20 Thoughtful Things To Do On New Year's Day 2024

Begin the year with intention and joy!

Image with illustration of a person celebrating New Year's Day

As we step into the new year, a new book with 366 blank pages, let's write a wonderful introduction. What you do on New Year's Day makes the entire year already special and purposeful.

We can go by and do nothing and it wouldn't make a difference, but why not make a difference? It is our choices that shape our lives. Even if 2023 wasn't your best year, you can choose to make good things happen in 2024. I hope that you try out these ideas with excitement and a glint in your eye.

There's no pressure to do too much. In fact, even if you try the easiest idea you find here, don't think you're not doing enough. You are. Let's do what we can and do it well! That's all that matters.

If you're a bit early here, you can also take a look at my post on ideas for New Year's Eve. I wish you a wonderful, beautiful year. May it be your best year yet! Here are 20 thoughtful things you can do on New Year's Day:

What to Do on New Year's Day

1. Take our New Year Challenge

One of the best things you can do to start the year off right is to take our journaling challenge made specifically for the new year. It's called the 15-day New Year Challenge and it helps you reflect on the past year with gratitude and look forward to the new one with hope.

You'll receive a prompt every day with examples to help you. I made this challenge focusing on all the things we should be thinking about at the start of a new year. It's totally free and available on the Gratitude app.

2. Make a vision board

Are you looking for a way to focus on your goals and make the most of this year? Then the vision board is your answer.

A vision board is the visual representation of your goals in the form of photos and affirmations. It is a tool that is used to visualize and plan for the future.

It’s natural to be pumped at the beginning but it’s more important to carry this motivation through the year and keep believing in yourself. A vision board will help you do just that!

Here's my detailed post on how you can make the perfect 2024 vision board.

3. Start a gratitude journal

If there's one habit you want to build this year, gratitude journaling is my top recommendation.

I have been keeping a gratitude journal for four years now and I really can't imagine my life without it. It has shaped me into a much stronger, more aware, and happier person.

Some of the benefits of being grateful include:

  1. Increased feelings of happiness: When we focus on the positive aspects of our lives and express gratitude for them, it can boost our mood and increase our overall sense of happiness.
  2. Improved sleep: Research has found that people who practice gratitude journaling before bed tend to sleep better and feel more refreshed in the morning.
  3. Reduced stress: Gratitude journaling has been shown to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can have a range of negative effects on the body and mind.
  4. Increased resilience: When we practice gratitude regularly, it can help us build resilience and cope more effectively with difficult situations.
  5. Improved relationships: Expressing gratitude for the people in our lives can help us feel more connected to them and strengthen our relationships.

The simplest thing you can do is set a goal of writing 3 things you are grateful for 2 days a week. Marcus’ story is a great example of how profoundly gratitude can help us in our lives.

4. Do an affirmations session

Try to wake up early so you can find time just to be with yourself, free from distractions and chores, and say affirmations to yourself. Alternatively, you can also take a notebook and write an affirmation multiple times.

Affirmations, in very simple terms, are positive statements that we say to ourselves to feel better and motivated. They help us reshape our thinking and the words we choose in our inner monologue. We all know that our inner critic needs to take a breather and become a bit sweeter.

Here are some new year affirmations for you:

  1. This year is going to be a great and wonderful year for me.
  2. This year, my dreams are coming true.
  3. I have found the love of my life in this new year - me.
  4. I start the new year, and continue every day, sending and receiving peace and love.
  5. A wonderful, productive, and successful time is starting now.
  6. I choose to be happy every day of this new year.
  7. I am the creator of my own happiness. I’m ready to take responsibility and do what it takes to start living my dream life.
  8. I’m going to only focus on things I can control and let go of worry about the rest.
  9. 2024 is a year of wonderful surprises, good decisions, and creative solutions.
  10. I am creating financial abundance, a healthy body, and positive relationships in 2024.

5. Call up people you love

The happiness of our lives is all about what's in us and who's with us. Make sure you ring up all your dearest loved ones and wish them a happy new year.

I also make a post on happy new year wishes that you can send to your family and friends.

6. Plant a tree

One of my favorite ideas on this list! It's so meaningful and something you know will be such a rewarding experience. A tree is a gift we give back to our Mother Earth. With so much damage done to our environment, planting a tree is the least we can do for our home. I am surely going to do it.

