Are you leaving 2020 feeling beaten down? If you are like so many of us, you want a clean slate for 2021. These 21 simple changes will help reduce stress, increase your self-esteem, and improve your life significantly in the year ahead.
#1 Find a mentor
There are many benefits to finding a mentor that can help you make 2021 the best year ever. A mentor can help you grow, give you much-needed advice, and increase your professional network.
If this is the year you change careers and chase your dreams, a mentor’s help can be an invaluable source of information.
#2 Declutter your environment
When I was a little kid, after a long day of cleaning my grandma would say, “Don’t you feel better now?” I would always respond with, “No.” I never wanted to spend hours doing chores.
However, now that I am an adult, when we clean on the weekends, I ask my family, “Don’t you guys feel so much better now!” The children stare at me and go, “No.” Sigh…
Cleaning and decluttering your environment reduces stress and anxiety, It also makes working on your other goals easier because everything is where it belongs and easy to find.
So clean off your desk. Go through your closet and give away clothes you haven’t worn in six months or more. When you donate things, you are also improving the life of someone else, which also makes you feel good! It is a win-win, and a great way to succeed in the new year.
#3 Tell people you love them
We should always tell the people we love how special they are to us because life is short and you don’t know if you will have another opportunity to do so.
When we tell people how special they are to us, it has the power to improve their day too! If 2020 taught me anything, it is that the relationships we have with our loved ones are what is really important in life.
#4 Get a houseplant
A houseplant might not seem like a life-altering purchase, but it can affect your life this year. House plants are good for your physical health because they take our carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen.
They also have been proven to increase concentration and productivity. After 2020, we could all use less stress, and houseplants also reduce stress!
#5 Re-evaluate your finances
This is a great time to cancel unwanted subscriptions. Automating your bills will also free up some time and ensure you pay things on time. The beginning of the year is also a great time to think about investing, retirement funds, and savings.
For many people, this is an area that has been hit hard during 2020, but whatever you can do to improve your financial situation (including cutting up some credit cards) will benefit you in the future. Nothing says clean-slate like paying off some debt if you are able.
#6 Make time for your friends
Having good friends is yet another health benefit. Having friends helps us feel like we belong and have a purpose. Your friends can help reduce your stress level and lower your blood pressure.
However, they can also increase your happiness, self-confidence, and self-worth. Most people also have fun when they get together with a group of friends, and after the year we have had, we can use a little more fun!
#7 Get a better night’s sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most refreshing things. That feeling of waking up after giving your body a chance to recoup is a nightly ritual that, in essence, gives us a daily clean slate.
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure you get the best rest. Like replacing your pillow, keeping your sheets clean, and making your bed every day. Avoiding caffeine late at night and certain foods, like tomatoes, will also help you sleep a little better at night.
#8 Watch less TV
Watching less TV has more benefits than you might think. Most sitting happens while people watch TV, so, if you are watching less TV then you are sitting less. Sitting less means you are engaging in some kind of activity which is good for your health.
Also, if you are not binge-watching hours of television, then you will have more free time to follow other pursuits. You are also more likely to form your own opinions without bias.
#9 Read more books
Reading is a significant source of entertainment, education, and information. Reading increases your vocabulary and makes it easier to articulate your point. When you read a book, you increase your cognitive engagement.
Reading also makes us more empathetic, socially perceptive, and emotionally intelligent. If 2020 revealed anything, it is the fact that we can use more of those three things as we face 2021.
#10 Check your vitals
Do you know how high your blood pressure is? How fast is your heart beating? You can check these vitals at most local stores or pharmacies. These are good things to be aware of when it comes to your health.
Another number to be aware of is your weight, as this can also lead to other health problems. You can help your health get a clean slate by meditating, relaxing, being active, and making better food choices.
#11 Audit the last year
In order to get where you want to know, you have to understand where you have been. What were your goals for 2020 and did you achieve them?
If you didn’t quite reach them, what steps did you take that were successful? Where were your opportunities to do better? Answering questions like this will help you create a plan for the new year.
#12 Set SMART goals
One method of setting goals is to ensure that they are SMART. This means they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. When your goals are structured this way, it makes it much easier to attain them.
For example, if I set my goal to write a book in 2021, without any of these SMART techniques it will be much more difficult to achieve. However, if I set a goal to write a book by the end of the year but break it down like this:
- S- write a 52 chapter fiction novel by 12/31/21
- M- complete one chapter every week
- A- breaking it down into small steps makes the process much less daunting
- R- one chapter a week is a realistic goal that is relevant to the process
- T- there are two-time lines here; a weekly checkpoint and an end goal
Learning to set your goals up successfully is an important step if you want to win in 2021!
#13 Improve your follow-through
Having goals and dreams is an essential part of what makes us human. If you didn’t set any in 2020, then set some now for 2021. Most people don’t reach their goals and dreams because of the work required to follow through.
If you fell short of your goals, ask yourself why, and be honest. Did you keep your word to others and yourself? How can you make sure that you follow through this year?
#14 Figure out what you want from life
My therapist tells me all the time that when everything seems to be going wrong, it is the universe’s way of telling you that you are on the wrong path. I had let life bottleneck me into a path I didn’t want to take.
When I was young, I wanted to be a journalist. I was enrolled in college, ready to earn a mass communications degree. I ended up in management for 20 years, even getting a Master’s Degree in Management and Leadership.
Search your soul for what gives you a spark to live your life. If you are not doing what you should be, then make 2021 the year you start over!
#15 Engage in more self-care
There are many ways to engage in self-care and we can all use a little more of it. Self-care is not selfish, and it is an effective way to wipe the slate clean for 2021. Self-care helps make sure that people don’t get burnt out.
The average person deals with a lot of stress, and that is not good for our health. We cannot be good parents, employees, or people if we are sick, or dead. So, take better care of yourself this year!
#16 Create a gratitude journal
A gratitude journal is a great first step toward self-care. Gratitude journals help increase your positivity, self-esteem, and self-worth. It also helps reduce your stress level and anxiety.
Reminding yourself of all the reasons you have to be grateful will help clear away the worries of the last year, and set you up for a happy 2021.
#17 Prioritize new experiences
Focus less on accumulating more stuff this year, and instead dedicate time and resources to experiencing new things! It can be anything!
Take a dance class with your partner, go ziplining, skiing, or travel to somewhere you haven’t been. It will make life feel so much fuller and create lasting memories with those you love.
#18 Volunteer with an organization that aligns with your values
If you are looking to feel more inspired this year, one way to go about that is volunteering. Doing good things for others also makes us feel good.
Volunteer Match is a great place to start because they work to connect you with causes that inspire you.
#19 Increase your awareness
Be aware this year! Learn more about the constitution and the process of governing. Be aware of what is happening within your community, your friends, and your tribe.
Learn more about a skill set that you have, so you can hone in on a new path. Meditation, yoga, and journaling will help you be more aware of your sense of self.
#20 Worry less about someone else’s opinion
This is a hard one to learn, but it is a vital thing when it comes to wiping the slate clean. How much of that slate you have been carrying around is filled with the opinions of others? How someone else views you as a person or questions your choices will only affect you if you let it.
#21 Write a list of things not to do
Instead of a “to-do list” work on a not-to-do list! These could be anything: habits you want to break, relationship behaviors you want to stop, or work ethic issues. Improving the way we do things will be a healthy way to usher in the new year.
Go make 2021 the best year ever! Chase your dreams, improve your quality of life, and live a life of abundance and joy this year!