Why Optimism Should Be Your New Year’s Resolution In 2021
Still reeling over 2020? Well, as the most difficult year of our lives comes to an end, it’s time you start focusing on what lies ahead in 2021. So, look beyond new year’s resolution and start taking charge of your life once again, one step at a time, to live a simpler and better life.
2020, Am I right?
If you’ve survived this year without any significant battle scars, then congratulations are in order. If you’ve survived 2020 even after being broken mentally, emotionally, physically and financially, then I tip my hat to you. 2020 was unbelievably terrible right off the bat. It felt like a never-ending horror story with each new chapter being more shocking and frightening than the last. Starting with devastating wildfires, floods and volcanic eruptions to murder hornets, desert locusts, celeb deaths to BLM riots, the list is perhaps endless. But worst of all is the COVID-19 pandemic which was declared as a global health emergency in January 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Over 1.5 million people have died from coronavirus disease worldwide. We lost our loved ones, we lost our jobs, our relationships ended and we have been through one of the worst emotional and mental struggles of our lives. No, no….I am not being a Debbie Downer. All I am trying to say is that you are still here and you are worth it. Unfortunately, most of these challenges and issues from 2020 may follow us along, at least for the first few months, as we move into 2021. Despite your best new year’s resolution, things will not magically get better.
Read also: 4 Toxic Habits To Leave Behind In 2020
2021, The year of radical change
“What makes you think 2021 will be any better?” asks lawyer Wajahat Ali in a post in The New York Times. Well, to be honest, I don’t have the answer. But I do know we are going to do our absolute best to make sure we live a better and simpler life in 2021. We have survived 2020, and we will thrive in 2021. That’s why my new year’s resolution is optimism. “Our optimism is our most ridiculous trait, and our greatest,” writes film critic Stephanie Zacharek in TIME magazine post. It can’t always be sunshine and rainbows. “Sometimes we have to get through the darkest hour just before,” the morning arrives, adds Stephanie.
No, our lives will not change simply because a new year is beginning. Our lives will change because we will do everything we need to do to live better in 2021. Of course, it will be difficult but it will be exceptionally satisfying as well. And the very first change that you need to bring about is changing your mindset and limiting beliefs. Remember, optimism is the key this year. That should be your mantra. Your new year’s resolution. The key to a better you and a better life in 2021 is self development and personal growth. And once you know how to get started, you will start to see some real changes within a short time.
Although you may have fallen a number of times, felt broken and devastated and almost gave up this year, you can still succeed in 2021 by taking the right steps.
Optimism: A new year’s resolution that matters
If you want to thrive in 2021, like I do, then focus on living intentionally. It’s about living with goals, taking deliberate actions to achieve those goals and working on self improvement every single day. It is about reminding yourself about your new year’s resolution and being optimistic even when the chips are down. That’s how we got through 2020, right? Luck doesn’t factor here. Luck comes only after determination, effort and failure.
Shift your mindset, stop looking at the negatives and started focusing on the positives. Get rid of your limiting beliefs. Don’t be afraid of challenges and failure. Fail and fail hard and then fail some more. But for failure to happen, you have to act more. You have to take more risks. You can never fail in your comfort zone. Can you? Pessimism can handicap you. Optimism can help you learn, grow and succeed.
Look at it this way:
- Success demands growth
- Growth demands learning
- Learning demands failure
- Failure demands action
- Action demands effort
- Effort demands optimism
- Optimism demands focus
- Focus demands realization
- Realization demands self-awareness
So as long as we are afraid of failure, we will keep sitting on that couch doing ‘Netflix and Chill’ and staying inside that rotting comfort zone way longer than we should have in the first place. Becoming self-aware makes you the designer of your own life. And it isn’t that hard as long as you know what you want and you’re willing to do what’s necessary.
Then do it again.
Plan & prepare for a better 2021
When you look back at 2020, it probably wasn’t a year full of achievements. It was a year of survival. But with a new beginning just around the corner, you have a brand new opportunity to start fresh, reach your goals and thrive. Remember your new year’s resolution: optimism. So if you are hell bent on making 2021 a year full of accomplishments, balance and inner peace, then I have exactly what you need. To thrive in all aspects of your life in the new year, you need to start looking at things differently and prepare action plans that will lead to exceptional outcomes.
Here are a few things you need to do as you prepare for success in 2021:
1. Understand where you stand in life
Take stock of where 2020 has left you. Where do you stand regarding the things that actually matter to you? Have you lost your job, your home, a loved one? Has your relationship ended? Has your health declined? Take a good hard look at your life and analyze your life right at this moment. How much satisfaction do you have in the following aspects of your life:
- Social Life
- Personal development
- Physical, mental & emotional health
- Goals, dreams & passions
- Fun & happiness
So? What’s the score? How well are you doing in life in your opinion? Taking some time out and evaluating your own life can help you understand where you need to put maximum effort. You can consider various other facets about your life and include things that matter most to you. As you get a clearer idea of your reality as of today, you will be better able to create an effective action plan. Whatever you do, just make sure you are honest with yourself.
