5 activities to do in January to start your year right

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Start your year on a high note! Take care of your body, mind, finances and even your environment, so that you can start the new year prepared and raring to go. Make this coming year the year you become your best self.

  1. Get a physical check-up

    Start with your most important resource – your health. January is the best time to schedule a physical check-up with your doctor. Do this ahead of time. During the check-up, your doctor will check your health history and order some tests. Depending on your age, the doctor may screen you for high blood pressure, cholesterol level, or for diabetes. They’ll also check your bone and heart health.

    Getting a check-up is important even if you don’t feel sick. It is a preventive measure that can help you improve or maintain good health throughout the year.

  2. Think of your successes then make new goals

    Plan your goals differently this year. Start by writing down your accomplishments the past year, instead of thinking of what you lack. Recognizing your strengths can boost your confidence, get you thinking positively, and motivate you to aspire for more. Then, set new goals to build on your achievements. For example, you can strive to continuously improve your English, build your finances by increasing savings, focusing on your health by starting a new exercise regimen, taking on a new training course to boost your career, and others. Do your best to sustain the positive vibe. Think of the next year-end and how good it will feel when you look back on what you’ve accomplished.

  3. Get things in order

    Getting rid of clutter can be therapeutic for your mind and body. Plus, you increase efficiency and productivity when things are organized at your home and office. No more wasted time looking for your car keys or files that you need urgently! Schedule some time to clean your house (take down your holiday decorations after the New Year celebration), re-arrange your closet, throw away things you don’t need or donate to charity. Make it a family event to make it fun.

    Clean out your office desk. Don’t forget to unclutter your computer. Did you know that having too many files on your desktop slows it down? It also makes it hard to find files and easier to accidentally delete them. The best thing to do is to gather related files, save them into a folder and name each folder clearly so that they’ll be easy to find. You can make subfolders inside your folder to make it more organized. For example, in your “Personal Files” folder, you can have sub-folders for photos, resumes, bills, etc. When you’re done categorizing all the files, move all your folders to My Documents. Create a shortcut on your desktop so you can access your files quickly. Delete unnecessary files (Important! Be absolutely sure that you don’t need them anymore before deleting. If you’re unsure, keep those you’re not ready to delete in a separate folder for checking later). Clear your recycle bin.

  4. Pay your debts

    One of the biggest burdens that can hang on your mind are debts. If you splurged during the holidays using your credit card, you might be in for a shock come January. It would be wise to pay off all your credit card debts as early as you can. If you can’t pay them in full, at least pay higher than the minimum to avoid being saddled with a high interest. Resolve to stick to a budget next year and start saving. Read 8 habits that will help you avoid getting into debt to stay financially healthy in the coming year.

  5. Keep your mind healthy

    Just as our body needs a tune-up to start the year right, so does our mental health. It’s important to pause and just let go of stress. Here are some ways to reboot your mental health:

    • Forgive yourself and others – Forgiving is like detoxifying your mind – you remove all the hurt, resentment and bad memories and start fresh. Mend fences with people who have hurt you. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings and resolve to do better next year.
    • Get rid of negativity – All of us have worries and fears. This is normal. What is not normal is when they take over your life. When this happens, it helps to talk to someone. Some talk to a priest and/or confess their sins, others seek a therapist, counsellor or a close friend. You don’t need to bring your emotional baggage into the coming year.
    • Resolve to make time for self-care – Go to a spa, meditate, pray, or anything that relaxes your mind. Make sure to get enough sleep. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism.
    • Be creative – Get your creative juices flowing by painting, knitting or writing. Take up a hobby that you enjoy or volunteer and share your talents. Keeping your mind active in creative pursuits is a great way to train your brain to be positive and active.
    • Take walks outside – Make it a part of your routine even in winter. Being in nature is a proven stress reliever. Exposure to sunlight will also boost your mood.

Article updated December 7, 2022.
Sources: 4 ways to get into a positive mindset for the new year, Lisa Evans, Entrepreneur; It’s ‘Clean out your computer’ day. Here’s how to declutter your computer in 4 steps, Chris Ambrose, Monster; Mental Health: Coping with stress, Health Canada; and 9 ways you can improve your mental health today, Patricia Harteneck, PhD. MBA, Psychology Today. Accessed November 27, 2018.

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