5 Strategies to Kick-Start Your New Year

5 Strategies to kick-start your new year of 2021.
5 Strategies to Kick-Start Your New Year. (Source: Unsplash)

Does this sound familiar? It’s the 1st of January, moments later, it’s the middle of July, and you realize that half the year has flown right before your eyes. You find yourself wondering if you’ve done anything in the last six months and where has the time gone? If this sounds like your life, you owe it to yourself to keep reading. It’s crucial to start your new year with intention so that doesn’t happen to you, again. 

Here are five strategies to help you gear up for another crazy year ahead.

  1. Take the time to reflect
  2. Declutter your life
  3. Write down any unfinished goals
  4. Write down new goals
  5. Plan for the future

 

1. Take the time to reflect.

When was the last time you had a moment to sit back on all that you’ve experienced in the year? Most of us are too busy and rarely have the time to take a breather and introspect. It’s said that people who don’t take the time to self-reflect are often living without direction and on autopilot. Self-reflection has countless benefits. It gives you perspective, a space for forgiveness, and a space to learn from your mistakes. It also helps to keep you grounded and can direct you to be a better version of yourself. So before you go all out in your new year, be sure to slow down

Slow down and take some time to self-reflect on your past, and get prepared for a new year.
Slow down and self-reflect. (Source: Designmaker)

Grab a paper and a pen, write it down on a note or on your phone. Think of it as your own secret space and be vulnerable with yourself in the pages (or the notes app on your phone).

To help you reflect on your year, I’ve come up with some prompts to get you started:

  • What are some of the biggest challenges you faced in the year?
  • What are some of your proudest moments of the year?
  • List down 3 things you are grateful for.
  • Describe the type of person you were this year.
  • What was a typical daily routine like for you this year?
  • Did you feel like you achieved something?
  • Do you feel like you could’ve done something better?

Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can choose to dive deeper and confront yourself with the nitty-gritty questions you don’t really want an answer to. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget to take a moment for ourselves and make the time for some deep self-reflection. Having a clear mindset is more important than you might think. For some, self-reflection and introspection could be a natural process. For others, this might be completely foreign and difficult but it really does help to assess what kind of year you have lived, and this process will help you in the new year.

2. Declutter your life.

Decluttering can feel overwhelming, but creating a peaceful and organized space can significantly improve your overall mood. It’s time to remove what doesn’t serve a purpose in your life. I think a trap that many of us fall into is the subconscious thought that something we want to throw out now could serve a purpose in the future, or even feel a sense of comfort by holding onto things from the past.

But I might need it one day..

Realistically, how often do you actually find yourself needing that thing you want to keep so badly? More often than not, that item just turns into years of forgotten storage. Was it worth holding on to? This is not to say that you should toss everything out. Look for people who might want it or find it valuable, and give it away! You can also sell it for some extra cash. It’s good to be resourceful but there’s also a fine line between resourcefulness and just having a hoarding problem. Marie Kondo might be frowning at you all the way from Japan!

A good headspace is equally as important as a clean physical space, start a new year with good health.
Declutter for a good headspace and physical space. (Source: Designmaker)

Of course, this isn’t limited to only old clothes, scrap paper, or random cables laying around your house. This extends to people who don’t add anything valuable or strip the joy out of your life, and yet you find yourself still hanging around their presence. Having a clear mind and a clean physical space that lifts you up will do more wonders than you think.

Before you begin your mission of decluttering. First, remove the holiday clutter. Unless you’re already an organized person (or just not a festive person in general), chances are you have heaps of holiday decorations scattered around from December. You’ll want to remove that, keep it in a box dedicated to festive props. Then, move on to decluttering your phone. This includes uninstalling random apps, deleting photos (or storing them on the cloud), clearing notes and unimportant messages. 

Decluttering your phone.
Decluttering your phone. (Source: Designmaker)

The key is to start with smaller projects, followed by the bigger ones. It’s your responsibility to filter out and choose what is most valuable in your life because it really contributes to living a life you truly want.

3. Write down any unfinished goals.

First of all, it is completely okay to end the year and realize that you haven’t accomplished all that you’ve set out to do at the beginning of the year. Life is unpredictable and we get caught up in the chaos. Now is not the time to be discouraged and unmotivated.

