13 Fresh Starts For A New Year

Reposted from last year because a) it’s a good post b) I’m in eastern Nepal where there’s only 13 hours of electricity a day. Cut me some slack, yo.
2011! 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 girl 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. 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 cd’s 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. Maybe weed out a few Facebook friends, adjust your privacy settings, delete your Myspace account, print out your favorite Flickr 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 Confessions on The Dancefloor 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.

5. Reevaluate 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!

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!

8. Clean out your bathroom cabinet

I won’t bore you with those statistics about how makeup’s shelf life is supposedly 3 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 Ambling Alp or Lisztomania? Wade through the gillions of gorgeous photos on weheartit and find something new for your screen saver.11. Try a new scent

Aroma therapy is for real, yo. 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, drinks too many martinis and pinches the bums of stewards. 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, 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 32 new things before I turn 32, 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!What fresh starts are you making this year?



Love this post! I decided this year to create "resolutions" that are things that I can cross off – sort of a combination of a "30 before 30" list (or whatever) plus New Year's resolutions. Like your list, they're all things that will make me feel good when they're done! What a great way to start the new year right.


Last year, I was completely down in the dumps on New Years. My best friend and I hadn't spoken in months, my new friends were toxic and just plain evil, I had gained about 5 pounds and I just felt like crap. and then I read this. I did every single one of these, from deciding to get a personal trainer to calling my best friend to booking a 5 week trip to south-east Asia, and then 2010 turned out to be one the best years ever. So thank you for posting these and motivating me last year! I don't think there are enough news years resolution success stories out there, so heres mine and thank you for the role you played πŸ™‚


This is the first year I've spent as an adult: outside the UK, without a job (apart from when I was at uni) and without a huge group of friends/familiars around me. I reckon that qualifies me as having a fresh start – can't wait to see where it takes me!


LOVE these ideas. I've been meaning to clean out my car for ages – seriously, so much dust and I know the inside of my windows are begging for a scrub – but kept putting it off! Today's the day!

Yael Santo

aside from a couple highlights (getting engaged, graduating from college), 2010 was a giant disappointment of a year. i had so many plans and i didn't follow through on any of them.

2011 will present a number of challenges (finding a new job once my contract ends, paying for a wedding on a single, small salary…), i'm excited for its possibilities. and i've implemented a bunch of these suggestions already, without even thinking of it as a great way to start a new year!

can't wait to see what this year brings, and i'm committed to making it a better year than the last.


This is an odd question, but I really do wonder: When do they turn off the electricity in Nepal, and when do they turn it back on? About a decade ago here where I lived the same thing happened in some parts of the country. People would have no electricity since 8 pm until 8 am. Or the other way round. I was one of the lucky ones to live in parts where it didn't happen.


This list makes me smile. I'm sort of doing the exercise switch-up by trying the Couch to 5k program, but I think a switch-up requires actually having had an exercise routine first πŸ™‚

On my way to clean out my bathroom cabinet!


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