The year 2020 has been one of the worst in recent human history. Although there was no war, yet the world saw several thousand deaths because of a pandemic that also left economies worldwide in deep turmoil. Frustration, fear, and uncertainty have been the buzzwords of the outgoing year, and now, with just over a month remaining for 2020 to come to an end, an ever-optimistic human mind is looking forward to a better 2021.
It will be challenging to discover a single soul who is not hoping for a far better 2021 but can only wishful thinking deliver the best for us all? No. While it is time to hit the reset button for a prosperous new year, it is also equally important to plan ahead for things to fall in place in 2021.
Here, we discuss 12 steps to help you make a good plan to achieve your best in the incoming year.
Reflecting on the year that went by:
It is a failure that teaches us how to achieve success. To have a great start to the new year, we must reflect on the year that went by and learn lessons from the failures and disappointments that marked it. Human progress is made better through the lessons of experience, and comparisons of journeys year-on-year enable us to get better. When we are looking to have a great 2021 after a disappointing 2020, the same rule applies. Take two pieces of paper — one for 2020 and 2021. In the one for 2020, write down the ups and lows, the accomplishments, and lessons learned. In the one for 2021, pen your thoughts on what you want to do more and what less and eventually what you are looking to settle for.
Let the disappointments go by:
Human beings can’t change history. Instead, their strength comes from the art of coping with things that have happened in the past and learning from them. It is effortless to carry the baggage of the past into the future and ruin it. Our advice will be: Don’t allow the past to crowd your mind and get rid of anything that makes you less happy. You might have lost a dear one in Covid-19 or a role model (we lost so many of them in 2020), but do not carry the sorrows of those deaths with you into 2021. Take the best and happiest memories forward — things that will boost you in days to come and not bog you down. This positivity is something you require to have a great start to the new year — 2021.
Facing your fears, do not run away from them:
Fear is something not wanted by us, but it can help in guiding us towards perfection. Yes, the fear mechanism is something that often pulls us back ahead of a big task. We should never run away from that fear but rather face it to find ways to beat it. If anxiety tends to hold you back, you also need to treat it as a north star — a guide that helps you learn how to counter it by boosting your self-confidence. To cultivate the fear factor in-depth, make a list of outside your comfort zone, and find a lack of self-confidence while facing them. Your question to yourself in 2021 should be: How do I challenge myself in the face of fear and strive for the best?
Working on habits:
This is a critical mission to accomplish if you wish to make the new year a memorable one. Habits are reflections of our inner beliefs and the actions that we believe in. Your habits define your personality, and if some of those habits do not generate positive energy, you must take an extra step to correct yourself. Assess yourself to know which patterns you want to grow in yourself (like writing a diary every day) and those you want to get rid of (like smoking). Write down somewhere the reasons for you wanting to grow some of them and eliminating others. Once the advantages and disadvantages of certain habits become clear, you will go an extra step in reinforcing the benefits of your new habit goals. The year 2021 can be a lovely occasion to start the journey.
Have a review of the goals that you set last year:
Achieving goals is a gradual process. You must have had a set of them last year before the pandemic ruined your progress. But never lose sight of them since you spent the time to make that list achievable. This is the time to have a relook at those goals and come up with follow-up action. Not reviewing past goals and penning down new ones do not help you in your progress. If you have missed last year’s goals, then adding more goals to your mission will only leave you with a backlog, and once they start piling up, it becomes tough to clear them in the foreseeable future, if not impossible. Also, come up with a mechanism whereby you review your yearly goals progress every month. Make a SMART model of goal-seeking, i.e., goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound so that they are not poor-defined and can be achieved easily. You might have to make small adjustments, take a small step backward, etc., to achieve them. Keeping track of your yearly goal is thus so very important. Why not have a start in 2021 itself?
