Let’s face it, 2020 was bonkers. And if the headlines are any indication, 2021 is shaping up to be a similarly wild ride. With Coronavirus still raging and civil unrest showing no signs of abating, it’s safe to say that the “new normal” is something we all need to adjust to. Embracing the “New Year, new me'' attitude may feel futile at the moment, but taking meaningful steps to set up a plan for success can and will make all the difference.

Create Achievable Personal Goals

One of the biggest obstacles to adjusting your frame of mind at the start of the New Year is flameout. Best intentions can be thwarted by creating personal goals that are a complete 180 from habits you’ve established in the past. Focus instead on setting small, achievable goals that have a larger impact on your overall wellness.

For example, instead of trying to lose the quarantine fifteen, add a fun outdoor activity into your schedule a few times per week (like a lunchtime walk). Don’t promise yourself to get up at six every morning to take an exercise class (that you hate and will bail on after a month). Instead, focus on getting the proper amount of sleep each night. Check out this list of wellness goals for more inspiration.

Establishing a more sustainable routine focused on both mental and physical wellness will help you feel great, improve your productivity, as well as lower stress.

Expand Your Cooking Repertoire

Going out to eat is no longer the pleasure it once was. In fact, in a majority of states, there are still dining limitations. As such, 2020 was the year of Grubhub, Doordash, and UBER Eats. While the instant gratification of having mozzarella sticks and burritos delivered to your door might provide a momentary pick-me-up after a long week of WFH, it’s not beneficial for your body or wallet.

This year, embrace your inner chef! Cooking at home is better for your budget, healthier, and can also serve as a bonding experience for you and your loved ones. Make it even more exciting by choosing a new vegetable each week (preferably one foreign to your palate) and incorporating new recipes. Don’t be afraid to try versatile vegetables like zucchinis—who knew one green squash could be prepared so many ways?

Make Your Workspace an Oasis

For many, the temporary change to remote work has become permanent. To level up your productivity, focus on making a defined workspace. While having a designated office is a luxury not accessible to everyone, creating an area that’s specific to work within your home will help your brain distinguish the boundaries between your professional and personal life. Even if it’s just a corner in your bedroom—spruce up a spot to make your new WFH space.

Certain colors, such as blue and green, can improve creativity. If you can’t paint walls (renters, I’m looking at you), then try incorporating decorative pieces in these colors to subconsciously prime your brain for innovation. Add in a few plants or other items that make you happy. When you feel content where you’re working, it can make the tasks much easier and the days less tedious.

Minimize to Maximize

What started as a millennial fad turned into a popular lifestyle trend—minimalism. With all the added stress of the current world, there’s something to be said for simplifying the things that you can control.

While you don’t have to donate all your possessions to become a true minimalist, you can embrace a few tenants of this ideology to not only reduce stress but also feel more fulfilled with the surroundings you do keep. Your goal should be to examine the parts of your living space and possessions that add clutter or anxiety in place of adding value. Try the 90/90 rule: pick up an item and assess if you’ve used it in the past 90 days or will use it in the next 90 days. Focus on utility and things that bring you joy. Remember that more is not always more.

Translate this minimalist attitude into your behavior as well. For instance, in light of shedding unnecessary items, remember this when online or in-person shopping. Only purchase items that you need, you use regularly, or that make you happy.

By minimizing, you’ll free up time, space, energy, and perhaps even money.

Define a Personal Budget

No one wants to talk about money; it’s stressful and taboo. Yet taking control of your finances is akin to taking control of your life. To get started, create a budget that works for you. Research financial or budgeting apps; there are tons available, many even free. These digital tools can help you take a realistic look at your income versus expenses.

If apps aren’t your thing, write a list of your monthly financials (or use a spreadsheet). Look for unnecessary regular expenses or places where you can potentially cut back. Work towards ways that you can save money or pay off debts to create a better financial foundation for your future. Remember, the first step is understanding where your money goes!

Make 2021 a Better Year

Change is difficult; 2020 made that readily apparent. With the right mindset and a foolproof plan, you can—and will—make a successful adjustment to the “new normal.” Use the above suggestions as a jumping-off point to enjoy a more fulfilling and aligned start to the year!

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Alex John, A blogger at theasianposts.com