Last year is sure to go down in the history books; a year like no other where the world as we know it stopped. After cancelled holidays, strange new work environments and non-existent social engagements, we welcome this new year to reset. While last year may have been tough, looking forward to a fresh start this year with pandemic-proof goals to match will help you gain a sense of control as we head into the new year. Here are our top 7 tips for your best 2021…
Live in the now
If there’s one thing a global pandemic taught us, it’s the importance of living in the now. Lockdowns and ongoing restrictions wreaked havoc on any plans and instilled in us an appreciation of the here and now. While we’re not suggesting you abandon all forward-thinking, humans naturally spend a lot of time replaying the past or looking to the future – and missing out on what’s right in front of us. Living in the present can be so rewarding. Amongst many other things, you’ll notice you’re more open to new opportunities, less likely to feel obligations are constantly weighing you down and you’ll be more focused on the task at hand.
Be S.M.A.R.T about your goals
Whether they’re financial or personal goals, try and choose one core goal that you can have laser focus on for 2021. Just like multi-tasking, diluting your attention on multiple goals makes accomplishing them difficult. Once you’ve chosen a goal, make sure it’s a S.M.A.R.T one – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Starting with a goal that is specific makes all the difference, so instead of saying “I want to get healthy” you’d start off with something like “I want to eat more vegetables”. From here, it’s easy to put the rest of the S.M.A.R.T steps into practice. For more help on forming S.M.A.R.T goals, check out this resource.
Set financial goals
From ensuring you have a nest egg for a rainy day (or pandemic!) to bigger goals like saving for a car, first home or investment property, there’s always something we’re striving towards. The start of a new year is the ideal time to lock in these goals and create a S.M.A.R.T plan for achieving them. Financial woes are a key stress inducer for many, so working through your current finances and setting realistic objectives for 2021 will set you up for success. Moneysmart has a slew of free tools, tips, and resources to help you take control of your finances if diving straight into an Excel spreadsheet isn’t your cup of tea. If you’re looking for investment options, we promise we’re not being biased when we say property is still a sound investment. You only need to look at Australia’s rich list to see that even tech or mining moguls invest in property.
Create your new normal
With most of us being thrown into a work from home arrangement for a considerable chunk of 2020, the lines between work and home life quickly became blurred. Squeezing work into every available nook of time while juggling children, pets or partners became the norm. As a result, our ability to switch off or dedicate ourselves fully to one thing has suffered. So, this year, make establishing boundaries around your work and home life a priority – even if they are both taking place in the same four walls. Some of the key things you can do to create separation when working from home are stick to a schedule and be punctual with start times, breaks and particularly the time you clock off. Create a dedicated workspace, ideally with a door you can close – this will help you have everything you need on hand, and most importantly, create physical separation from distractions. Create a ritual – you might miss that morning coffee with co-workers before you hit the emails for the day, can you replace it with a brisk walk around the block or a coffee at home in the sunshine before starting your day? For more on what our new normal working arrangement might look like, head over to our blog here.
Prioritise your mental health
Equally important (or perhaps even more so) to establishing work parameters is scheduling in down time. Fortunately, allocating time to yourself is something that is very much in your control. Not only is it important for your mental health, but it will help you perform better in every other aspect of your life. Here are three ways to get started:
- Embrace friendships – while other commitments can dominate your diary, carving out chunks of time to connect with your friends is essential. Time with a bestie will boost your mood and science has shown that strong friendships are good for your overall health.
- Get an endorphin hit – getting your endorphins pumping is of course great for you physically, but is also proven to have amazing mental health benefits. It will boost your mood, reduce stress, and can help with anxiety and depression. Setting fitness goals are a fantastic way to keep motivated, so if there’s something you want to achieve, write it down and schedule in regular activity to get you there.
- Learn to meditate – you don’t need to sign up for a week-long meditation retreat for this, start small by simply learning to concentrate on your breathing. Get into the habit of beginning your day with five mindful breaths, focussing on the rise and fall of your belly. Meditation is proven to reduce stress and will also help you tune in to the present. Best of all, it’s completely portable!
Explore our backyard
While international travel is ruled out for the foreseeable future, we’re blessed with some epic spots on our doorstep. Take the stress and uncertainty out of planning trips abroad with some reliable domestic travel instead. If you need some inspiration, have a look at our favourite spots in your state or beyond the borders here. We think this is one resolution that we can all happily stick to!
Live your best life
Last year taught us the fragility of life, how our whole world can be turned upside down in the blink of an eye and to appreciate things we’ve previously taken for granted. While the pandemic might not be going anywhere in a hurry, this new year gives us the opportunity to reset and make sure we are prioritising the things that truly matter. So, get planning and make this year your best year yet!
Our news year’s resolution tips are a guide only and we acknowledge that every person is an individual with unique circumstances. The new year is the perfect time to take change in our personal and professional lives to the next level — shifting from limited beliefs to limitless opportunities, from success to significance. We all operate differently. We hope you find these tips helpful in setting your intentions for the year ahead, as we adapt and pivot in a COVID normal world.