20 Things to Do Before January Ends to Lead to a Better You
If someone were to ask you if you are happy with all that you accomplished last year, what would your answer be?
As the first month of the year, January brings a sense of hope and newness. The month gives us a chance to begin again. We can accept new challenges and set new expectations for ourselves.
Do you have a game plan for the things you want to tackle this year? Looking for a place to start? Take a look at these twenty things to do before January ends to work on a new and improved you!
1. Buy a journal (and actually use it)
Wouldn’t it be neat if, at the end of every year, we had a way to go back and read about our experiences and emotions that we went through? Self-reflection is a powerful tool that we can use to help improve ourselves and identify the things in our life that brings us joy and those that zap it.
Journaling also provides a basis of growth which can be refreshing to see.
2. Plan a trip
A close friend of mine has kidney disease. She spends her days at work and nights on dialysis. Living up north, she wanted visit a place warm and sunny. After researching a way to take a portable dialysis machine with her, she took a week long trip to Florida.
It changed her life.
She realized how important it is to live out her dreams. Now, a year later, guess where she is planning another trip to? Yep, the sunshine state once again!
Too often, we put off dreams and wants because we are too busy being practical or trying to make ends meet. If you’ve been thinking about visiting a certain place, but haven’t acted on it, this is your year.
3. Take a chance on something new
Have you been thinking about joining an online dating site? Or maybe trying a new class at your gym? Whatever it is that has sparked your interest, stop putting it off and take the plunge!
There’s no time better than the first month of a new year to try something new.
4. Go on a blind date
Blind dates can be intimidating or make you nervous. But it could be a really good experience for you! Say yes to the friend that’s been bugging to set you up, or ask a co-worker if he or she has a friend that would like to meet up.
In the worst case scenario it’s a one and done date. But it may lead to many more dates in the future!
5. Write thank you notes
Go into the new year with a grateful heart. If you want to experience an increase in gratitude this year, seek it out.
This may mean that you write some thank you cards for gifts received. You could just pen little notes of thanks to some people who have made a difference in your life. Take some time this month to sit, reflect, and write out your gratitude to share with others.
6. Sign up for an hour (or another hour) of Eucharistic Adoration at your church
If anything is going to set you up for a good year, it’s more time with Jesus. Whether it be a few hours this month or an hour every week throughout the year, increasing your prayer life will benefit every other area of your life.
7. Read a book of the Bible you’ve never read
If you’re like most people, you tend to go to the same books in the Bible when you pray. This January, choose a book that you’ve never read before.
Scripture often holds wisdom in places that we wouldn’t expect.
8. Try a new sport
Many cities have intramural sports. Even if yours doesn’t, there are still many sports you can do without a team. Cycling, running, swimming, surfing, the possibilities are endless! Depending on where you live, choose something that you can easily try and see how you like it.
Maybe take up running and begin training for a 5k or take your bike out for some longer rides. Being active and trying something new are both very powerful motivators in improving ourselves.
9. Clean out your closet
Spring cleaning doesn’t actually have to be done in the spring. Getting a head start on it in January can help motivate you to keep it up throughout the year.
Make a list or, download a cleaning task list online. There are a ton to choose from. Looking for more inspiration? Check out this incredibly popular Netflix series on tidying up.
Go into the year not only with a new attitude, but a clean home. Clearing the clutter from our physical lives can help clear the clutter from our minds, too.
10. Create a monthly to-do list
Speaking of lists, one of the best things you can do to help keep yourself organized throughout the year is to make a monthly to-do list.
You can write it in your calendar or print it off and keep it on your refrigerator. Wherever you put it, make sure it is somewhere visible where you will be more inclined to follow it.
11. Organize your photos
In the days of digital photos, too often we let our devices build up with photos without organizing and printing them off.
Take some time this month to organize your online pictures and maybe print some off for a photo album, scrapbook or to hang on a wall. Memories shouldn’t be hidden away on our hard drives.
12. De-clutter your office
Whether you work outside of or in your home, removing clutter can help your productivity sky rocket. Maybe your office is cluttered with piles of old papers, items from home, and overflow from the storage closet. Whatever it is that is taking up space in your office, clear it out.
You’ll be surprised at how much more efficient you’ll feel while working when you’re not swimming in stuff.
13. Organize your finances
Maybe not the most fun item on this list, but definitely one of the most important. January is a good time to sit down and go over your finances and identify where you need to make changes.
Whether it’s cutting back on spending or putting more into retirement, take the time now to make a solid budget that will help you stay on track for the whole year.
14. Get your tax materials together
The Christmas tree has been taken down and holiday cheer has faded into Valentine decorations in your local stores. Before you know it, the IRS will be asking for your tax forms. Are you ready?
15. Plan a fun night with friends
There are so many options when it comes to planning a fun evening with friends. You could try out an escape room, go ice skating, or take a wine and painting class. Whatever you choose make sure it’s something fun!
It’s easy to feel a little down in January because the holidays have passed and the days are short and dark. Create a date for you and your friends that you can enjoy. Let your time together remind you that this is going to be a great year, full of new and exciting beginnings.
16. Write a letter
In this age of digital, it’s becoming rare to get out the paper and pen to hand-write a letter to someone. Still, there is something to be said about sending and receiving personalized mail.
Light a candle, pour a cup of coffee or tea and pull out some stationary. Whether a family member or friend, you may find that writing is not only great for the person receiving the mail, but can be therapeutic for you too.
17. Forgive someone
Maybe you need to forgive an old girlfriend or boyfriend, a family member, or someone from your childhood. Most likely there is someone in your life that, whenever you think about them, you get upset.
The crazy thing about our subconscious is that it holds on to things even when we don’t think we are still holding on to them. By bringing the memory of the person who hurt you to the surface and praying for and forgiving them, you can remove baggage that you may not even have realized was there.
18. Make a list of new foods to try
At first glance, this may sound like advice someone gives to a child. But the truth is that even as adults, we tend to go back to the same comfort foods over and over. Have you branched out recently and tried anything new lately?
Just yesterday I was speaking with a friend who has never tried spaghetti squash. My jaw dropped, since squash is a staple in my house. I passed along a recipe and she can’t wait to try it for the first time.
Trying new foods is exciting and good for you. Let this be the year that, once a month (or more if you’d like), you purchase the plantains or white sweet potatoes that you normally walk right by in the produce aisle. You may be pleasantly surprised to find a new favorite food!
19. Identify the negative things in your life and remove them
Maybe it’s a friendship that drains you more than it lifts you up. Maybe it’s an online game which takes up too much of your time and causes you to lose productivity.
Whatever the thing is, make a vow now to remove it so that you have more room for joy and less for things that draw you away from being the best version of yourself you can be.
20. Make a list of goals
Too often we find ourselves at the end of another year wondering where the time went. My cousin told us for years that she was going to write her first book before she was forty years old. But forty came and went and she admonished herself for not following through with her goal.
Don’t let life move so fast that you don’t reach for your dreams. Identify some goals that you would really like to achieve this year and write them down. Tell people too and ask them to hold you accountable.
Set your goals, write your lists, and make things happen. This is a new year and there’s never been a better time to be a new you!
Cassi Villanueva is a freelance writer and contributing blogger at Catholic Singles. Born and raised in the south, when she's not writing, she can be found spending time with her husband and four children in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, GA.