If you’ve sat yourself down to self-reflect, you might have asked yourself questions on why you completely forgot about your new year goals.

People who don't write down their goals are less likely to achieve them, so it's time to recognise your new year goals.
Write down unfinished goals. (Source: Designmaker)

It could be a few reasons:

  • It wasn’t as important as you thought it would be.
  • You had too many goals and too little focus.
  • You simply forgot about it. Out of sight, out of mind.
  • You didn’t know where to start.
  • You are a chronic procrastinator.

It’s time to recognize them and fine-tune your goals so that they fit in better with your current life. Sometimes we grow and we change our minds. We’re no longer interested in certain goals anymore. So pick out the ones you still want to go after and throw the other maybe goals away.

4. Write down your new goals.

In addition to your unfinished goals, it’s time for some new goals (and work hard to achieve them this year, yay!). It’s proven that people who don’t bother to write down their goals are less likely to achieve them. Writing down your goals helps your mind visualize them and turns them into something more than an abstract thought. Writing down your goals is highly beneficial as it helps you to stay motivated, stay focused, and gives you direction

Perhaps this year your goal is to finally start that solopreneur life you’ve always wanted or to start a marketing agency. See if you have what it takes and look for other resources on how you can begin that journey. For example, to start a business you have to have a viable service or a product, a logo, etc. You also have to conduct market research to see if your business is in demand. 

Finally, write down your goals and the potential steps you have to take. You can also check out this post on how to start your own Instagram business from scratch if starting a small Instagram business is your thing! 

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." by C.S. Lewis
Quoted from C.S. Lewis. (Source: Designmaker)

Another great way to list down goals is to use the SMART method. Marketers use it all the time as it really narrows down what it is you want to achieve and how to achieve it. If you don’t have specific, measurable goals, it’s much harder to realize them!

SMART Goals:

  • Specific. Clear and well-defined.
  • Measurable. Make sure that you can track your progress and goals. 
  • Attainable. It should be something challenging but not impossible.
  • Realistic. Be honest with your current capabilities.
  • Timely. Set a strict deadline.

Here’s an idea of what those goals might look like:

  1. By the end of April, my website will have an increase of 300 email subscribers per month.
  2. I want to be able to hold a conversation in Russian for 30 minutes by June.
  3. This year, I want to earn an extra $15k through my graphic designing side gig.

With that said, don’t be afraid to take risks in life. Try out new things you’ve always wanted, but be sure to always have a plan to make it happen.

5. Plan for the future.

Now all there’s left is action. You might’ve heard of the saying that a goal without a plan is just a wish and it cannot be any farther from the truth. You have to plan for the future. It might sound scary and overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. This year is no longer the year where you forget your new year goals, again. If you’re someone who needs to learn organizational skills, use a calendar or a planner to plan your days and set deadlines

Print it out, stick it on your walls or your desk, keep it on your phone. Whatever that helps you stay organized and on top of your goals. Just remember to stick to it! This can help you evaluate how close you are to reaching your goals. For example, if your goal is to earn an extra $15k through your graphic designing side gig, You should aim to earn $7.5k by the end of June. By listing this deadline in the calendar, it would create a sense of urgency and motivate you to work harder.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. (Source: Designmaker)

Another method that I personally use to help me plan my future is to work backward. If my goal is to get a job as a social media executive, I should aim to learn some basic social media tools, or even learn some graphic designing skills and color theory to create a beautiful, curated social media profile!

Give yourself little tasks and cross them off as you achieve them. It also really gets you to stay on track with your daily goals and tasks and teaches you to manage your time properly. After all, you can’t achieve your goals if you feel like you are running out of time, and words without action mean nothing, right? 

 

As a final note…

Stay consistent, be persistent. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to survive, thrive, and be the best version of ourselves. So, let’s have a great year ahead!

Let's get better in the new year of 2021.
To a better 2021. (Source: Designmaker)

 

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About the author

Ashley Yeong is the Product Marketing Intern at Designs.ai. She's currently pursuing her Global Studies and Journalism degree at Monash University. She also writes on topics of sustainability and the human element. In her free time, you can find her hiking with her dog, exploring the underwater, attempting yoga and dabbling in design.