7 ways to make the new year better

How is it possible that we are halfway through January!?!?!??!

This is my first week back at work, and I keep being bewildered that it isn’t still, oh, say January third for heaven’s sake! This month is flying by. And everyone I talk to is either at one extreme or the other: they’re either reveling in this new year, getting back into their hot yoga and setting big goals, or they’re feeling beleaguered and slightly beaten up by this new year. (Incidentally, this seems to directly correlate with how much attention they are paying to US politics. So if it all seems impossible, might I gently suggest that you look away? Just for a week or two, until you get the spring back in your step? Even the leaders of the resistance are allowed to pause and rest and refuel.)

 

In the meantime, here are some easy ways to bring a little ease, momentum, and zest into your new year!

1. Put away the holiday decorations and new gifts. Nothing like a good bracing sweep through your house to clear away all the clutter that tends to stick around from the holidays. Even though all our decorations have been down for a while, I just walked into my kitchen and realized we still had a bunch of holiday cards hanging in the kitchen. They are joyful and celebratory…but they also make our whole dining space feel cluttered and chaotic. I took them down, looked at them with gratitude one more time, and dropped them lovingly into the recycling bin. Ahhhh, sweet relief! White space! Breathing room! Space to let new things bloom! It’s too easy for the new things (even wonderful new gifts) to turn into visual clutter when they don’t have new homes yet, so this weekend take a few moments to find new homes for new things…and let yourself just let the old/replaced things just GO!

2. Put up new calendars, start using that new journal, and embrace the fresh start. Break out the new pens! Buy pretty new stationary! Get a new case for your phone! TWIRL!!! And, most importantly, put AWAY last year’s papers. Sometimes we think we’re going to go back through old calendars, journals, and planners, and they sit around whispering dispiriting things, suggesting nicely that we’re losers who can’t even finish up last year’s business, let alone embark on a fresh new year like a boss! So just let them go. Put up those fresh new calendars, dive into your new planner (even if you don’t know perfectly how you’ll use it yet), break out the new office supplies, and put shiny bright copper paperclips ALL OVER THE PLACE.

3. Pick Just One Thing that makes you feel like the strongest, healthiest version of yourself. Lots of us vow to be “healthier” in the new year (me included!), but that’s so big and vague and utterly impossible to succeed at. Big nebulous goals like that are just MEAN because they make us feel guilty and defeated. Instead, pick one specific tangible thing that you can actually DO each day. Maybe it’s to drink 8 glass of water, or dance your booty off to one song each day, or take your vitamins (anyone else love to filch their kids’ gummy vitamins?!?!). For me, my one tangible nod to health is to start drinking more vegetables in liquid form! I’ve ordered a juicer and in the meantime I’m drinking a green juice from the grocery store. It’s a little thing, but it’s do-able. And each time I knock back a little glass of green liquid health, I feel proud of myself and also tenderly cared for. Talk about an easy win!

4. Use the good china, put on lipstick, and wear your best jewelry. Don’t hoard and save your holiday presents for some mythical time in the future– go ahead and enjoy them! January can be a brutal month, what with its high expectations, bitter weather, and the pile-up at work after the holidays. There’s no better time to unwrap the beautiful soap, light that fancy candle, put your new essential oils into your diffuser, wear your lovely new things, and generally let yourself live like every day is a “special” one. For me, this means sticking my best stickers onto my compass each day, lighting candles each evening at bathtime, enjoying those luxurious chocolates we’d usually save for company, and wearing my favorite new Feminist AF shirts pretty much every day! I’m also stocking the fridge with a bottle of bubbly as a sign of faith that something wonderful might need to be celebrated at ANY moment.

5. Declare project amnesty. All those things you planned to get to last year??? The ones that sit there, haunting you, making you feel like a failure, the ones that make you feel itchy and heavy just thinking about??? LET THEM GO, HONEYBADGER. The knitting project you started, the scrapbooking you thought you’d enjoy, the wallpaper you never hung, the books it turned out you didn’t actually really want to read– wouldn’t it feel fantastic to just give yourself permission to say, “NAHHHH!”???? Donate the yarn and needles, toss the good intentions, give yourself a break, and just let them go. I understand that this is a wildly scandalous notion. But I am completely serious and it will make you laugh out loud with relief and freedom if you try it!

6. Consider January a time of gathering your powers. If you were to spend all of January filling up, nourishing yourself, getting strong and vibrant– how much epic and amazing and joyful shit would you get done this coming year?? My friend Lauren Russo says the only thing that January is good for is tea and poetry, and I love the idea of reimagining January as a time NOT to get things done but as a time to nourish our spirits. Read that stack of books; meditate; take lots of naps; take long aimless walks; go to the restaurants you’ve always meant to try; listen to music and watch movies and fill yourself with whatever energies sustain you. Isn’t that just the wildest, most delightful idea ever??

7. Put flowers everywhere. Which is to say, put BEAUTY everywhere. My favorite form of beauty is flowers, but maybe yours is cacti, or bright pillows, or your kids’ artwork. Sprinkle bits of delight all over your home, your office, your bedroom, your computer wallpaper– why not?!?!? It’ll lift your spirits, remind you to move through life with a little more pizzazz, and make your eyes sparkle. And when your eyes are sparkly, you’re GORGEOUS!

May these ideas help you usher in a new year full of fresh new winds, eager new ideas, and as Saint Oprah said, a new day on the horizon! Happy New Year, dearheart!!!!

much love,

Anna

P.S. Are you following me on Instagram???? Come say hi– I’m posting all sorts of behind-the-scenes hijinks in my stories over there!

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My secret mission is a global takeover by the wise women. Gathering together to bond over literature seems like the perfect place to start.
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