2. Reflect on 2020
Recall everything and anything you can about how 2020 was for you, despite how painful the process may be. A great way to do this is to keep a journal. Note down all that you can remember, all the opportunities and challenges, achievements and setbacks, failures…anything you can remember. Focus on the minute details and write down everything without getting too involved about the date or time. Visualizing can also help you to remember valuable information. It is also a great idea to write down how each experience made you feel as it can help conjure up further details. Write down everything. You can also refer to your old emails, texts, social media posts, notebooks, calendar and any articles you might have written.
Read also: 10 Steps to Manifest Your New Year Visions
Now go through the notes and compare what you have written with what you remember. As we tend to forget things with time and subconsciously alter our memories, this process can help you realign your thoughts and your emotions. It will help you see how you’ve evolved and improved throughout the year. Moreover, this will enable you to think critically, be self aware and practice gratitude.
3. Think about what you want in 2021
What can you figure out from reflecting on 2020? What can you do better next year? Do you want to make your health better in 2021? Or do you want to be emotionally fulfilled? Do you need to focus more on your relationships or is it your career that needs more attention? It’s not about having a new year’s resolution. It’s about setting a life mission for the new year.
Once you’ve reflected on the good (if any) and bad things from 2020, you will realize that some of those things were in your control. This will make you more self-aware and have an internal locus of control. The process will enable you to understand:
- What mindset you have to develop
- What new skills you have to learn
- What habits you have to change
- Who you have to connect or disconnect with
- What attitude you have to develop
- And many more
As you realize where you need to improve and focus on, you must figure out what actions you need to take that will lead you to success. Your course of action will primarily depend on what exactly you want to achieve in 2021.
- Do you want to rebuild your career?
- Do you want to fix your relationships?
- Do you want to improve your health and be more physically active?
- Do you want to make more money?
- Dp you want to focus on personal development?
- Do you want to get married?
- Do you want to travel?
- Do you want to get a promotion?
- Do you want to be more spiritual?
It can be absolutely anything that drives you and it can be more than just one goal. It all depends on what you want. You may want to focus on one particular goal or you may want it all. In that case, assign percentages to each outcome and invest your time and efforts accordingly.
4. Have a plan, but expect anything
If 2020 has taught me anything at all, then it’s to expect absolutely anything and everything. Plans fail most of the time. That’s what I’ve realized in life. The key to success is in being flexible and adaptable. Anytime things start to veer off from your plans, make sure you adapt to the circumstances. Having said that, it is also important to have a direction which a rough plan can give you. A plan laden with effective actions and achievable milestones can be a great motivator. Your plan should include actions that you can take on a daily basis. Actions that take you forward one step every day. Make sure you are realistic and specific when defining your action plan.
Let’s face it, you can’t do 50 things in a day, even though it might be easy to put them on your calendar. Take things slow and make sure it’s doable. Set deadlines and focus on short term goals along with long term ones. You also need to prepare for delays, distractions, disappointments and failure. Learn from your failure every time and adapt accordingly. Understand that things will take time and you will need to really commit yourself to making your life better in 2021.
10 Tips to achieve more in 2021
Here are 10 really simple yet really helpful tips that will empower you to create a better life and accomplish your goals in the coming year:
1. Focus on opportunities, instead of challenges
As I said, it all starts with shifting your mindset. What you believe, you achieve. What you think, you attract. What you see, you pursue. So start looking at the possibilities around you instead of the problems. If there’s a problem in your life, and I am sure there is, look at the possibilities surrounding it. What can you gain from this challenge? What’s the silver lining? And there’s always a silver lining… even when you’ve been through 2020. Make sure you focus on the solution, the experience, the learning and growth more than the problem. Be aware that there are multiple opportunities for you to improve your life in any given situation.
2. Respect time and stop wasting it
If there’s something I have learned over the past few years, then it’s the value of time. Time once wasted, never comes back. So if you are passionate about your new year’s resolution of being optimistic and achieving your 2021 life goals, then you need to start respecting your time more. You need to invest more time into what matters and stop wasting it on things that don’t. Evaluate how you spend your time on a monthly basis and schedule your day accordingly to make the best use of the available time. Moreover, you also need to manage your time intelligently so that you can balance it between your career, family, relationships, passion and yourself.
