Michael Keogh   Jan 13, 2023   -   min read

The start of a new year can be an exciting time. It’s a time to reset, reflect on your past year, and to set new goals and intentions for the year ahead. Taking a fresh start can be incredibly positive, and unlock a world of possibilities.

However, it can be hard to let go of the past year (or longer) and start the year with hope and optimism. That’s why I’ve prepared a framework you can follow to help you make the most of this new year period and ignite your fresh start!

The power of a fresh start

Starting fresh can be both liberating and intimidating. It’s a chance to let go of the past while embracing the opportunities that the future holds. You can either reinvent yourself and take your life in a totally new direction, or you can refocus your energy and attention on the things that are most important to you.

The start of a new year is the perfect time for a fresh start, and with the right mindset and a few simple steps you can unlock your potential and make this year your best one yet! But to do this effectively all starts with being at your best, and to do that you need to..

Make time for yourself

When you’re feeling overwhelmed or burned out, it can be near impossible to focus on your goals, so before you start planning and goalsetting take some time for yourself! Reconnecting with yourself and reflecting on the past year can help you to gain clarity on what is of deep importance to you for the upcoming year.

Even if you’re already back into work and life, make an effort to reconnect with yourself and your passions. Start by carving out a few hours a week to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a book, going for a walk, or having a long bath.

Also make sure to move your body and connect with nature, get in touch with your innermost desires, and most importantly let go of any baggage from the previous year and don’t let it hold you back as you embark on a new amazing year (consider getting help to do this if you need).

Once you’ve reconnected with yourself and recharged your batteries, you’ll be in the best place to set your intentions and goals for the upcoming year.

Identify your vision, goals and starting point

Getting clear about your vision and goals for the upcoming year is essential to staying motivated and keeping in action. Start by identifying the areas of your life that you want to focus on and improve this year. It could be anything from relationships, career, finances to health and wellness.

Also consider if anything significant is happening this year that you know about now. Things like milestone birthdays, weddings, births, overseas trips, work events, etc. Make sure you include these in your vision and goals for the year.

And before you can start making a plan, you need to know where you’re starting from! This means doing a thorough assessment of your current situation by taking an honest look at your resources, skills and knowledge. Think about what do you need to have, know or do to achieve your goals.

Use this assessment to identify any gaps that need to be filled, or if there are any beliefs or barriers that will get in the way of your ongoing success. This will help you identify the steps you need to take to get where you want to go.

Create a plan to achieve your goals

Now you know where you’re going and where you’re starting from, you can make a plan to go from A to B.

Take some time to map out the steps you need to take, and realistic timeframes to achieve these. Also identify what are the milestones along the way, and how will you measure your progress towards them. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to get started! Work out what are the first 3 actions you can take today to work towards the first milestone.

It’s also essential to build structure into your actions, and over time it will feel like your goals are being achieved on autopilot! This structure are the new habits and routines that help you to stay on track, motivated and taking consistent action. Building structure into your action taking can also help reduce the stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of achieving your goals.

Establishing new habits and routines doesn’t need to be hard either. Think about how you can make your desired action part of your daily life, and actively remove anything that makes it hard to do. You also want to choose actions that lead to the most desired benefit. There is always a benefit, a reward, a pay-off, and knowing what it is will ensure you take the action, even when you don’t want to.

Overcoming challenges and celebrating success

Whilst creating habits and routines can help to keep you focused and motivated, it’s important to remember that there will be ups and downs throughout the year. There will be days when you feel on top of the world and days when you feel like giving up.

When you feel like giving up, it’s useful to remember why you started in the first place. Reconnect to your visions and goals, and how achieving them will enrich your life. The journey is rarely a straight line, and often just as important as the destination.

And potentially more important than knowing there will be challenges and overcoming these, is celebrating each and every win no matter how small. Celebrating often will train your brain to look for these successes and the silver lining in every situation.

Experiment with new ways to celebrate to find the reward that has the bigger effect. Use this to create motivation as you go onto sustained action and greater success. You could try anything from a special meal, a spa treatment, new clothing, a night out, to giving yourself that thing you’ve always wanted but never felt it was the right time.

woman smiling near tree outdoor during daytime

Ignite your new year with a fresh start

Hopefully by now you feel ready to create an energising fresh start in this new year period.  It’s the perfect time to reset and set off towards your goals on the right foot!

Make the take the time to reconnect with yourself and your passions. Get really clear on your goals for the year and assess where you’re starting from. Create a plan to achieve your goals supported by the structure of habits and routines. Finally, maintain action whilst overcoming challenges, and celebrate your successes at every opportunity.

Of course there is more to know about each step, but starting with this approach now and throughout the year will give you the best chance at creating your best year yet.

Want some help using this information to improve your health and life?

About the Author

Michael Keogh is an Exercise Physiologist and Health Coach with 8 years experience in clinical and corporate settings. He is also the co-author of upcoming book “Thrive: How to 10X your Health, Wealth and Happiness”.

He uses exercise as medicine to treat chronic disease and ensure healthy ageing, whilst guiding his clients towards sustainable health behaviours that result in improved performance and greater satisfaction in work and life.

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