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7 Ways Improve Yourself in

the New Year


I love everything about the New Year. Thinking about all the possibilities that the next 365 days can hold and what I might want to do with them is like catnip for a dreamer like me. And as a List Lover, making New Year’s Resolutions seems perfectly natural.

But you might not be a fan. Which is totally okay! But there are a lot of other ways you can aim for improvement in the New Year that don’t involve actual ‘resolutions’ –  if that is a dirty word in your world.

Here are seven ideas that can help you aim towards being your best self in 2022!

1.Set up a Happiness Jar.

Elizabeth Gilbert made this a popular idea and I love it! In it’s simplest form, you grab a jar and some scrap paper and set them up in a convenient location.

Every day, or as often as you want to, you write down moments of happiness or gratitude or something good that happened.

That’s it! At the end of the year (or anytime along the way) you will have this big pile of amazing moments from 2022 to look back on.

2. Create (or download or buy) a Habit Tracker.

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (a great book for the New Year, btw) may not have invented this idea, but he certainly perfected it. It is for all of us who are motivated by the proverbial gold star. (Or just like to measure our progress.)

I make mine weekly on a regular notecard that I post on my bathroom mirror, but you can be as basic or elaborate as you want. (James Clear’s Habit Journal or downloadable Habit Tracker are great places to start, if a notecard doesn’t suit.)

The idea is just to note down some habits you’d like to implement consistently (mine are things like walk the dog, stretch for 5 minutes, floss) and decide how many days per week or month you want to aim to accomplish that task. (I almost never use seven days (the average is five), since I like to see 5 out of 5 boxes checked at the end of each week rather than 5 out of 7, but that’s just me. You do you!)

Then you keep track every day of your accomplishments.  The magic is in the accountability the habit tracker provides.

My only suggestion is not to start with EVERY single habit you’d like to incorporate at once. Try just a few and see how that works. Progress, not perfection is the goal!

3. Design a Vision Board.

Vision boards are a collage of any size that includes pictures and words that represent the year you want to have. You can collect images from the internet, Pinterest, magazines, there are even clip art books you can purchase specifically for the purpose of making a vision board.

Your board might include healthy food, images of people working out, places you want to travel to. Anything representing your goals or dreams for the new year. It should be in a place you will see it regularly.

Mine is in the front of my planner. I have a friend who creates a large one and  puts hers on her fridge. Another friend pastes hers inside a manila folder so she can keep it with her and look at it before meetings. You can even create a digital board and use it as the desktop on your computer. Neat!

4. Set up a Birthday Calendar.

If you are someone who wants to be better at remembering special dates, this one is for you!

Get a small wall calendar (7×7 is a good size) and fill it up with all the birthdays and significant dates for the year. Now hang it in a prominent location where you will see it regularly. (I always hang mine in the bathroom. Laugh if you want, but you are in there a lot!)

Make a habit of checking it: while you are brushing your teeth, blowing your hair dry, fixing your morning coffee.

5. Write letters to your future self.

We all know that the New Year loses its luster pretty quickly. In order to keep some enthusiasm for what matters to you this year, write your future self some letters: reminding her that she has overcome so much, that she is worthy of good things, that her goals are within her reach.

Label each letter with specific dates or with In Case Of ________ (really bad day, breakup, setback). Your future self will thank you!

6. Create a Morning Book.

A Morning Book is my own personal invention. It is a book filled with affirmations, quotes, uplifting pictures and inspiration specifically for you and is used as a way of focusing your mind at the start of each day.

It is a daily reminder of the person you want to be, the way you want to handle challenges, the way you want to live your life. Mine includes silly pictures, inspiring quotes, notes from books that have meant something to me.

There is no right or wrong way to create your own Morning Book.  Anything that resonates with you is fair game. A section or your whole book could have a theme, like body positivity or overcoming anxiety. Or it can be a enjoyable mash-up of anything and everything that lifts you up. I used a notebook like this one and found images and quotes online, from Pinterest and in magazines.

7. Optimize your Daily Planner.

A planner is a powerful tool. But much like our phones or computers, we have to learn all the ways it can be used for it to truly be effective.

A planner can, in fact, serve as a Happiness Jar, a Habit Tracker, a Vision Board, a Birthday Calendar, a repository for letters to your future self and a Morning Book. But aside from all of these uses, a planner, properly set up, can help you focus on your own goals and plans for the New Year.

There are a zillion different kinds of planners (I am currently using a Passion Planner) so you have to try a few to find one that works for you. But the real key is figuring out how to make it work for you. Give some real thought to how your planner can be function to improve your year.  

Some things you might consider adding to your planner:

  1. Holiday Notes: about this past year and ideas & reminders for next year
  2. Gift Ideas for friends and loved ones
  3. List of the dates of last year’s health appointments (and reminders for when to call and schedule for this year)
  4. Menstrual Tracker
  5. Paycheck Tracker
  6. Bill Tracking
  7. Household Reminders: scheduling HVAC service, pest control, changing the air filters
  8. Gratitude Lists
  9. Weekly/Monthly Evaluation questions
  10. Family meetings: topics, agendas, schedules
  11. Meal Planning
  12. Medication Reminders: for pets, when to have prescriptions renewed
  13. Acts of Kindness Ideas
  14. To Be Read Lists
  15. Master To-Do Lists: household projects, craft projects
  16. Monthly Goals/Yearly Goals broken down into monthly steps

The 2022 You…

Let’s be honest. The 2021 You was awesome. But we all have room for a tiny bit of improvement, right? (At least I do. LOL) Even if the idea of the ‘New Year’ doesn’t make you all giddy with anticipation, there are still ways level up your best self. You know you want to. (Wink.)


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