Christine Drinan, Founder
The clock struck midnight, and just like that, we welcomed 2021. That magical turn of the calender however didn’t miraculously change anything but the date. You are the author of this year, and the possibilities are limitless. We’ve put together 8 ideas to make 2021 your best year yet.
- Write down your goals. We said goals, not resolutions. There is a big difference.
I started this informally with my first job out of college, where you had to create your year-end goals with your evaluation as part of an HR process. I came to my boss with a long list, which she pointed out was more of a to-do list, than real goals that could be achieved for the year. Each goal should be distinct and clear, and she advised realistically, 4-5 was the right number. This would allow me to refine what it is I wanted to achieve, where the definition of a goal itself is the object of your ambition or effort. With focus, you will have a greater chance of doing whatever it is you want to achieve well. With this in mind, I set up macro goals for the year with family, charitable efforts, company milestones, finances and my personal life. I’m ambitious so I always end up with 6-7 specific goals, and then within each, I create the micro plan to achieve what I want to for the year. It feels good to have a direction.
- We’re all a work in progress, so if you must make a resolution, make it a realistic one.
I look at resolutions as personal improvements and things that you want to change about yourself, versus a goal which is the object of your ambitions. So for example, a focus on health and wellness may be your goal, but your resolution could be to go to the gym, or eat better, which are tactics and habits, to achieve your greater goals. There’s no point in making a resolution you won’t keep – we all want to feel achievement, so keep it real. If you know that you don’t like to go to gyms, then maybe an hour long walk daily, or hitting your 10,000 steps daily with a Fitbit or your Apple watch is the way to go.
- Pick up something that makes you happy.
Hopefully we’ve all figured out that just because we’re in a pandemic, doesn’t mean that we have to forgo happiness. If anything this past year has taught us, is how important happiness is. Whether you have a ritual to listen to some music in the morning, learn a new instrument, pick up an Italian lesson on Duolingo, learn to make bread, or whatever you can think up, do something for yourself that makes you feel joy. You’re worth it.
4. Reconnect with friends and colleagues.
We’re in the pandemic, and it’s more intense then ever, but we’ve had a year to figure this out. It’s time to start reaching out to friends and colleagues we’ve neglected this year in our efforts to survive. Relationships will be more important than ever, and a simple email, Zoom or card to let people know you’re thinking of them speaks volumes of your character.
- Have a date night once a week.
Anyone who says that they can’t spend one night a week with their spouse for a date night, is making up excuses. Reconnect with your significant other and make it a priority. It will make everything else in your life better to have that solid foundation. That date night could be just putting the kids to bed early and watching a movie, making a special dinner or going for a long walk with a bottle of wine.
- Get healthy.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that health is everything. See your doctor for all your annual checkups, take your vitamins, get enough sleep, Vitamin D, exercise and equally, focus on emotional wellness. This has been a challenging year, and recognizing that there may be effects of COVID that are not physical symptoms, but psychological, is an important step to everyone having their best year ahead.
- Plan to get vaccinated.
Whatever your views are on vaccines, this is different. We are all responsible for the public good, and getting vaccinated from this virus that has put the world on pause is doing our part and honoring all the front-line workers who have put themselves on the line for us this past year. There is nothing political or personal belief about overrun ICUs and what will be over 500,000 people who will have died from COVID-19 in the US alone.
- Start to make plans post pandemic.
It’s easy to get caught up in this cycle of pandemic life, but as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, no matter where you are in the world, we are going to be on the other side of this, and likely very soon. Survival is what a lot of us focused on in 2020, but now it’s healthy to start figuring out where you and your family are going to be when we return to a life of minimal face masks, in-person schooling, going into the office or whatever your routine will be. If you’ve moved in reaction to the pandemic, now it’s time to figure out where you’ll live in the real world. If that means it’s your weekend house in the Hamptons, terrific. Or maybe you’ve liked Miami more and want to manage your taxes in Florida – good for you. No matter what, it will feel good not to be in limbo and to start to make plans for living your best life.
- This is the bonus idea. Make your bucket list for travel.
As the saying goes, you never know what you have until it’s gone. There has never been a time that we’ve appreciated the freedom to travel more. Whether you’re going to dip your toes in by exploring our own country – there are incredible places we learned in our own backyards – or venturing further afield, welcome back to the world, this 2021 and beyond. Next week’s issue is the 2021 Bucket List – and there are some extraordinary places ahead this year. Wishing you all the best this 2021 and beyond.