8 Ways to Encourage a Meaningful New Year


I love the transition from one year to the next and linger in that transition twice a year. From December to January and again in June when I celebrate my own brand new year.

Instead of holding onto expectations of ourselves or others and keeping a firm grip on goals, it’s good to have a few times a year to check in, assess, edit, and move forward. As we move into the final days of 2013, I like to think about what will make 2014 most meaningful.

When my actions are infused with meaning and my thoughts with gratitude, life seems sweeter and my connections and commitments are deeper.

8 Ways to Encourage a Meaningful New Year

1. Dress with Less. Turn your attention away from clearance sales, special email offers and trendy fashion.  The next official season of minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 begins on January 1st. Upgrade you before you upgrade your wardrobe. Men and women of all ages, from all over the world are participating. Let me know how I can help.

2. Choose 2 ways to give. Identify one local and one national/international organization that you would like to support. Look for ways during the year to give your time, talent and treasure and to inspire others to give too. Last year, this awesome Be More with Less community donated more than $5000 to charity: water to support a project in Rwanda. When we join forces, we have even more to give.

3. Dump stress. A stressful, chaotic life is not your cross to bear. Even if you think you created it or invited the stress in your life, you don’t deserve it. I think stress is the one thing we all need less of right now. My friend Sandra is hosting a 21 day Living with Ease course that I highly recommend.

4. Desire map. Decide how you really want to feel and give yourself permission to want what you want, feel how you want and do what you want. I’ll be telling you more about my Desire Mapping in the new year.

5. Be inspired. My friends Joshua and Ryan are embarking on a 100 city tour next month. If they are coming to your town, sign up and be inspired by their stories. Grab a free hug while you are there. I’ll be joining them in Salt Lake City, UT & Boise, ID.

6. Eat to live. Instead of failing at another lose weight resolution, start thinking about how food fuels your body. Think about how powerful it can be in preventing and curing disease. Think about how eating great food can actually make you feel great. I’ll following Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live┬árecommendations for 6 weeks beginning on January 8th. Inspired by my friend, Matt at The No Meat Athlete, I think it’s time to take my vegetarian diet to the next level and really benefit from the nutrients that whole vegan foods offer.

I’m sharing this with you for extra accountability. It it gets tough to stay away from sugar and salt, I’ll remember that I’m looking forward to telling you about how I conquered my sugar-free fears.

7. Move. I am convinced that the 2 most powerful indicators for a long healthy life are what you eat and how you move. I don’t always act accordingly, but knowing that, I have no excuses when I don’t feel well. Yoga and walking are my exercise staples, but I really want to run.

I’ve wanted to be a runner forever, but it doesn’t feel good on my body. So, I’m taking a different approach. Instead of getting outside and running on the pavement and then suffering from a sore back and knees, I’m going to run a 5K on the elliptical. We have a gym in our apartment building, so with the help of Couch to 5K, I’m going to build strength and endurance over the next 30 days and run a 5K.

If my friends Scott and Leo can run 50 miles, I can run 3.1.

8. Get your microbusiness off the ground. Is 2014 the year that you quit your job? Develop a side biz? Grow a blog? Or start being more creative? If you’ve been thinking about getting started, turn sparks into fire and let me know how I can help with this 5 question survey.


These are only recommendations. Try one, try them all or create your own. Identify what is most important to you in 2014 and start saying yes to things that support that and no to anything that doesn’t. That commitment alone will make 2014 your most meaningful year ever.


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  1. says

    I’m finding that at this point in the year there are a lot of opportunities to reevaluate how we want to create our lives.
    Having people over for Christmas, New Years resolutions or reflections, packing to go away on holiday etc. all shine a spotlight on our homes, wardrobes and minds and whether they align with our real values. It can be uncomfortable to realise this, but it’s also an opportunity to create some change. Thanks for these great tips and I’m looking forward to hearing more about desire mapping :)

  2. says

    I appreciate the sweetness of this post, Courtney. Life is different, life is good when we focus on meaning and gratitude. Thank you for including my course in your recommendations. And, thank you for all the goodness you share with others.

  3. PAULA says

    Good luck on your new running challenge! Nice and steady, that’s all you need :)
    I’m a big fan of Matt at “NMA”. I can’t believe you are also!
    You have just inspired me (yet again :)) with all 8 of your commitments!

  4. says

    I too love the “clean slate ” of a New Year and will be Desire Mapping my way to 2014 too. Love the other suggestions as well and as always Courtney you are an inspiration!

  5. Jen says

    Have you ever given thought to running in a pool? I know it sounds kind of rediculous but it’s actually an incredible work out and so much easier on the joints. It may also help you build up to more success outside the pool as well. Good luck! :)

  6. says

    I clicked ont his blog post in my reader with hesitation, I’ve read so many posts about how to make life more meaningful lately (I suppose with the holidays and new year, there’s tons of time for reflection), however it’s mainly a lot of self-reflective garbage about yoga and meditation and trying your best. You give practical ideas here, thanks ;)

  7. says

    Hi Courtney! Thanks for this lovely post as usual… I am thilled that you want to try veganism… After 6 years vegetarian I tried it 10 months ago and it is amazing for several reasons…
    I can’t wait to see what the desire map is all about…
    And personnally, I’ll go with #8!!! Big time!!? By the en of the year I want to be my own boss amd be able to sustain my minimalist living!
    Take care,
    Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones

  8. says

    I was so excited when I found out Joshua & Ryan are visiting Australia and signed up immediately. I love this recap and especially love reading of your newfound joy at city apartment living. We’ve lived in ours for 8 years and absolutely love it.