Needless to say, this year has been a weird one. Not only has it been stressful and difficult, but if you were lucky, it’s also been boring. With the arrival of 2021, we can put forth a good attitude to start the year off right, knowing that things aren’t going back to “normal” but we can make the most of it.
Whether you’re moving to a new place — be it a whole new city, just a new home, or just a new frame of mind — it’s important to do all you can to set yourself up for success. Let’s plan ahead and pull out all the positivity we can so we can start 2021 on a high note: that means outlining some resolutions for the new year.
If you haven’t made resolutions before, now’s the perfect time to start. If you have made resolutions before, chances are you’ve made the same one every year. No, really! Statistics show that more than 60% of people made the same resolution for 2020 that they made in 2019. If you’re into this year’s resolution and want to carry it into 2021, by all means. If you’re down to try something new, let’s consider the options.
Change circumstances by changing your outlook
We know, 2020 was overall not the best year we’ve ever had. It can be easy to go into January 2021 with our heads hanging, ready for the misfortune to continue. That’s what needs to change first. It may be easier said than done, but changing your outlook is the first step toward having a better new year.
Though 2021 will admittedly still not be what we’d consider normal, now that we’ve dealt with several months of COVID-19 issues, we have a bit of a handle on what life is like. With that in mind, we can look for the good in things. Focus your energy on everything good that happened this year and bring it with you into 2021. Then build on it. Did you find a new hobby in 2020 that you love? Keep doing it in 2021. Did you start a renovation project that has you excited? Keep working on it in 2021. Are you moving into a new place in 2021? Plan it!
By setting your intentions for 2021, you’re already off to a good start. Here are some more things to consider.
Understand what’s right for you first. In 2020, your goal was hopefully just to get through it, and that’s more than okay. For 2021, let’s think about what we did accomplish or wanted to accomplish but just didn’t quite make it, and bring it to 2021 to really nail it. Be realistic with yourself, because setting yourself up for failure won’t help your year at all. Be ambitious without going too far. You want to have something to work toward, goal-wise, but it should be something you know you can do with a little bit of effort.
That being said, don’t get discouraged. Part of your positive attitude in 2021 is giving yourself time and grace to accomplish what you can. Not all goals will be achieved quickly and not everything will be easy. Set up a game plan to get there and chip away every day. Remember: You have all year for this. Here are some tips to get you going.
- Make goals that are obtainable and quickly achievable. Who doesn’t love knocking out a goal? Come up with a list of goals for the year that run the gamut. Aim for some easy ones that you know you can do quickly and easily so you start the year strong. If you set all your goals as huge, long-term goals that will take months, you might get discouraged with your lack of achievement. Set some goals that you can get done in January, then maybe some that are quarterly, and more that will take all year.
- Don’t doubt what you can do, and make steps to get there. Have faith in yourself. There are plenty of sayings about being able to do whatever you put your mind to – for good reason. If you really want to achieve something, you can do it. It might mean you modify your goal to fit your lifestyle and abilities better, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Whether you want to learn to play an instrument, buy a new house, or run a mile, it can all be done. Maybe it won’t be done quickly, but you can do it. Set up a plan and outline the steps it’ll take you to achieve it and start at the beginning.
- Write a list in order to keep yourself honest. Write all of this down. Accountability is huge when it comes to just about anything you’re working toward. Write your 2021 goals down now and keep them in a place that you’ll always see. Don’t hide them! This way they’ll always be in your head as something to work toward. You can also incentivize your goals (if the actual achievement isn’t enough). Write your rewards down with your goals so you know what you’re working towards.
- Try new things that aren’t in your wheelhouse. Trying something new can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. After you’ve set your standard goals for the year, try to come up with something that feels like a real stretch because it’s not something you’d ever considered. It can be something really simple like teaching yourself how to make a layup or it could be something really ambitious like learning how to ride a motorcycle. The options are endless!
Spice up your space
One thing that could significantly improve your year is making sure you’re in a space that you love and that feels like home. Even if you don’t love your whole home, try to create a space within it that’s inherently yours. That doesn’t mean you need to move or buy any big-ticket items. This could be something as simple as DIYing some new decor or finding a couple budget-friendly pieces to make the place feel more cozy.
Whether you’re in a house or apartment, whether you’re working from home alone or have kids in the house virtually learning, or whether you have roommates or your own space, there are ways to create a safe space to have downtime and relieve stress. Here are some tips to get you there.
- Consider repurposing a room to make it into a place that makes you feel relaxed. Do you have a room in your home that just isn’t cutting it? Maybe you have a large room with some extra space. Maybe you have a catch-all room that’s desperate for a makeover. Whatever the case, try taking that area and repurposing it into a space that you actually want to use.
- Soothing music or smells can help create a sense of calm. You don’t need anything fancy for this one, but bring your phone or computer or whatever device plays music with you into your safe haven and put on some soothing music. Pair that with a candle in your favorite scent or even a room spray in a comforting smell and set the scene for relaxation.
- Understand the importance of taking time for yourself. This one is vital. You need the time and space to recharge so that you’re your best self. That means taking a beat from time to time to sit down and relax and let your stresses wash away. Your safe space in your home is the perfect place to allow you to do that.
Popular New Year’s resolutions
The beauty of New Year’s resolutions is that they’re yours and yours alone. It doesn’t matter what anyone else decides to do in 2021, you only need to worry about yourself. Here are some popular New Year’s resolutions that can inspire you to be your best self in 2021.
