It’s an understatement for many of us at this point to say that 2020 was a difficult year. From sicknesses, to layoffs, to stay-at-home orders, and a bevy of other challenges, you deserve a pat on the back just for making it this far.
As we wrap up this strenuous year and look eagerly towards a new one, many of us are setting goals and making plans to achieve them. With the wariness of 2020 behind us, it can feel daunting to hope for big wins in a new year. But the secret to accomplishing your grandest plans lies in the smallest details — the actions you practice every single day. Here’s a few small steps and tips you can practice each day to help you realize your resolutions in 2021.
- Bookend your days with consistent routines
We say it a lot, but it bears repeating! Routine is the secret to success. If you start your days with a morning routine and end them with a bedtime routine, your body and mind will find peace in your daily habits and can channel productivity out of that peace. As humans, we are creatures of habit. As we begin the year, find morning and bedtime routines that work for you and focus on maintaining them throughout the year.
- Practice accountability by involving others
If the past year taught us anything, it’s how crucial our social relationships really are. When we’re in our homes everyday, we rely more than ever on our communications and bonds with friends and family to keep us going. As you work towards goals in 2021, whether they’re goals related to health, spirituality, or just reading more books, check in with a trusted friend or sibling to stay accountable towards your progress. When we involve others, we feel more responsible towards them and we feel more motivation as well.
- Keep track of your successes in a daily journal
A gratitude journal can be a powerful way to improve your mentality and shift your energy towards positivity. When you’re trying to achieve big life goals, keeping a journal where you document your victories—however big or small—can also help you maintain positivity and motivation. Whether you write in your journal every morning or at night before bed, incorporate a journaling habit into your daily routine. It can just involve writing a couple sentences! Don’t worry about making them sound elegant and beautiful. This is just for you. Writing down your successes and victories will help make your progress feel more tangible, and you’ll feel more momentum to keep going.
- Identify your boundaries and triggers, and eliminate them ahead of time
Spend some time reflecting on what your goals are, and what’s stopped you from achieving them in the past. For example, if your goal is to get better sleep next year, you might consider the factors that have negatively affected your sleep in the past year. You might be able to identify a few triggers, like the fact that you look at your phone before bed or that there’s too much light coming through your windows at night. To help achieve your goal, eliminate these triggers first. You might try putting your phone in a separate room ahead of bedtime, or purchasing room-darkening curtains. Similarly, if your goal is to stop working so many late nights that affect your relationship with your family, you might decide to set a boundary first. You could talk to your coworkers about a “sign-off time” that you are unavailable after on weeknights, and hold yourself to it.
- Practice patience with yourself when you make mistakes
Shame is not an efficient way to reward others, and it’s definitely not an efficient way to motivate yourself. If you slip up on the way to achieving your goal, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, practice patience with yourself. Remind yourself that you are working hard towards a goal, but that you are also worthy of generous time. You aren’t on anyone’s schedule but your own. If you feel downtrodden, go back and read the entries in your success journal and remind yourself of all the progress you’ve made.