How to Start 2021 off on the Right Foot
A mental health expert shares the best ways to prepare for the new year to make it as good as possible.
For the past 10 months, so many of us have been in survival mode. Our plans and goals have been put on hold as we navigate our new normal. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, I’m all too familiar with feeling stuck and unmotivated, and being in lockdown has exacerbated the sensation of floating aimlessly. To be honest, my mind is craving a sense of purpose and meaning.
We tend to use the winter holidays and New Year’s as opportunities to make grand declarations about the changes we’re going to make and how we’re going to be better versions of ourselves. This year there likely won’t be any parties, but that doesn’t mean 2021 should be written off as a lost cause. There might be less sparkle, but consider the opportunity that 2021 could be your most authentic new year ever.
So how, among all the chaos and uncertainty, can you make 2021 your most purposeful and meaningful year yet? Despite the instability of our current situation, we can regain some of the power COVID-19 has stolen by establishing goals that are relevant to our current reality. The key is to identify a few concrete goals and intentions that will make you feel grounded and capable in your new normal. This isn’t the time to set lofty and unachievable resolutions. It’s about being realistic, mindful and determined to upset the status quo.
Be concise. Decide what your goals are, and write them down. Make them clear and concise. Decide why these goals are important to you and how accomplishing them will change your life.
Be in the present. List all your goals in present tense rather than in the future. Being in the here and now validates your intentions and makes them achievable.
Make a realistic timeline. While goals are great, they won’t happen on their own. Have an action plan for how you will achieve your goals, and create ways of measuring or tracking your progress. Use a calendar or journalling to help document your timeline.
Commit to your plan. Determine whether your goals are in line with your priorities — what matters most in your life. Set goals that will motivate you to make a commitment because you believe in them.
(Related: 10 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy)
Get support. Consider finding someone to support you in reaching your goals. Designate a cheerleader to make sure you follow through, even when things seem impossible.
Be positive. Practice self-compassion. Acknowledge your accomplishments and be motivated by your successes — even if they’re small. Remember, it’s not quantity but quality that truly counts.
I, for one, am putting the brakes on my lethargy and embracing the opportunities a new year and a fresh start can bring. This year, don’t just make resolutions — make change!
Liz Wiener is a mental health advocate and educator and one half of Wise Women. Find out more @Wisewomencanada on Facebook.