3. Stop making excuses
You can call it genuine reasons or justifications, but that doesn’t change the fact that you were unable to put in the effort you promised yourself you will. Yes, there is a global pandemic going around. There were lockdowns, people lost their lives and loved ones, people lost their jobs, there were pay cuts, food shortages, riots and what not. I am aware of it all. But optimism helps you focus on what you CAN do despite all the problems around you. Excuses only limit your potential and your abilities.
On any given day, you will have a hundred reasons for not doing what you should. But it’s a choice. You can choose to take comfort in properly laid out reasons and justifications and remain exactly where you are in life. Or you can choose just one reason that works for you and go ahead and do it anyways despite all setbacks. Demand action from yourself. Look at the possibilities, find cracks in your excuses and reasons and exploit them to get things done and create your best life.
4. Step outside your comfort zone.
I know what the comfort zone feels like. I have been there for too long. But that’s not where you will find progress, self development, happiness or satisfaction. The only things you will find your comfort zone are shame, guilt, resentment and frustration if you stay there long enough. Success lies outside your comfort zone. Get up and step out. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It will allow you to understand what is holding you back and empower you to expand your life in 2021.
5. Learn to love yourself
How do you treat yourself? Are you as kind and compassionate with yourself when you fail as you would be with a dear friend? Do you criticize yourself more than you should? Is the negative self talk getting louder and louder? Are there any emotional barriers? How you treat yourself in life can determine how far you go. If you are constantly beating yourself up, you can’t expect yourself to unlock the greatness you have inside. Tell yourself you can. Tell yourself you must. Tell yourself you will. Negativity is a cancer of the soul.
Be mindful about what you tell yourself. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses. This will enable you to tap into your inner strength and empower you to become greater than you could ever imagine. And your new year’s resolution will help you have the determination to move in the right direction.
6. Nurture your relationships
Staying focused on your life goals for 2021 is crucial but without meaningful relationships anything you achieve will feel hollow. Remember that your objective is to create a better and more fulfilling life for yourself. And that can never happen without caring relationships with your family, friends and even coworkers. Let this new year be a wake-up call for you to reconnect with people you have unwillingly moved away from and rebuild relationships that give your life meaning. This means spending more time with your family, making time for your romantic partner despite deadlines at work, catching up with old friends and reaching out and checking in with your coworkers and business partners. This is the perfect time to nourish and nurture relationships that will not only keep you motivated and grounded, but also provide you the emotional and moral support you need.
7. Don’t be afraid of criticism
It takes a lot of strength to let yourself be criticized and judged by others. We take a great deal of effort to avoid judgment as it affects us on a profoundly personal level. Yet, no matter how hard you try people will judge you. Restraining yourself or keeping your options limited doesn’t protect you from judgment. It only limits your options for living a happier life. When you are unafraid to be judged and criticized, you can live more boldly and confidently without any restrictions.
8. Do what makes you happy
Having fun is crucial to living a better and happier life in 2021. You’ve been through a lot this year. Unless you learn to enjoy your life, anything you do will seem meaningless and exhausting. Routine mundane life can drain your energy and leave you feeling the walking dead, especially since you’ve been in quarantine and maintaining social distancing for so long. Living joyfully not only helps in developing a positive mindset but also gives you the energy to face adversity and overcome obstacles. Ask yourself what can you do in 2021 to enjoy your life more? It doesn’t have to be something grand or expensive. It can be something as simple as playing with your dog more often or something exciting like taking a solo trip. It depends on your definition of fun.
9. Stay committed to your goals
Stick to your new year’s resolution in 2021 and be an optimist despite all the problems. Living intentionally is one of the best and most effective ways to achieve your goals in 2021. The fact that you are reading this right now instead of looking at a meme on social media means that you are already on the right track. Every decision you take at this moment will help you create a better future. So be careful about making what choices you make and how it impacts your future.
10. Create a better life
If you want to live a better, happier and more satisfying life in 2021, then you need to take charge and create the life you want. Instead of procrastinating or relying on luck and miracles or expecting someone else to fix your life, step up and level up. It’s your sole responsibility to make your life better. You owe it to yourself. The circumstances will never be perfect. There will always be obstacles in your way. There will always be more than one solid reason to not do it. You will always feel tired. You will never have enough time. BUT you need to step up and start creating the life you want. You have to rise above all your excuses and legitimate reasons and get it done. And once you start creating, you will never stop.
Here’s to 2021 & beyond
With the new decade just around the corner, this is the perfect time for you to get started and build the life you want. I am pretty sure the tips and steps I have mentioned here will help you as much as it has helped me. As long as you follow your new year’s resolution and remain optimistic and have self-awareness, you will be able to stay focused and create an effective plan to achieve all your goals in 2021.
Start preparing for the next year from today itself and when January hits, you will be all ready to face the new year with the right mindset and enthusiasm. Tap into your inner strength and intentionally reach your full potential to create a better life in 2021 and beyond!
You got this.
Happy New Year!