This is a simple yet challenging task to accomplish, and on occasion, it would have been better than the new year to start on this. Why not start from scratch to bring out your best in 2021? For that, you must think from the perspective of an honest artist. Create a vision board in which you mention some aspects of your personality to rediscover yourself afresh to help yourself identify the goals and strive for them. Come up with your preferences, things that you like and love to do — your hobbies, people you idolize and who inspire you, something you want to accomplish, etc. Even being physically healthy can be one of your defined goals for the year. Once you write down all the things that bring positivity to your mind, you start feeling inspired enough to improve your overall life. That is a big thing to achieve and allow it to begin in the new year.
Start playing a sport if you have not yet:
Because of the lockdown in the year of the pandemic, you perhaps witnessed a life restricted. It was not a great time in terms of outdoor activities, and therefore, you might have found your health condition suffering. To counter this, why not plan to begin playing a sport in the new year? Sporting activities always do wonders for our health and mind, and after a gloomy year, this could be an excellent step to take to kick off a journey towards attaining your best in 2021. Hiking, running, cycling, badminton, you name it, and start. Are you game?
Taking a pledge to improve at least one life:
A lot of souls are in distress because of the ill impacts of the outgoing year. Many have lost their jobs and are struggling to pay their bills; many poor kids struggle to get an education because of schools’ shutdown; several older adults live dead because of the pandemic’s difficulties. Considering yourself among the few fortunate ones who still are managing to lead a decent life, why not take up a mission to bring a positive change in the life of at least one soul in distress? How do you do it? Teach a poor kid or a few of them living near you every day so that their interest in getting an education is not lost. You can also adopt a pet. Such steps will help another life and bring within you a positive vibe that will enable you to accomplish bigger goals. Let the charity begin in 2021.
Reading great books:
Pick a great book to read in the new year and if you are done with it fast, pick the second. Books are as relevant as ever and instead of spending hours on social media, take up reading as one of your significant activities for leisure time. It can be fiction or related to your profession. Whatever it is, going through the pages of good books enriches your inner being, even if you do not always realize that. Whatever lessons you learn from such books will help you cover a long distance in life towards achieving quality — as an individual and a professional. Books make minds broader, and broad minds always lead others to attain success. Why not that person be you in 2021? Visiting new places is another great way to learn about life, but it might not still be a great idea as the pandemic rages on. So, we can always bank on the books to make a virtual tour of knowledge.
Planning for professional courses:
You may already be late by a year in your professional pursuits because life came to a grinding halt in 2020. To make up for that, make a move in 2021 towards a qualitative change in your professional life. Enroll in an online course that is relevant to give you a push. As long as the remote working arrangement is in place, you get to save a lot of time to utilize better, and bettering your qualifications can be one great option to bring out the best in you in 2021. By adding a professional degree to your resume, you will also make yourself a better job-seeker at a time when unemployment rates are soaring.
Understanding the world around us:
Yes, this is as relevant for you as an individual. We are not outside the society and system around us, and it is always wise to look at how things are folding out around the globe. What does the world require the most? Are global leaders doing the right things to cater to those needs? If not, where are they failing? Engage in thoughts over these issues and, if required, speak with people who have a better grip on world affairs as experts. What might look distant could be not so in today’s over-integrated world. Every big incident around us has a lesson for us to learn and can make a positive change in our own lives through them. For instance, have you given a thought to why President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election? Assess those factors and try to find out if you, as a decision-maker of your own life, are also making mistakes that your eyes could miss? This self-assessment is a remarkable way to bring out the better in you.
Pledging using social media the right way:
Social media has become such part and parcel of our lives that ignoring it is no longer possible. But incorrect use of the same could leave a negative impact on our minds. Choose to make amends in 2021. Social media takes no time to drag us into a vicious cycle that influences us badly. Take a pledge that in 2021, you will deal with social media smartly so that you only gain from it. Spend time on social media platforms that help you professionally. Reduction of unproductive time on social media will automatically do wonders in terms of improving your productivity elsewhere. Why not make the beginning in 2021?