- Getting healthy: This is probably the most popular New Year’s resolution. So many people pick this at some point, and with good reason. It’s never a bad idea to focus on your health. This could be any part of the health spectrum; it doesn’t have to mean losing weight or exercising more. You could simply want to start by eating better or focusing on your mental health. If you’re looking for an exercise routine, though, make sure you’re familiar with any COVID-19 restrictions at the gyms in your area, and consider working out at home or outside instead. You can go for something like yoga at home, which will not only help on the exercise front but with mental health as well. If you want to lean into mental health more, maybe this is the year you start meditating or find a therapist.
- Buying and selling a home: We support your big dreams! In 2020, there was definitely an unexpected shift in the housing market, thanks to COVID-19. People all over the country are buying and selling homes at a much more elevated pace than is typical, and that’s not going to change any time soon. If you’re ready to get in on this real estate action, maybe 2021 is the year you sell your home and find something new. If you’ve been on the fence about it, now’s the time to sell. Start by doing some research on selling your house and get a feel for what you’re looking for in some place new. There’s a lot of work to be done on this project, so this might be a New Year’s resolution that keeps you busy for a little bit!
- Traveling more: Traveling might be a little tricky in the beginning of the year, but we’re hopeful we’ll be able to get out more in the latter half. However, traveling doesn’t always mean going abroad. Check with the CDC for the most up-to-date guidelines on going anywhere or being social before you make any big plans, but perhaps your travel for now is simply driving to a place where you can go for a hike alone, or heading to the lake where you can relax. Maybe it’s just going to your local park for a change of scenery. Traveling is always a great goal, but this year it may need to be a little more creative.
- Taking up a new hobby: You might have already done this in 2020 (there were so many limits on what we could actually do), but maybe you can spin off of it in 2021 or try another new hobby. If you started learning French this year, maybe in 2021 you can start to learn Italian. If you learned how to knit this year, maybe in 2021 you can crochet. There are endless hobbies and new things to learn. Maybe you and a friend or family member can pick something together so you have a pal to chat with about it. Even if they’re far away, you can have Zoom knitting parties.
- Decluttering: Ah, a new year is a great time to throw out everything you don’t need. Go through your house and purge all the excess so your house feels fresh. Then do the same with your life. Weed out clutter from everywhere: toxic friendships, bad habits, etc. There’s no room in your 2021 for that negativity.
- Defining your style: Your style is more than just your clothes. Your entire being is part of your style. Look at your home — does it feel like you? Take the time in 2021 to figure out what aesthetic you want yourself to be and start acting on it. Maybe it’s easier to start with your wardrobe and let your home decor follow or maybe it’s the other way around. The answers are there, you just have to find them.
- Saving money: It’s always a good idea to save more, but we know it can be hard. It can be especially difficult to save money if you live in an expensive corner of the United States, but it can be done, even if it’s only a little bit at a time. If you give yourself a purpose for saving, whether it’s to eventually buy a house or just to go on vacation, you might be more motivated to do it. Put away a couple dollars here or there, or even your spare change when you have it. Eventually you’ll have enough for something grand.
- Reevaluating your career: If you love your job, you can skip right on past this. If you’ve been questioning things for awhile, maybe consider that there’s a reason for that. If your job is unfulfilling, consider looking for something new. We understand that right now is not an ideal time to switch jobs, so we definitely don’t want you to quit your job out of the blue without something else to fall back on. We just want you to be open minded to other opportunities if you feel like there’s something else out there that might be better for you. Start by cleaning up your resume and looking around for what might be available. You never know when your dream job might come calling.
- Going green: Sustainability is all the rage right now, as it should be. If you haven’t yet gone green, 2021 is a time to consider it. You can green-ify your home on the outside, to start, and then move inside and think about things like sustainable furniture and recycling. You can also delve into sustainable fashion more and ways to lessen your carbon footprint.
- Get more sleep: It’s time. Be good to yourself and get enough sleep. We know you’re busy, but sleep is so good for your body, mind, and spirit. It truly does help keep you healthy and keeps your mind sharp. Try to design a sleep routine that gives you ample hours every night and stick with it. You’ll be so happy you did.
The bottom line
The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful, and almost nothing in 2020 went as expected. Though things are tricky right now, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make the most of things, especially with the right attitude. Taking time to understand what you need is the most important thing you can do heading into 2021.
Here are some more resources that can help you navigate the year ahead.
- Take time for yourself: This is an incredibly stressful time, so it’s important to take care of yourself. The CDC has created several guides to help people through this pandemic, and they can be useful in times when you need to stop and take a moment. Be kind to yourself.
- Find ways to manage stress: If stress has become a huge part of your life, first of all: you’re not alone and second of all: there are ways to manage. Keep in mind that if the stress is too much to handle, it’s time to see your health care provider. In the meantime, try some self-care (which can be anything you want it to be, from applying a mud mask to putting away laundry you ignored for a week), or sleep aids like essential oils or calming teas. You also might try relaxing baths or meditating.
- Create a to-do List: If you’re someone who loves to make a list and check things off, now’s your time to shine. Make a to-do list for the day, the month, the year, your life, whatever you want. If you’re looking ahead to 2021 to big ideas, make a to-do list to get you to next December with a smile on your face.
- Parenting tips during the pandemic: For the parents, this is not only a stressful time for you, but your children as well. Keep talking to them about everything going on in the world, and show them what we all need to be doing to keep safe during the pandemic. This is also the perfect time to sit down with your kids and talk about 2021. Share with them that the new year will be different, but you can create some fun goals for the year.
Disclaimer: We are not experts in this area and these are just suggestions for how to start living your best life in the New Year. You always run a risk of contracting COVID-19 and taking these tips in consideration doesn’t mean you won’t be at risk.
Hedy Phillips is a freelance lifestyle writer based in New York. She writes on a variety of topics, including home decor trends and tips for traveling. Her bylines have appeared in a number of publications, including POPSUGAR, Hunker, Cosmopolitan, and more.