3 Ways to Set Yourself Up For Success for The New Year

December 16, 2022

When you envision yourself going into the new year, you likely hope for change and progress, and you imagine all the opportunities and success that new year has in store for you. However, the month of January can be one of challenge, as the end of the holiday season, and the transition into a new year, is such a drastic change of pace. It can be hard to start the new year strong when we all go from celebrations and gatherings with loved ones—and for some people, travel or time off from work and responsibilities—to returning to daily routines without the fun and distraction that all the holiday festivities provide. For these reasons, January can be a downer for many people. You likely have some resolutions in the back of your mind—or written down—ready to put into action, but you might feel that the January energy around you isn’t exactly conducive to motivation, productivity, and goal pursuit. Below, we’ll discuss 3 effective strategies—and suggestions for mindset shifts—so you can approach the first month of the year with actions, solutions, and an attitude that will set you up for success.

1. Setting Achievable Objectives for Your Goals

One of the best ways to not quit on your goals and resolutions for the new year is to make sure you’re planning and executing the right objectives. Objectives are simply the stepping stones that get you to your ultimate goal, but if you’re not creating stepping stones that break down your goal into an organized, sequential process—with opportunities for positive reinforcement along the way—you risk becoming frustrated and losing your determination to push forward. Objectives are what make even the most ambitious goals feel like they are at your reach, so create objectives that you can cross off your list every week—or even every day—starting in the month of January. Begin by taking one goal at a time and break down what you need to do on a daily or weekly basis from now on to maintain your progress towards the goal. Focus on never losing touch with the goal—meaning that you must ensure you’re always doing something, even if it’s a small task, that gets you closer to achieving what you want.  

2. Avoiding Procrastination

You likely already know the root of your procrastination; all the doubts and fears that cause you to hesitate, dilly dally, and put off doing what you need to do so you can get to what you want in life. Try to avoid spending too much time in January focusing on the “why’s” of your procrastination. Sure, it’s important to develop this self-awareness, but then make sure you’re moving on to the action phase, where you go against (or do the opposite of) those behaviors that cultivate procrastination and undermine your progress towards your goals.

Getting things accomplished—and crossing things “to do” off your list—is the best source of motivation to get more done and beat procrastination. Start with the simplest tasks and work your way up the ladder of difficulty. Many people hold the misconception that feeling motivated to work and pursue your goals is something you must “seek out” or discover somehow. Maybe you believe that you need to “feel motivated” in order to get to work towards your goals and put an end to procrastination. The reality is that if you sit around and “wait” for motivation to dawn on you, or magically appear, or if you believe that there’s a self-help book or words of wisdom somewhere that will suddenly end your procrastination rut, then your goals might linger on the back burner indefinitely. The reality is that doing is what generates motivation and enthusiasm. Doing is what eliminates those doubts and fears that keep procrastination going. This is especially true at the start of the new year, when the excitement and business of the holiday season is over and it’s time to get back to your regular, daily routine. Most people struggle to get back into the structure of work mode. You might think you need motivation, energy, and enthusiasm in order to get to work, but consider that those feelings and sensations will come to you once you get started. The satisfaction your derive from doing is what creates that spark in you, making you eager to keep going and accomplish more and more. 

3. Positive Self-Talk

Negative thoughts and beliefs can very likely make an appearance in January, particularly if you’ve had a joyous holiday season with a lot of activity and diversions. As you transition into January—and as we all continue to cope with the pandemic—consider that being positive is not about not being negative. There’s a common misconception that we shouldn’t have negative thoughts or that we should eliminate negative beliefs from our thought process. The problem with viewing negative thinking in this way is that this philosophy doesn’t leave room for the fact that negative thoughts and beliefs have a unique function and are just simply part of the way the human brain responds to the environment. It’s not inherently wrong to have negative thoughts. It’s more about what you do with them that’s important. A better—and more realistic and forgiving—approach is to create some space around negative thoughts. Rather than being quick to shut them down, allow those thoughts to be. Acknowledge them mindfully and observe them without identifying with them. Consider that negative thought are your human response to the world; a survival mechanism that’s pretty amazingly construed if you really think about it! Then, practice allowing those negative thoughts and beliefs to pass as you focus on positive—and reality-based—alternatives. Real positivity is not about aiming to create an inner and outer world with no adversity. It’s about feeling difficult emotions and facing your greatest struggles, and then having the resolve to persevere.


Start January strong. Break down your goals and accomplish the small objectives that will quickly add up to huge leaps and significant progress toward achieving what you want. Don’t wait to get energy from motivation. Don’t wait for enthusiasm to somehow sweep over you. You have the power to create that energy yourself with your own actions—from doing. As you leave the holiday pace behind, accept that January’s energy is going to feel a bit different and likely not as fun and jolly. Embrace all the thoughts and beliefs that may set in, understand their function and purpose, and then shift your focus on the beauty and promise of a new year and a new start; on the possibilities that await for you in the new year.

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