7. Donate to an animal shelter

To me, the best thing about having money along with fulfilling your needs is the ability to help others. Start your new year with giving happiness. Think of those whose life lacks even those basic blessings that we so easily forget we're lucky to have.

One way is to donate to an animal shelter. One shelter I can recommend is run by a friend of mine, Mugdha Khatri and it's called Healing Saathi (Saathi means companion). You can take a look at their work here.

8. Start a fitness challenge

You can also decide to get fitter this year and start the habit of exercising regularly. I, for one, have really struggled with finding something that I can stick to. But recently, it became too much and I decided that I would walk over 45 minutes in the morning. It is something that I have been able to stick with.

Unfortunately, I caught a cold and have been resting but I know I am going to get back. My tip is to find something you will enjoy and not do too much. That always fails. Start lightly. Let's say after a month, you feel you can do more, then that's great! But give yourself a month just to form the habit of exercising. When we go too hard too fast, it doesn't last long.

9. Make a meal for yourself

Who doesn't love a good meal? Make your day delicious by spending some time in your kitchen and cooking a wholesome meal for yourself. If you ask me, I'll make pasta!

10. Take out old photo albums

Let's go back to the times when printing photos was the only way of preserving them and we made so many photo albums. Look at your childhood photographs, and your family's lives captured through the years, and let nostalgia wash over you. What a beautiful way to start the year.

11. Try something creative

Recently, I've been really interested in making things I can wear, like hair scrunchies, and headbands. The next thing I am going to try making is earrings.

Give yourself the chance to try something creative that's new for you or that you haven't done in a long time. I think you'll really enjoy it. You can try out making a painting for your wall, making a bracelet, embroidering, making a dress, glass painting, clay art, and more.

12. Clean up

Is there some part of your home that needs a deep cleanse? Perhaps your wardrobe or maybe your laptop?

If this sounds like something that would be useful in your life, why not do it on the very first day of the year?

13. Dress up and go out

Be a part of the city celebrations and embrace the spirit of the new year. Get dressed up and get your friends together. Go out and celebrate!

14. Choose your word of the year

What is a word that you want to carry with yourself this year? Something to define the year with? Something you'd hand on your bedroom wall in big letter?

Is it Hope, or Believe, or Compassion, or Determination?

Choosing your word or words of the year is a wonderful way to decide what you want to focus on and be guided by. Here is my post with more than 190 one-word affirmations that you can choose yours from.

15. Host a game

My family loves playing Housie when we all get together. Games are such a fun and effective way to get people together. They raise the spirits and lead to some of the best memories. You can try it too. Have people come to your house, host a potluck dinner, and play games!

16. Buy something from a small business

Treat yourself while supporting someone's hard work by purchasing from a small business. I am such a fan of small businesses because they feel personal, and deserving, and make really unique things!

17. Set up a fund

Is there some big expense you want to do but haven't been able to yet? Maybe a car or a trip?

On the first of this year, you can decide to set up a fund for a specific goal and set aside a monthly amount for it. It will make your dream easier to achieve and also intentional. All you need is patience and discipline.

18. Watch a movie

Simple and perfect. If you don't want to do a lot, this is one of the easiest things you can do that will make your day more special. Watch a heartwarming movie at home or perhaps go to the cinema if you're interested in something.

19. See the sunrise

Ahh, the first sunrise of the year feels so important, doesn't it? The first rays of 2024. The first beginning. I think this is a really meaningful thing to do on New Year's Day. You can wake up early and go to a place where the sunrise shows up most magnificently. What a magical moment!

20. Go for a photo walk

And my final idea that can be clubbed with so many of the ones above is to go for a photo walk. Treat the moments of New Year's Day like a gift and capture the memories. You can take along a friend and go to a park or anything beautiful place and take photos. Celebrate 2024 like a celebrity and a miraculous thing, because it is. Life is a miraculous thing 😊

And, that's it! These were the most meaningful ideas I had for what you can do on New Year's Day. I hope you try them out. Share this post with your friends and family to make their 2024 special too. I wish you a very happy new year. Take care!

Continue Reading: 50 Greatest New Year Quotes for an Amazing 2024

Aarushi Tewari

Aarushi Tewari

The writer and affirmations speaker at Gratitude, Aarushi believes that one of the most effective ways of feeling inner peace is by being grateful and having a loving self-relationship.

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