If you're like most people, you  welcome each New Year with at least a couple of resolutions: This is the year you're going to lose those pesky extra pounds, save money, or quit your favorite vice.

While New Year's resolutions are always well-intended, they can often be overly ambitious -- which is why studies have shown that around 80 percent of them are doomed to failure.

Instead of offering ideas for life-altering resolutions that have a better chance of overwhelming you than improving you, here are 10 small and simple things that you can do in the first week of 2017 to start the year off right!

1. Read a book

Any book. Choose something that you'll enjoy -- whether it's a 50 Shades romance or a physics textbook, take some time to curl up and give your imagination some nourishment. I have a new book that will help you start the new year right...hint hint.

2. Reconnect

Call just one person you'd like to catch up with to let them know you're thinking of them. Getting caught up in the day-to-day happens to everyone, and you'll be surprised at how good it makes you feel to call someone just to say "hi."

3. Plan

Invest in a physical planner for 2017. You can still use your digital calendars, but sometimes seeing your daily, weekly, and monthly plans all written out can help you realize just how much it is you really do.

4. Clean out your car

You might be surprised how much more pleasant your daily commute can be when you clear out the clutter and invest in an air freshener.

5. Go somewhere alone

Having a meal at a restaurant, visiting a museum, or seeing a film alone are all great ways to relax and reflect. A day or two alone is a good way to recharge and get focused.

6. Free up digital space

This is the perfect time to go through your phone, computer, and email and delete everything that is taking up space! It will make you feel more organized and can improve the function of your devices.

7. Check in on your finances

Know where you stand going into 2017. Check on all of your personal and business accounts to be sure things are in good standing, and to be able to make a plan to fix them if they're not. Can you save a little more or put some more into my IRA? Is there a trip or a purchase you wanted to do this year? What is your plan to pay for it?

8. Go for a walk

If you're enjoying time off for the holidays, it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas and not brave the outdoors -- but do it anyway. Load up your favorite music, podcast, or audiobook, bundle up, and enjoy the winter weather that most people avoid.

9. Reflect

Take an hour to look through some of the work you've done over the last year, and consider how you might do things differently today. Chances are, you've learned a lot in this last trip around the sun.

10. Set goals

Think about where you want to be at this time next year in your personal and professional life. These aren't resolutions, they're things to strive for! Break down big goals into smaller and more achievable ones. Taking on the big tasks like this will help you get them done and feel good about yourself.

Published on: Dec 19, 2016
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