15 Fresh Start Ideas For Your New Year

Want a fresh start this year? We all do! before you worry about resolutions, spend a few hours changing your screen saver and cleaning up social media! Click here for more ideas: // yesandyes.org

New Year! It’s good to see you! You’re so shiny and new I’m checking my makeup in your reflection and parking you at the edge of the parking lot so no one dings you with their door.

Did you guys make heaps of New Year’s resolutions? I’m too much of a Virgo to limit goal making to just once a year (what.a.dork) but I do love a fresh start.

According to inspirational posters everywhere any old day can be ‘the first day of the rest of your life.’ Sure. Yes. But don’t you think the first day of a new decade is just a bit luckier than any other day? Let’s start fresh this year! How’s a human to do that?

1. Get rid of the clothes you don’t love and don’t wear

Now, you should know that getting rid of things? It’s, like, my second favorite hobby. But cleaning out your closet and getting rid of the things that don’t fit you, suit you or please you anymore – it’s a great thing. (Here’s how to pare down your closet without losing your mind.)

I promise you’ll feel so much better once your closet is pared down to things that look great on you and bring a smile to your face. You can even make a few bucks off your old clothes at a consignment shop!

2. Clean out your car

Goodbye, empty Cheetos bags, two extra ice scrapers and orphaned mitten. Vacuum out the sand left over from this summer, splash out on the $8 automated car wash that includes a wax and switch to a new air freshener. I did this after I went through a bad break up and, it was oddly cathartic. Well, that and getting rid of all his old mix cds that were still in the glove compartment.

3. Organize your email/photos/online profiles

Do you have email folders? Dude, you need to. Even if those folders just consist of ‘friends,’ ‘work,’ ‘misc. important’ and ‘funny pictures of cats’ I promise you will feel so clean and smug when your inbox is not 254 emails deep with spam and emails about Christmas presents.

Spend a bit of time organizing your various online haunts. Weed out a few Facebook friends you don’t recognize, adjust your privacy settings, delete your Vine account, print out your favorite Instagram photos. Again, you’ll feel all clean and smug, I promise.

4. Change up your fitness routine

I’m talking to you, self. Sure, 30 minutes on the stair climber listening to Beyonce is awesome – and better than nothing – but how about a ballet class? Or aqua aerobics? kettle balls? hot yoga? You’ll work different muscles, meet new people and probably have heaps of fun wearing that awesome flowered swimming cap.

Related: 9 fun activities that also happen to be exercise

5. Take stock of all the relationships in your life

This is something that I don’t think we do enough. Are you happy with your partner? Are you headed in the same direction? When you look at them, do you think “How’d I get the best one?

Is everything pretty good, but a bit boring? Take stock of what’s working and what’s not. Think about ways that you can spice things up and re-connect. Have adventures. Try something new together. Have Big Important conversations.

And what about your friends? Do they inspire you and support you? Are they full of life and fun? Do you look up to them and respect them? We all know people that drain us and suck the joy out of any interaction.

Maybe it’s time to let those friendships go? I’m not suggesting some epic break-up conversation, but maybe limit yourself to hanging out with them in groups, or allow them to initiate plans for once.

How about those people that you’ve met and would like to be better friends with? Make it happen! I’m totally the girl who will meet a person once, recognize a kindred spirit, and announce to them that we will now commence being friends. Really.

And you’d be amazed how often this works! If you meet someone you like – tell them! Friend them on Facebook and suggest an adventure! The worse they could do is ignore you.

6. Clean out your cupboards and fridge

Not unlike your closet, you surely have things wallowing in the depths of your fridge and cupboards that are never going to see the light of day. Canned beets, anyone?

Commit to eating them up, toss them or donate them to a food shelf. Give everything a good wipe down and then stock up on yummy, nutritious food that you love – feta! Nutella! mandarins!

And this would be a great time to take on a No Grocery Challenge. You’ll be AMAZED by how much time and money you’ll save!

