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20 New Year’s Day Activities to Get 2020 Started Right

Cure your hangover and get organized with this list of easy-but-important things you can accomplish today.

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A fresh start

January 1st, 2020, marks the start of not just a new year and a new decade but also a new you! Whether you’re the type to make resolutions or prefer to work on smaller goals throughout the year, the fact is that come this time next year you’ll be a different person. Prepare for the coming year full of happiness and heartbreaks, difficult work and beautiful vacations, new babies and 90-year-old birthday parties, by getting off on the right foot today. Consider one of these 13 life-changing new year’s resolutions for the year to come.

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Drink a green smoothie

Whipping up a “Green Monster” or a “Cold Buster” smoothie is as fun as it is healthy. All it takes are some greens, fruit, and ice and you have the antidote to all those decadent drinks you downed during the holidays. Plus, if you partied a little too hard on New Year’s Eve, a green smoothie is a natural way to help cure a hangover.


Put away holiday decorations

The same Christmas tree, strings of twinkling lights, and piles of packages that feel so festive in December can suddenly feel overwhelming and out of place come the New Year. Do your future self a favor and just pack it all up on the first day of January. You’ll have time to do it right and put it away in an organized fashion that you’ll really appreciate in eleven months.

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Start a gratitude journal

Being grateful is one of the best things you can do for your mental health and New Year’s Day is the perfect time to start a gratitude journal or if you’re already an avid journaler, to review yours from the previous year. Counting your blessings is a powerful way to remind yourself of all the things you have to look forward to in the coming year. Need ideas? This is what a gratitude journal really looks like.

beetroot, arugula, feta cheese and walnut salad, top viewAnna Shepulova/Shutterstock

Eat a salad

Be honest: When is the last time you sat down to a salad that didn’t involve pasta or whipped cream? Probably more than a month ago. Make one of your meals today a bowl of fresh veggies and protein and your body will be fueled up and ready to take on 2020. Just be sure to avoid this type of salad when you eat out.

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Get rid of extra treats

The easiest way to not eat treats and stick to your healthy eating resolution is to not have treats in the house. Easier said than done after the holiday season though! Take time today to do a sweep through your kitchen and trash or give away any remaining candy, cookies, chips, or other junk food. Learn the best ways to organize your pantry.

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Wash your car

Wintertime sand and salt can do a number on your car and even if you live in a warmer climate, chances are you’ve neglected your car during the business of the holidays. (No judgment here!) New Year’s Day is the perfect opportunity to clean your car inside and out so you’ll be ready to return to work and get your kids to school on time tomorrow. These are the 15 things people who always have clean cars have in common.

Thoughtful young brunette woman with book and cup of coffee looking through the window, blurry winter forrest landscape outsideNinaMalyna/Shutterstock

Look back on last year’s resolutions

As you’re thinking about what goals to make for yourself in 2020, take a minute to look back on how your resolutions for 2019 went. What was successful? What was harder than you thought it would be? Use your analysis to help you make better goals this year. You’ll also want to stay away from these 19 popular resolutions experts say to never ever make.

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Chug a liter of water

You’re dehydrated. How do we know? Because we’re all perpetually a little dehydrated. But not getting enough H2O can make you tired, grouchy, achy, and craving sweets. Fill up a water bottle and carry it with you throughout the day, taking a drink every hour or so. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water or one liter of water. These 10 smart water bottles are worth the money and can help you keep track of what you imbibe.


Restock your pantry

Holiday cooking likely depleted your stock of food staples so New Year’s Day is the perfect time to go through what you have, trash what you don’t need, and refill it with fresh, healthy staples. Not only will this help you make better snack and meal choices by having good food handy but having it organized will make it feel easier. These are the 41 kitchen organizing ideas you won’t believe you’ve lived without.

The old man wrote a testament, sitting at a wooden tableperfectlab/Shutterstock

Write thank you notes

Thanking someone for the gift they gave you for the holiday is one of the basic manners that etiquette experts say is a must-do, yet too many of us forget to do this simple task. While a handwritten note is the gold standard, any thank-you—text, email, or call—will make both you and the recipient feel happier.

A white roll of soft toilet paper neatly hanging on a modern chrome holder on a light bathroom wall.Stanislav Makhalov/Shutterstock

Restock the toilet paper

Toilet paper is one of those things you never think about it until you’re stuck without it. Save yourself some time and embarrassment by taking a few minutes to refill all your bathroom essentials like toilet paper, wet wipes, cleaning products, toothpaste, and soap. You can help organize the rest by getting rid of these 10 items today.

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Clean out a closet

A cluttered closet can take a toll on you—it’s very demoralizing when every time you open the door to grab your coat you’re covered in an avalanche of clothing, shoes, and the holiday gift you bought for your aunt and clearly forgot to mail. Take the opportunity on New Year’s Day to clear out the clutter, physically and mentally. Not sure where to even start? Use these 26 tips from professional organizers.

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Take a hike

Nature is so healing that the Japanese even have a phrase to describe the rejuvenating powers of being in the outdoors: Forest bathing. Taking a hike (even if it’s just through a neighborhood park) will lift your spirits, jump start your exercise resolution, reduce your blood pressure, help you sleep better, and improve your mental clarity and creativity—just to name a few of the benefits.

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Get some sunshine

Sunshine, preferably on your face, is powerful medicine. Experts recommend getting 15 minutes a day of sunshine on your bare skin, particularly in the winter. Simply basking in the rays can boost your mood, improve your immune system, and lessen your risk for seasonal affective disorder. This is one of the 24 things happy people never forget to do.

Close-up Of A Human Hand Making Workout Plan On NotebookAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Schedule your workouts for the month

Did you sign up for a gym? Commit to an exercise routine? That will only work if you actually show up and do it. Use the energy and resolve brimming in you today and put your workouts on your calendar for the whole month. It’ll be much harder to forget a workout if it pops up on your daily reminders! Try these 13 tricks to make your resolutions stick.

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Make a menu

Anyone who’s ever ended up trying to decide which drive through to hit at 6:30 p.m. knows that your plan to cook healthier meals is only as good as your menu. Planning a menu helps you get organized, get through the grocery store faster, and get a quick, healthy dinner on the table every night. Besides, these tips will help you cook dinner faster than you can order takeout.

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Read a book or watch a TED talk

Brains need workouts too! Take time today to read that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for two months or if reading isn’t your thing, try listening to an audiobook or watching a TED talk on a topic you’d like to learn more about. These are 19 of the best audiobooks to listen to right now.

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Do nothing

One of the best things to do today is a little bit of…absolutely nothing! After finishing up a hectic holiday season and before starting a busy new year, you’ve earned a few minutes to yourself. Take a hot bath, watch a favorite show, take a nap, meditate, play a game, or just sit and enjoy the peace and quiet. In fact, go ahead and make self-care one of your on-going resolutions for 2020!

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Prep for tomorrow

January 2nd can feel like a shock as you’re thrown right back into real life, except this time you don’t have a holiday to look forward to (at least not for a couple of months). Get yourself mentally and physically prepared for the next day by making sure you and your kids have clean clothes set out, both shoes located, lunches packed, and bags set by the door. You could even tape one of these 50 inspirational quotes to your mirror.

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Go to bed early

The temptation to stay up late and get the most out of every last minute of vacation is very real but be kind to yourself and recognize that the best use of those final few hours is to get enough sleep so you’ll feel rested and happy for tomorrow…and the rest of the year! Waking up from a good night’s sleep is one of the 10 things successful people do every morning.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.