As I get into the full swing of 2021, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming about how to make this year better than the last. With the pandemic still in full force (if not even worse than last year) and a wild political storm happening, I started thinking more about the components that I can control that can lead to making this new year better than the last despite the current circumstances.
Of course, everyone has their own personal goals they want to accomplish and different current life situations, but I wanted to share the general things that I feel will work for many people to help set yourself up for a great year.
Check-in with Yourself
This is the most important point on this list, hence why it’s first. This step you should do regularly because we spend so much time comparing our lives to others through social media, relationships, careers, etc. that we often lose sight of our true selves.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what our lives are “supposed” to look like or what we think will make us happy, but have you ever stopped to think about if what you’re envying or comparing yourself to is truly something that even makes you feel good? I mean, do you even actually enjoy yoga? If not, then why do you follow so many yoga accounts on social media? So you can beat yourself up about not doing yoga that day every time you see a post? Get rid of that! Follow more accounts that you actually enjoy seeing the content of, not accounts that trigger negative thoughts about your body, your current life situation, or hobbies.
Take some time to sit down and really think about what makes YOU (not what Instagram is selling you) happy. When are you most comfortable? What triggers you to get down on yourself or not feel your best? What do you feel is missing from your life, and why? Is it missing because you truly want it or you just think that you should have it because that’s what ‘everyone’ else is doing?
Thinking first about the small things that bring you actual joy is a great place to start, and it often snowballs from there!
We’ve been conditioned our whole lives to always put others first at all costs, and to never say “no” to something unless you have a legitimate reason as to why you can’t do it. But honestly, the whole “say yes to everything” approach has left us totally drained. Contrary to popular practice, you can actually say ‘no’ to things you don’t like or don’t want to do without having any real reason other than you just don’t want to do it.
Choosing how or with who you spend your limited time is invaluable. Say no to spending time with a person or doing an activity that doesn’t bring positive vibes to your life. You’d be surprised at how many obligations aren’t actually necessary when you start evaluating the value that person/activity brings to your life!
Know Your Weaknesses
This is similar to the first point on the list because it involves checking in with yourself. Have you ever taken the time to list out what you are actually good at vs. what you’re not? Taking the time to sit down and do this can be such an eye-opening and helpful practice! Obviously, everyone knows that they’re better at doing some things than others, but really using that list and taking action to work on the things you’re not the best at is key.
While this sounds like zero fun and can be really hard for some people, there have been many studies indicating that living in tidy spaces increases mood, decreases stress, helps you sleep, and promotes productivity. Keep in mind- this is not normal cleaning. Decluttering involves getting rid of clothes in your closet, junk mail and old paperwork, beauty products, electronics you no longer use, etc.
So, where to even begin? First, you have to make a decision: do you dedicate full days in a row to do a major declutter, or small bits at a time over a week or so? There’s no right or wrong decision, it really just depends on how you work as a person. Also have a few charities in mind of where you’d like to take things that can be reused so you know exactly where to go when you’re done and don’t just end up holding onto the stuff indefinitely.
For big chunks: Schedule 2 days over the next month (as in literally make a calendar invite to yourself) to declutter. Go through one room at a time, put on some music, and get to work. Give yourself plenty of breaks so it doesn’t become too overwhelming and cause you to quit. Schedule another 2 days six months from now to do this process again to stay on top of it and get rid of things you may have been on the fence about letting go of in the first round.
For small chunks: Dedicate about an hour each day to conquer one shelf, drawer, or section at a time. Have a go-to area of your house for donations and drop things off every couple weeks or so. Keeping your goals simple and small can be really helpful for those who have a hard time letting go of items or feeling overwhelmed because they have so much stuff to go through.
Set Attainable Health Goals
Let’s face it, being healthy is crucial. You want to feel good, and having a body and mind that are healthy and happy should be a goal that everyone prioritizes.
The problem most people have, is setting health goals that are either unattainable or not easy to continue for months/years/lifetime. Instead of shooting for the moon, start small. Whether that’s stretching for 5 minutes before bed, parking towards the back of the lot at the store or your office, taking 10 minutes for yourself to unwind, adding more veggies to your diet, or keeping your brain strong by reading or doing puzzles, the key is consistency. Little things add up quick when you do them daily!
Plan a Trip
And I say plan a trip because most of us won’t be able to actually travel outside our own city anytime soon due to the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan something! I have found it fun to go ahead and make plans to visit a couple different places I’ve been wanting to go right down to hotels I would stay at, things I would do, and places to eat. That way, when we do finally get that green light to travel again, all the researching is done and all I have to do is pick which destination I want to go to first!