7. Update your resume

When you have a job, it’s easy to let your resume rot in the depths of your hard drive, but why not spend a few hours spicing it up? Update it with new skills you’ve learned at your current job, experiment with different fonts and layouts, make sure that all the dates, emails and phone numbers are current. You never know when you’ll need it!

Related: 8 steps to take (finally) get serious about your professional life

8. Clean out your bathroom cabinet

I won’t bore you with those statistics about how makeup’s shelf life is supposedly three weeks or some such, but why not toss those old prescriptions, the frosted lipstick and that shampoo that makes your hair weird. Give everything a wipe down, wash out your makeup brushes and buy yourself a few new products you’ve been meaning to try.

10. Change out your ringtone/alarm/screen saver

Yes. Download something new and fun. Why not wake up to sound of Josh Ritter or Rhye? Wade through the gillions of gorgeous photos on Unsplash and find something new for your screen saver.

11. Try a new scent

Aromatherapy is for real. Why not try a completely new scent for your home? Or a perfume that’s completely outside of what you normally go for?

I’m usually all over what I call ‘cougar scents’ – musky, spicy things that make me smell like a 50-year-old woman who flies first class and drinks too many martinis. But I’m going to give something light and floral a try!

12. Switch up your surroundings

You don’t need to engage in an extreme home makeover to get the feeling of a new space. Switch out the shams on your pillow cases and put some different pictures in those frames.

Put something different in that decorative bowl, replace the Venetian blinds with some thrifted curtains, paint an accent wall a color you love. You don’t need to break the bank to see a huge difference.

13. Make a list of new things you want to try

I’m in the process of trying 25 new things, but you can try any number of new things. And they don’t need to be epic, expensive, life changing things. ‘Cook something with lemongrass,’ ‘Watch Citizen Kane,’ and ‘Try Hip Hop Karaoke’ are all equally valid. It’s just important to try new things!

14. Spend 15 minutes thinking about your finances

Check your credit score, see how much money you still owe on school loans and think about upping your automated payment. Even just $30 more a month can make a big difference over the course of 10 years!

Make sure you’re actually using all those monthly services you pay for – Hulu+, Netflix, the gym, etc. Could you do without them? Take a minute to look at your 401k – are you topping it out? And if you don’t have a 401k, get a Roth IRA. It’s soooo much less intimidating than you’d think!

15. Try something new with your appearance

I don’t know about you, but I’m inclined to stick with something when I know it works. And then keep doing it for a million years, well past its expiration date. These days that means actually styling my hair, NYX liquid liner, Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple, Old Navy Rockstar jeans and a pair of weird black boots I found at an antique store on my birthday.

Anyway! Let’s break out of the rut! New lipstick colors! New eyeliner! Hairstyles that are not a top knot or big, loose curls! (That last one’s a note-to-self). And if you try it and don’t like it? You can just go back to what was working.

What fresh starts are you making this year? Tell me all about it in the comments!

P.S. 11 end-of-year traditions that will make next year amazing

Photo by Urmi (License: Creative Commons BY)

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  1. Jenn

    This is, hands down, my favorite New Year's blog post. I'm excited to try a few (namely that resume piece)!

    Happy New Year!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Thanks so much – so glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Brittany

    I absolutely love this post. There are so many things from this list that I need to get started on. The most important for me is to change up my fitness routine. I am so lazy that sometimes 30 mins is all I feel like doing. I need to make myself do more or find something thats fun!

  3. Sydney

    AWESOME. I'm going to put this in my weekly links, because obviously. Little changes do make big differences!

  4. Emily

    I really like these ideas! Although, having the flu, my main accomplishment for the day was changing my sheets on my bed. Ah well, it's something! I have a Roth IRA but don't really understand it, so maybe my goal will be going to the Etrade office and getting some more info.

