It’s still hard to believe that 2020 is finally over, isn’t it?
But here we are. Almost a month into the New Year. As is tradition, now’s a good time to engage in a bit of introspection — to reflect and set goals for both personal and professional improvement.
Provided, of course, you have the energy to do so. Don’t worry if you’re still feeling a bit burnt out from 2020. Many of us are, so don’t beat yourself up about it.
That said, if you’re looking to hit the ground running in 2021, we’ve got some valuable advice to offer in that regard.
First, Know Yourself
Think about your past achievements in both your career and your personal life. What did you find easy to accomplish, and what did you struggle with? The latter is where you want to direct your focus.
Understanding your weaknesses and flaws is at the core of self-improvement, and the first step in bettering yourself. Let’s say, for instance, you struggle with executive dysfunction. You might consider padding your deadlines or getting as much work done as possible when you feel productive.
This will allow you more time to work around mental fatigue without worrying about turning in work late.
Of course, you might also consider speaking to a mental health professional if the executive dysfunction is severe enough; never underestimate the difference treatment can make.
Second, Think About What You Want
COVID-19 changed the world, and in most cases, it wasn’t for the better. People are struggling to make ends meet, and businesses are closing their doors. People are scared, stressed, and uncertain when it will end.
If you’re among those who’ve been laid off or seen their business fail, don’t panic. This could, given the right circumstances, represent a new opportunity for you. Ask yourself what you want to do with your life.
Once you’ve ensured you’ll be able to keep yourself comfortable and secure, pursue that dream.
Third, Be Realistic
You don’t need to be a productivity powerhouse. You don’t need to charge headlong into your dreams, especially if you’re still trying to keep food on the table. Know your limitations, and learn to recognize when you’re taking on too much work.
It’s far too easy to set your expectations too high and give up when you fail.
Where goals are concerned, don’t overcomplicate things. Figure out what you have the time and energy to achieve right now, and play to your strengths, tracking your progress as you do. And know that you don’t need to pursue every goal right now.
Do what you can for now, and that will be enough — you can always set long-term goals for the future, and pursue them as soon as you’re able.
Fourth, Don’t Overdo It at Work
Last year showed us, in stark detail, the fragility of our way of life. It showed us how much we took for granted, and caused many of us to rethink our priorities. If you haven’t done so already, you should do the same.
Ask yourself what matters to you.
Do you want to pursue a well-deserved raise or promotion? Do you want to spend more time with your family? Do you want to pursue a new hobby?
Make sure that whatever your goals, you don’t veer too far to either end of the spectrum where work-life balance is concerned. You don’t want to be pouring all your energy into work to the extent that you’ve nothing left for the people you care about. But you also don’t want to ignore work altogether.
The key is striking the right balance.
Finally, Try To Remain Positive
It’s easy to dive into the New Year with momentum…most of the time. This year might be a bit of an exception to the rule. Either way, it’s easy to set and pursue goals in the short term.
Long term, though? Not so much. As the grind continues, deadlines grow tighter, and life grows more stressful, it’s easy to get discouraged and lose your positive energy.
Consider setting small goals and rewarding yourself when you meet them. Learn to laugh at the sheer absurdity of the world. And take time every day to consider what and who you’re thankful for.
We live in unprecedented times. Most of us are struggling right now. Remember that.
Be honest with yourself, practice a bit of kindness, and show sincere gratitude for the good things in your life. You can and will get through this. And we’re all in your corner, cheering for you to do so.