organizers out there, you can easily find free ones like Plan that work just as well.

10 ways to help you start the New Year right | Salt & Light Natural Wellness

7. Tracking apps

Along with online calendars and planners, there are tons of free apps for your phone to assist in tracking your progress whether they be:

dietary (SparkPeople, MyFitnessPal)

fitness (FitBit, Endomondo)

financial (GoodBudget, Mint, Wave)

spiritual (YouVersion, Echo)

women's health (Life)

creative (Pinterest)

reading (Bookly, Reading List)

emotional/mental health (PTSD Coach, Mindfulness Coach)

family (Cozi, Productive)

Many serve dual-purposes as well and cover multiple areas.

10 ways to help you start the New Year right | Salt & Light Natural Wellness

8. Calendars

I find using a calendar app extremely helpful in keeping me on track. I schedule out my tasks, color coded, along with reminder notifications. If you prefer a physical calendar, you can find a month-at-a-glance style calendar for very little money at your local dollar store. Often charitable organizations also give them out with a tax-deductible donation. You can also find physical all-in-one organizers like this one for low cost.