I know, I know, I can’t believe I’m even bringing up the New Year right now. 2021 literally just started, right? And yet, somehow, here we are, up against the last page of the calendar, surrounded by our fave holiday decor. Time flies when you’re having…well. Not a blast. Just a year like 2021. Regardless, it is time for a fresh start and new beginnings in the new year. This is my list of important things to do before the year ends. While it seems like this year as flown by, there is still time before the new year to accomplish some tasks by year end.
Whether this was a year of growth for you, or a year that taught you some of the best survival skills of your life, it’s finally coming to an end. I find it super helpful to take stock of a few things when we’re in a transitional period like this. Knowing where you’ve been, where you’re at, where you want to go, and tying up some loose ends along the way is a perfect way to set yourself up for success in 2022.
Or at least feel better. We’ll take that, too.
Take What Resonates…
If you’re anything like everyone else, you went through a lot this year – whether that refers to the world at large, or in your personal life. Maybe you ended a relationship that wasn’t a good fit anymore. Possibly you lost a loved one. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you just lost the joy that comes with hanging out in a huge gathering of people.
All very different losses, but trials and tribulations are personal and they hit all of us differently. We all handle stress differently, with good (or bad) coping mechanisms and the support of those around us. Sometimes life can just be really, really hard, no matter how much support we have.
There’s a common phrase that I always keep in mind when I’m up against something hard: “Discomfort brings growth.”
All of the heavy stuff, the happy stuff, and everything in between that we went through all lead us to this point – and we picked up a lot of wisdom along the way. A lot of strength, too.
The end of the year is a great time to sit and reflect on that. If you’re a journaler, go back through your entries and make a list of all the big events of the year. Next, write something you learned from it, a skill or experience you gained from it, and a way to be grateful for it. Not only will you be shocked to see all the life you lived in 2020, but you’ll probably feel a whole lot better after doing so.
A glass of wine pairs perfectly with this exercise, by the way. 🙂
…and Leave What Doesn’t
The New Year signifies a fresh start – so we don’t want anything we don’t need to hold us back. I’m a big fan of purging in general, but the end of the year is a great excuse to get started if it’s not a regular thing for you. Dust off the cobwebs and get to work.
There’s so many angles to tackle this from! Go through your clothes and get rid of anything you don’t wear or love anymore. Cleanse your calendar of all the extra stuff that you dread doing, leaving some open space for you. Purge your kitchen of all the old food hanging out in the back of your pantry, “just in case” (or junk food if you’re doing a New Years jumpstart). Empty your garage of all the projects waiting to be remembered and have a yard sale! And definitely clean out your purse. Who knows what’s down there.
Clutter keeps us back from our full potential. It heightens our stress levels. It distracts us from what we love. Next year, we’re not doing that. Only things that spark joy – for real.
Check in With Yourself
How are you? No, really – how are you? What do you need?
Has your back been hurting lately? Are you struggling to get out of bed? Do your feet ache? Do you feel completely overwhelmed? Mentally, scan from head to toe, noticing anything that feels tired, weak, or achey. If you need a doc to check it out, whether it’s a brain doc or a body doc, quit delaying and make the appointment.
Or, do you feel accomplished? Proud? Stoked for the year to come? Love that for you! Brainstorm on what’s been giving you all those good feelings, and make a plan to maintain that next year – or expand on it, if you can. Aim high, girl. Go ahead and make time to pamper yourself.
We spend so much of our lives running on autopilot as we check off an endless to-do list, not really considering how we feel about that list.As the year comes to end, I want you to take a moment to see how you really feel. Not just a quick thought, but a real heart-to-heart moment with yourself. Block out thirty minutes to examine what’s working and what needs work. You’ll be glad you did.
Make a Photo Album
So old school, right? But I know you’ve been saving all those photos in your phone, just waiting for the perfect moment to post them. But I’ve got an even better idea: instead of sharing them on social media, waiting for likes, and forgetting about them, go through your 2020 camera roll and make an album! Full of real, physical copies of every moment. Ones you can actually hold in your hand.
Collect all your favourite shots and moments from the year and turn them from digital to physical. You can print them out and make the album yourself, scrapbook style. Craft stores are full of fun paper and stickers you can add for a quirky touch. Or take it one step further, getting a bound photo-book (Not gonna lie, I’ve always wanted one of those. You know what I’ll be doing over Winter Break). You can even frame a few of the prints and put them around your house!
This is a great opportunity to practice Step 2, also. Definitely get rid of those weird selfies of you crying in the tub, and the blurry dark attempts to get a shot of the full moon. Give your cloud some room to breathe.
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Set Some Goals
I know, I know. This is one of those boring, corny New Years tasks. But it’s a mainstay on every New Years blog post for a good reason. Our lives need direction!
If you know where you want to be, taking steps on the path there, or at least steps towards the path, is way easier. Especially if you’ve got some big goals.
These goals don’t have to be huge, either! You don’t need to aim for a brand new career track, to open a store, or increase your wealth exponentially. Setting simple, small goals for yourself is totally fine too. Maybe make it a goal to stick to a budget each month this year, or to walk your dog at least four days a week. Or learn how to make your own lattes.
And if you figure that one out, let a girl know!
Take a Breather
Because, wow, we earned it.
Glance at your PTO balance. Any leftover vacation days to burn before the year ends, or maybe a sick day you haven’t made the most of? Take it!
Got a busy weekend ahead that you’re dreading? Clear it.
Now, with those open, empty days on your calendar, do a few things that are just for you. For some, that might look like fixing your nails, a deep-tissue massage, and a nap on freshly-cleaned sheets. For others, it might be more like an eight mile run through the woods with your favorite album playing in your headphones. Or it could be as simple as a bowl of popcorn and a good Netflix binge sesh.
What will you Do Before the Year Ends?
No judgment. Whatever it is that helps you unwind, decompress, and begin to feel whole again is a-ok. We’re going to need to be our best selves this New Year. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling 2021 is going to outdo this year – in more ways than we can even imagine.
What do you want to accomplish by year end?
Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.