  5. Laura

    Love it! I really need to clean out my car…

  6. Sarah Oleson

    Fantastic New Year's list; especially because it is the sort of list that is good to remember and update all year long! Thanks!

  7. Stephanie Loudmouth

    Such an awesome list! I'll be featuring this one in a future post!

  8. Samantha

    I love the idea of a 25 things i want to try list =D

  9. Chantelle

    Adore your list!

  10. Taelin

    Thank you for the amazing list! 🙂 x

  11. hungryandfrozen

    Thanks for this super cool list – lots of good things to think about (even if I don't manage to do all of them right away)

  12. Anna.

    I love this post! So glad I have found it – and thank god that you've introduced me to Unsplash! I love that website now – great for backgrounds!!! 🙂

    followed now!

    Anna x


  13. Stacia, the Homey Owl

    I'm working on my epicly long list of thing I want to do this year and there are some really great things on here! One of my friends has a personalized ringtone/text tone for each person that she contacts frequently and then a generic tone for people she doesn't hear from very often. It keeps her day more interesting because as we each contact her, her phone is always playing something different. However, it's not confusing because the tones are so personalized. For instance, mine is the 10th Doctor's theme because she was the one who introduced me to Who and we spent many evenings when we were roommates watching Doctor Who together.

  14. Evie

    I had allergy issues in 2013. So defiantly I am going to say "No" to any skin infections this year. Cheers 🙂

  15. Linda

    I love your energy. Your blog posts are always so inspiring and bubbly. I wish we could run into each other some day and announce that we are going to be friends! Ha! I love that idea – totally using that this year. May you manifest abundance and anything you dream up in your life. You're awesome! Happy New Year! 🙂 xox

  16. Norma Maxwell

    ADORE. Fun, fresh, and doable! Happiest New Year to you, Sarah! xo ~N

  17. Janelle @ Two Cups Of Happy

    This is a great list! It gave me some ideas of things to try. ALSO, Revlon LB in Pink Truffle is my favorite lipstick! So comfortable for work – not too flashy. 🙂

  18. Sarah

    Thank you for realistic and practical ‘goals’ for a fresh start. I moved house over Christmas so I’m in the process of many of these cleaning and purging jobs but there are a few more I’d like to try like a list of new things for my upcoming birthday.

    In my move I reassessed my relationship to TV. I lived without it for 2 weeks and didn’t miss it. I felt great and smug about sitting at the table to eat dinner instead of habitually eating in front of the TV when I came home from work. So I’m trying to be more conscious about my TV time. It can be such an energy and time killer.

  19. Amanda Guerassio

    Great list! But where’s #9? Is it a super secret awesome way to get a fresh start? 😉

  20. Valerie

    Love the list! And since I turned 50 in 2016, in honor of #11, I’m going to
    Fly first class
    Drinks too many martinis
    and pinch the bums of stewards!
    I’m 50! I deserve it!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Love it!

  21. Michelle - Lillian Abbey

    Your description in #11 is pretty much my life goal.

    Great list, Sarah! I love how simple and achievable these are but they really make a difference. Happy New Year!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So glad you found it helpful, Michelle!

  22. Carly

    I just found your blog… and I’m in love. It is so amazing. Everything you write just speaks to me (and I’ve tried reading like a hundred blogs before!) But yours is by far the best and exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you x100!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Oh, you’re so sweet to say so, Carly! Welcome to the party 😉

  23. Chalani

    Yeah…this is amazing…i love this post….it i great…

  24. Halina Stolar

    What a fun post! Thanks for those great suggestions! I loved your description of your favorite perfume type: Cougar scents. Lol! I prefer “green scents” myself. Pretty much anything that smells like fresh cut grass, tea, or a salad. One friend recommended a perfume once and when I went to Sephora for a sample sniff, I fell in love with it: it’s spicy and sexy and everything that my salad perfumes are not. Maybe this is the year I finally buy it!

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