The new year signals a fresh start, and boy do we need one! After 20+ months of pandemic times, we’re all feeling frazzled, burned out, exhausted, grumpy and downright sad. You might have suffered real loss, or you struggled to maintain anything that felt relatively normal since early 2020. Whatever the case, it feels unrealistic to imagine ambitious resolutions for the coming year.

If ever there was a year that called for gentle, stress-free baby steps towards self-improvement, it’s this year! I’ll share below a few of my favorite tiny tasks to bring about order and calm in 2022.

Keep it small: If getting organized is on your to-do list, start super small. Consider a junk drawer that makes you nuts. Or one drawer in your bedroom. You can also organize a single category such as receipts or school supplies. When life is overwhelming, creating one tiny little corner of calm can be all you need to experience welcomed order in the world.

Add a new habit: So often New Year’s Resolutions are about breaking a bad habit. Try instead to set a new habit. Just changing the way you think about this can take the pressure off (adding often seems easier than subtracting!). Your new habit could include 5 minutes of meditation each morning, adding a spinach smoothie to your breakfast routine, or simply taking 10 deep breaths before you leave for work.

Let go of expectations: Crazy-busy is so 2019!! 2022 is all about doing the things that matter most. If your family used to feel compelled to do ALL.THE.THINGS, perhaps this is the year to let go of that expectation and only have one activity per person. Figure out what you really love and dedicate your time and attention to that task rather than feeling the need to glorify busy-ness.

Select a word of the year: I’m a big fan of having a mantra. Not in a totally woo-woo way, but just having a word or phrase that reminds you of what’s important. Figure out that word or phrase that has meaning, keeps you grounded and focused, and regularly brings you back to your center. One of my favorite mantras is “I’m living in the present, I’m not living in the past.” This reminds me to be here now and not lose time worrying about things I can no longer change. It’s also a great reminder to only hang on to things that serve me right now in the life I’m currently leading.

Delete an annoyance: Identify one thing that annoys you whenever you see it. Perhaps it’s a wasteful catalog you keep getting but never look at. Or an email newsletter that clogs your inbox. Or maybe it’s a paper bill you know you could convert to digital but never make the time. Life is too short to let things from the outside world annoy us regularly…take 5 minutes (or less!) to rid yourself of that annoyance once and for all!

In 2022, let’s pledge to keep things simple, look for peace and calm, and care for ourselves in everyday ways. As you reach new goals, take the time to bask in your success. The world is overwhelming these days…small wins each day can add up over time. Be kind to yourself AND to others.

Happy new year and keep neat!