7 small ways you can give yourself a fresh start this New Year without having a nervous breakdown

Despite being billed as one of the most joyous times of the year, the holidays are generally pretty stressful. From buying gifts and holiday travel to spending a lot of time with family, we understand the need to ~really~ start fresh in the new year.

While often seen as an exciting adventure, New Year’s is often about reinventing ourselves into a set of standards we cannot possibly reach. It’s full of empty promises to lose a certain amount of weight or read an absurd number of books for what our schedules allow. That’s exactly why, this new year, we’re going to try to give ourselves a fresh start and ease into the new year with fun, positive goals that won’t have us stressing.

Here are 7 small key ways to give yourself a fresh start for 2017…

1Start each day on a good note.

Put aside five minutes every morning for a brief moment of self-affirmation. Clear your mind and think of a few things you’re looking forward to in the day, whether it be the plans you have for later or even the cookie you’ll eat at lunch. Beginning each day with positivity will help ensure a productive and mindful day.

2Set a mindful New Year’s resolution that you’ll actually want to stick to.

People tend to set the bar way too high when choosing a New Year’s resolution. Sure, vowing to completely cut out sugar or read 10 books a month while working a fulltime job sounds like a solid, ambitious goal, but come February or March, it might just put added stress into your days. Instead, start small by cutting sugar out of your coffee and read a really good book a month. New Year’s goals are meant to challenge us, not push us toward insanity.

3Start your spring cleaning early.

Nothing screams “New Year” like vowing to declutter your life. It’s something we’ve all claimed we’ll do but often, life gets in the way and before we know it, we’re scrambling around trying to “spring clean” our houses. Instead, once or twice a week, pull a never-worn item or two out of your closet to give away.

4Try one new thing a month.

Opening oneself up to new opportunities is the most annoying pieces of advice given but in small quantities, it can be exciting. Maybe go somewhere new in your city or town or try a different exercise class. Trying something new and rewarding doesn’t have to be a grand idea, it can be something small to open your horizons.

5Pencil in some time for yourself.

There’s nothing more frustrating that reading a magazine telling you that you must take an hour for yourself every day. People live really busy lives and if you’re a parent to young kids or in the middle of a difficult semester at school, taking time for yourself can feel like a foreign concept. Start small and pick an activity like a yoga class or a language class once a week to get yourself in the habit of taking time for yourself. Once you get into the habit, it’s easier to add a day or two, if your schedule allows.

6Take the best of last year with you.

The new year is about taking a step forward, but take a moment and look back on the best parts of the previous year. If you began writing an amazing story, keep writing it in the new year. Goals don’t have to stop and the end of one year, expand on them for the next.

7Learn something new.

You don’t have to be in college to learn. Use tools like language learning app, Duolingo to introduce yourself to a new language or listen to an educational podcast like “Stuff You Missed in History Class” on your way to work to open your mind during your morning commute.

When we over-anticipate New Year goals and resolutions, it sets us up to fail. Start small and think about how you can better yourself in the New Year, not completely change your life. Cheers to 2017, your best year yet!