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5 Tips to Help Get You in a New Year Mindset

Updated: May 28

We have reached 2022 yet most of us are still processing 2020. Because of that, it’s more important than ever to get yourself into a new year mindset. I talk a lot about mindset. It’s true that you can’t hope to accomplish something if you don’t first shift your headspace.

And since the new year is often a time when people begin to panic about all the things they didn’t accomplish last year, I wanted to share my best tips on how to get yourself into a new year mindset using some reflection and preparation.

5 ways you can get yourself into a new year mindset

#1 — Do a yearly review

Before you start freaking out about all the stuff you need to do in this new year, let’s first review the previous one. Yearly reviews are a great way to spot areas where you excel and areas where you need improvement. You may hear the word “review” and picture an elaborate booklet of questions, but it’s simpler than that.

Simply grab a pen and a piece of paper — or a notebook. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to complete this exercise. Try not to let anything disturb you. If you have a calendar or planner from the previous year, have it with you. You’re going to reference it a few times during this review.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What were my biggest wins from 2021?

  • Regarding your goals: What did you accomplish, what did you start, and what didn’t you have time for?

  • What’s a lesson you learned in 2021?

  • Are there any habits you can change in the new year?

  • Is there anything you’re avoiding that you can either delegate or cross off?

  • What would you like to focus on in 2022?

When you start and end a review with positivity, your mindset will naturally shift. Use your calendar to spot wins and goals you didn’t accomplish.

#2 — Brain dump goals

Taking time to brain dump goals and aspirations is a great way to get yourself in a new year mindset. In his book, Getting Things Done, David Allen calls many of these to-do’s “open loops.” They’re items that have been on your mind. Now it’s time to get them on paper.

Take another 30 minutes. Set a timer and write down anything that comes to your mind. They could be big goals or small to-dos. If you’re thinking about it, write it down. Don’t worry about order, structure, or how you’re going to do it. Just write it down. If you need more than 30 minutes that’s fine.

Once the timer goes off, take a look at your list. Is it long? If it is, don’t panic. You’re more than likely not going to get all that accomplished next year. Instead, make three columns on another sheet of paper. Label each column:

  • Projects (any goal or to-do item that will take several weeks and/or months to complete)

  • Repeating (any goal or to-do item that will need to get done more than once a year like cleaning)

  • One Day (any goal or to-do item that will take one day or less to complete)

Separate all the items on your list into those three categories. Now highlight three in each column that you really want to get done next year no matter what. Those will be your new year goals.

#3 — Move away from resolutions

I want you to stop making resolutions. Resolutions have such a poor reputation because they’re known to be habits you quit. If you want to get into the right new year mindset, you’re going to start making goals, not resolutions.

Say one of the items on your list is to lose weight next year. That’s great! But instead of making a resolution to “lose weight,” make a goal instead to lose a certain number of pounds. Now, what do you have to do in order to achieve that? You need to adjust your diet. You need to work out more regularly. Those are the goals you’re going to focus on.

The difference between goals and resolutions is simple: goals are actionable. You plan and work towards them on a regular basis. Resolutions you declare and don’t properly plan the actions you need to take to stick with them.

That’s why your new year mindset is going to ignore the word “resolution” and replace it with the word “goals.” This minor shift will have long-lasting rewards because you’re more likely to stick with a goal than a resolution.

#4 — Check in on yourself regularly

If you want to accomplish several goals in the new year, you can’t hope to brainstorm them once and be done with it. You need to constantly check in on your goals and yourself. This can be done in what David Allen calls a “Weekly Review.” He describes it as the time when you sit down and go over your goals or projects list. You determine whether items are worth your time anymore.

I want to go one step further. Yes, it’s important to evaluate your goals and to-dos. If you come across a few where you go, “I really don’t need to do that,” or “I told Julia to do that last week,” feel free to remove it from your list. Besides removing items, you may also add new ones. That’s okay. Your goals and to-dos will be ever-evolving.

After you review your goals, it’s time to review yourself. How do you feel? Did you work towards any goals this week? If not, why? Do you need to start scheduling time to do them? Is there a habit you can start or stop to make time for working towards your goals?

If a weekly review is too much for you to take on, try a review every other week. Or once a month. The key is to check in on your goals and your ability to accomplish them on a regular basis. It’s the only way you’ll hold yourself accountable. Though you could always ask a friend for help.

#5 — Find an accountability buddy

Finding an accountability buddy is a great way to share your new year mindset with others. Whether it’s a friend, spouse, or co-worker, having a partner to lift you up is key to accomplishing goals. It’s even better if you both have a similar goal that you can work towards together.

Schedule a weekly call or check in and use that time to go over your goals list. Meet at a local coffee shop. Ask each other about your progress. Sometimes if you’re stuck they can offer a different perspective and vice versa.

Not only will having an accountability buddy make the process more fun, but it will also give you an advantage. Having your own cheerleader is a great way to keep your spirits high and your motivation strong.

Getting yourself into a new year mindset is all about looking forward. 2021 year is over. You’ve done what you could. It’s time to move on from any regrets, failures, or mishaps. Your new goals and aspirations are waiting. If you’re dwelling too much on the previous year, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.

Follow the above-mentioned tips and get your mind right for the new year. Believe it’s going to be your best one yet and do whatever you can to make it so.


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