5 Tips to Make 2021 Your Best Year Yet
Happy New Year! Does the ringing in of a new year fill you with joy, hope, and optimism? It’s a signal that the slate has been wiped clean, and the canvas is clear to make of the new year what you want.
After the year that we’ve all endured, we deserve this new beginning. My wish for you is that 2021 is your best year yet. Here are five tips with actions and recommended readings to help you get started today.
#1 – Begin a gratitude journal.
Studies consistently prove that expressing gratitude has many scientifically-proven benefits. Keeping a gratitude journal leads to greater happiness and satisfaction with life, less materialism, decreased stress and cellular inflammation, and overall better health and wellbeing.
What to do:
- Begin and end your day with a gratitude ritual. Use a journal or blank notebook to record three to five people, experiences, or things you’re grateful for each day. Say what you’re thankful for and why.
- Stay consistent. Studies show that the benefits of a gratitude practice increase and become more evident over time.
- 14 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science – by Kori D. Miller (2020)
- How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain – by Joshua Brown & Joel Wong (2017)
- 31 Benefits of Gratitude: The Ultimate Science-Backed Guide – by Happier Human Blog
#2 – Let go of grudges.
Coaches and clinicians work with clients to help them let go of things that no longer serve them. At the top of the list is learning to release past wounds and resentments because of the detriment they cause to physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Forgiving yourself and others leads to an improved immune system, better heart health, self-esteem, inner peace, hope, gratitude and joy.
What to do:
- Identify the wound and the person who needs to be forgiven.
- Write a letter to the person (even if that person is you), acknowledging the pain and releasing the resentment. Even if you don’t send the letter, writing it will lead to healing for you.
- Seek counseling, if you need it.
- Forgiveness: Letting Go of Grudges and Bitterness – by Mayo Clinic Staff
- Let it Go! – by Judith Sills, Ph.D., Psychology Today (2014)
#3 – Set self-concordant goals.
Ninety-two percent of people fail to achieve the goals they set. Studies show that when goals align with a person’s authentic self, intrinsic values, interests, desires, and strengths, they lead to sustained effort and long-term success. Basically, when your goals are self-concordant, you are likely to find yourself in the 8% of the people who achieve their goals.
What to do:
- For each goal you identify, evaluate how the goal aligns with who you are and what matters most to you. Guard against being influenced by external pressures. When goals are non-concordant, your likelihood of achieving them is reduced; and even if you do achieve them, they won’t bring lasting happiness and satisfaction.
- Identify and put to use your extrinsic strengths (CliftonStrengths, formerly StrengthsFinder 2.0) and intrinsic strengths (the VIA – Values in Action).
- Aligning Strengths with Goals: Creating a Self-Concordant Journey – by Linda Faucheux, National Career Development Association (2012)
- Which Way Should I Go? – by Kennon Sheldon, Society for Personality and Social Psychology (2019)
#4 – Declutter and simplify your life.
Decluttering is more than a trend. There are psycho-social benefits to creating more space and organization in your life. When you get rid of things you don’t need or use, you make room for what matters most. A few benefits include reduced anxiety and depression, improved finances, increased productivity, and more freedom. Simplifying your life is about creating white space in your life, shedding the addiction to busyness, enjoying more of what you love, and taking time for yourself.
What to do:
- For ideas, try reading or watching Marie Kondo explain her popular KonMari Method (Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix).
- Start small and work your way through the clutter. That may mean cleaning a closet or removing an outdated recurring meeting from your calendar.
- Say, “no” when you mean it. This is especially true if saying “yes” clutters your calendar with obligations that are inconsistent with your priorities. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
- 18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess – by Leo Babauta, Zen Habits
- 50 Simple Things You Need to Hear – by Brian Gardner, No Sidebar
- The Benefits of Minimalism: 7 Reasons to Declutter Your Life – by Mel Johnson, Tiny Buddha
#5 – Prioritize self-care.
We’ve all heard or read, “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” yet so many selfless people go right on taking care of everything and everyone else while neglecting themselves. It’s a matter of time before they feel depleted and resentful. Self-care helps prevent burnout and leads to overall better health and wellbeing. To make 2021 your best year yet, prioritize self-care.
What to do:
- Develop a morning and evening routine. When you create intentional rituals to start and end your day, you’re more likely to include self-care activities.
- Eat nutritious meals, exercise, hydrate, get fresh air, and make sleep a part of your self-care routine.
- Spend time with people who energize you, take up a creative outlet, and treat yourself to things and experiences that nurture you.
- Do nothing. Sometimes self-care is about creating your own retreat.
- Eat, Sleep, Move, REPEAT – by Kerri Stenson, Purposefully Balanced Coaching
- 5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life – by Elizabeth Scott, M.S., Very Well Mind (2020)
- How to Start A Self-Care Routine You’ll Follow – by Moira Lawler, Everyday Health (2020)
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