8 Ways to Make 2022 Your Best Year

Woman smiling leaning back against hedge
Diss the "New Year, New Me" ideology. Most times, it's unsustainable anyway. Here are some simple ways to ensure that this new year is your best year yet!

New year, new you?

Scratch that. We’re not doing that anymore. This year, let’s try a different approach to the new year.

At the start of each year, everyone makes all kinds of grand, sweeping resolutions. They’re going to be a new version of themselves. And then every March, everyone has given up on all those resolutions. From a lack of time to not knowing where to begin, some of those resolutions are nearly impossible to keep up with.

Sound familiar?

I’m not judging anyone. I’ve done it for most of my adult life. But after a while, I started thinking that there has to be a better way to start each year. I don’t want to feel defeated. I want to kick off each year with optimism and improve on what I achieved last year. And I want this new year to be better and more fun than last year!

Here’s how to make sure that 2022 is your best year yet – resolutions made or not.

Keep Yourself In Focus

Young woman spending free time home looking out the window

I want to preface this by saying, selfishness is a huge pet peeve of mine. Selfishness is not what we are talking about here. Don’t be a jerk!

That said, I am talking about keeping yourself and your mental health in focus. Make yourself as much of a priority as you make other people. It is easy to lose ourselves in the shuffle – moms with multiple children know exactly what I am talking about. We get so busy giving to others that we forget to give to ourselves.

Look, I’m not trying to be cliché or anything, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Take the time to fill your cup. Spend this year making time for yourself and keep your mental health as a major focus throughout the year.

Make Realistic Resolutions

For as long as I can remember, I have always made these great big New Year’s resolutions to start each year. That’s what you do, right? You say, “I’m going to turn my life around!” or “I’m going to go from couch potato to exercising every single day until I look like a swimsuit model!” and then you just do it, right?

I would love to be able to meet all those life-changing goals quickly. But in truth, it is unrealistic. Big, sweeping New Year’s resolutions are difficult to stick to, and many actually set you up for failure. What started as wishful thinking just winds up leaving you feeling defeated.

Instead, work on keeping those resolutions realistic. It needs to be a goal that you can actually achieve. Rather than trying to go from professional couch potato to bodybuilder in one fell swoop, try committing to add at least 30 minutes of activity to each day.

In Fact, Don’t Make Resolutions at All

woman sitting and writing in a book or journal

In recent years, I’ve stopped making all those New Year’s resolutions at all. Like I said, a lot of times, those resolutions just feel like they’re setting me up for failure. I don’t know about you, but starting something in January to only feel defeated by March doesn’t sound like a great start to my year.

First, start the year with a little reflection. Think about the past year and all your wins and losses. What did you feel good about? What successes did you see, what made you happy, and what would you like to improve on? Of course, it wouldn’t be truthful if you didn’t also reflect on mistakes and things you’d like to leave in last year, but don’t dwell on the negative parts of the year.

Now, use all of that reflection to set intentions moving into the next year. Set a theme (or two!) for your year, using a word or phrase to define the year ahead. Are you focusing on growth? What about compassion, fulfillment, or contentment? Write it down and keep it in your sight all year long.

If you want to take it a step further, you can set an overarching yearly intention, and then also draft up weekly and monthly intentions, too.

Plan at Least One Trip

Going beyond the same four walls, the same few streets, or even state borders is important. It can help put things in perspective, there are new memories to be made, you’ll learn new things, and hey, it’s fun! Traveling is also a great way to simply break out of your routine for a bit.

Plan at least one trip that you intend to take this year. It can be a weekend getaway somewhere close to home, or it could be a cruise to the Bahamas. It can be anything you want, just make it something realistic. Everything goes back to not setting yourself up for failure, ya hear?

Come up with a budget to ensure you can take the trip and commit to saving up the cash for it. Before you know it, you’ll be breaking away from your routine and feeling recharged. Plus, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment for seeing it through.

Discover at Least One New Hobby

artist painting with a brush on canvas in her art studio.

I am a firm believer that we should never stop learning and growing. Learning a new hobby is a fun way to gain new knowledge and maybe find new enjoyment! You never know what you could discover about yourself by trying something new. You might really love playing the guitar or discover you actually have a green thumb.

Have you always wanted to learn how to make fresh pasta from scratch and take your cooking to the next level? Did you love roller skating as a kid, and you’d love to get back into it? Or, what about learning a new style of dance?

There are many opportunities to explore new hobbies without spending a lot of money, too. Professional lessons or courses are great, but not always accessible for everyone. There’s a wealth of knowledge on YouTube, plus plenty of books in your local library. Your city or county government may also offer low- or no-cost classes and activities in a variety of areas.

While exploring new hobbies, it’s important to remember not to focus on if you’re good at something. We don’t always have to be the best to enjoy ourselves. It doesn’t have to turn into a job or a side hustle. We’re just having fun here, okay?

Put Down Your Phone More Often

If you only do one thing in 2022, make it putting your phone down.

Hey, I love my phone, too. I have the entire world at the tips of my fingers, whenever I need anything. I can keep in touch with friends, find the closest Chinese restaurant, and find an answer to that question that’s about to drive me mad.

At the same time, though, having everything in the palm of our hands literally all the time isn’t exactly good for us. Increased screen time is linked to headaches caused by straining your eyes, sleep deprivation, chronic neck and back problems, obesity, anxiety, and depression. On top of that, if you’re staring at your phone all the time, you tend to miss a lot in the real world.

Protect both your physical and mental well-being by putting your phone down more often. Live in the moment. Experience the world around you.

Organize Your Space

Woman choosing to declutter or keep clothes
Adobe Stock

You’ll be surprised how much our homes affect the rest of our lives. And an organized, decluttered home can give us the space, both physically and mentally, to achieve our goals. So, as we start a new year, leave all that clutter behind. Clutter is so 2021.

If your home is disorganized and is overwhelming you, just start small. Focus on only one area at a time. Tackling an entire house at one time is likely not realistic or reasonable for the average person, especially if you have a job and other responsibilities.

For more help with starting fresh in the new year with a decluttered space, check out these tips to get you started. You’ll be on your way to a home that sparks joy faster than you realize.

Practice Gratitude

Find one thing, no matter how simple, to be thankful for each day. Yes, even on terrible, no good days when everything is going wrong. Commit to doing this each day for the entire year.

To really get the most out of it, consider keeping a gratitude journal. You don’t need to write paragraphs or essays. You don’t even need to write complete sentences if you don’t feel like it. And on particularly rough days, you can look back on your gratitude journal to help lift your spirits a little.

Of course, you don’t have to put paper to pen to practice gratitude. Set aside a few minutes each day to reflect and meditate on what you are grateful for.

While practicing gratitude, it’s important to remember to say “thank you,” too. No matter how small the deed, always thank other people when they do something kind for you.

Living each day from a place of gratitude can help bring peace. It’s no magic cure for depression or anything, but it can help you realize and experience more positive emotions in the long run. It can help you become more optimistic, and feel better about your life. No, really: it’s been backed with psychology research.

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