Wow. So I know I’m not saying anything new here, but 2020 really was one heck of a year.
Personally, I don’t think it was all that bad; rather, I choose to see the blessings amongst the madness, and I truly believe that COVID-19 came along to awaken us as a collective on many different levels — which isn’t a bad thing. You can read about that here.
What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to fall pregnant in the midst of a pandemic, which in turn completely overhauled my lockdown plans for my businesses and turned them on their head. So in terms of productivity and what I achieved business-wise, it wasn’t a whole lot in 2020 — and nothing near what I had planned. But I’m quite at peace with the fact that that is perfectly okay.
What I did do on the other hand — and what I choose to celebrate — was the fact that I conceived, grew and birthed a whole human being along with everything else that comes along with that, and that is a massive achievement. So there are no regrets.
On a positive note, my experience of 2020 has fuelled me massively for a happy, healthy and productive year ahead — and although I now have three children in tow, including a newborn, I am more determined than ever to make that happen.
Here are the things I’ll be doing over the course of this next year — some of which I’ve already done and do regularly, and others that I’m still working on — to make sure that I make the most of the year ahead, productivity-wise and happiness-wise.
I truly believe that if you implement the following too, you’ll reach the end of 2021 as a happier, more grateful person rather than one who is filled with regrets.
Here’s what to do…
1. Write down your goals
To begin with, I think it is really important to take the time to physically write down a list of everything you would like to achieve over the course of the next 52 weeks.
According to a study conducted by Dr Gail Matthews at the Dominican University in California, you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. For me, consciously getting them all out of your head and out into the physical world using a real pen and a real piece of paper, is the first step in manifesting those goals and making them a reality.
I find it useful to break up your goals into different sections too, such as personal goals (whether you want to start a family, get healthier, read more…etc.) and business/career goals (where you would like to see yourself or your business by the end of the year).
“A goal that is not in writing is like cigarette smoke: It drifts away and disappears. It is vague and insubstantial. It has no force, effect, or power. But a written goal becomes something that you can see, touch, read, and modify if necessary.” — Brian Tracy.
2. Make a plan
Next, go through each goal on your list and break it down into an easy-to-manage plan — without a plan, your goal will remain just a goal written down on a piece of paper.
For example, if you want to write a book this year, make a plan of writing one chapter per week. You can then break this down even further into writing one page a day, or even a paragraph a day.
When you set yourself smaller, realistic, manageable goals, you will usually tend to go above and beyond them. This amazing TED talk will show you how even the most unrealistic goal can be achieved if you just break it down into small, manageable chunks.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
3. Get to work!
It’s time to stop the excuses!
2020 was a difficult year for our planet and what that reinforced for me was that tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. If you want something in the future, you have to work towards it today. Using the plan that you have made, get to work straight away — there is no better time than now.
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau.
4. Begin each day with a moment of mindfulness
Don’t reach for your mobile phone in the moments just after you wake up. Pause, for at least a couple of moments, and start your day the right way.
Close your eyes and focus on your breath; thank God/the Universe/whatever you believe in for this blessed day and take a moment to tell yourself that the day that lies before you is going to be wonderful.
I start my day by praising God and I say out loud “today is a good day!”. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and believe me when I say affirming the quality of your day before it’s taken place really does help your day to flow much more positively and smoothly.
“Wherever you are, be there totally.” — Eckhart Tolle.
5. Affirm your desires and visualise your dreams coming true
The Law of Attraction is real — whatever you put out there is what you will receive; whatever you believe you are, you will become. This works both positively and negatively, so always focus on the positive.
Tell yourself that you are worthy, wonderful, healthy and wealthy, or whatever it is that is important to you. Close your eyes and for at least 15 seconds a day, visualise yourself living your best life; visualise yourself as the person you desire to be. And then work towards it, every single day.
Like I said, whatever you put out there will always come back around to you. I love these affirmations by WeAreCreators and listen to them regularly while falling asleep, allowing them to seep into my subconscious psyche.
“What you think you become. What you feel you attract. What you imagine you create.” — Buddha.
6. Show gratitude
There is so much that we take for granted in our everyday lives and if 2020 showed us anything, it showed us that. When we take what we have for granted, we can sometimes lose focus and drift off course, becoming demotivated and depressed.
Meditation, prayer and even keeping a gratitude journal can keep you humble, positive, happy and focussed on all the good that surrounds you. And you’ll find that the more grateful you are, the more positivity and goodness you attract into your life.
Check out my article on the three things I write every day for a happier life — it really does work!
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” — Melody Beattie.
As they say, the more you give, the more you shall receive and there has never been a truer word said.
If you can’t give anything else, give your time, your energy and your smile to other human beings. Place yourself in the mindset of abundance, rather than scarcity, and you will find yourself naturally giving more to the people around you. There is nothing more wonderful than spreading joy.
“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.” — Robin Sharma.
8. Take time out for yourself
Take time for self-care at least once a week — in doing this, I mean taking the time to do something that brings you joy and peace.
This could be something as simple as running yourself a hot bath, going on a long walk alone, watching a movie that you love or buying yourself that thing that’s been sitting in your Amazon basket for the last three months.
Self-care is vital to how focussed and productive you will be — and with three children and still being caught amidst a global pandemic, self-care is something that I will be making a priority for my own wellbeing of mind, body and soul.
“It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” — Diane Von Furstenberg.
9. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else
In this digital age of social media where everyone is thrusting their ‘perfect’ lives in one another’s face, it can become all too easy to become envious and self-judgemental.
Forget all of that and focus on YOU. You are unique; you are on your own path and only you can do you.
I would also highly recommend using social media extremely mindfully, limiting yourself to how long you allow yourself to use it every day. I recently took a three-month social media break and it was absolutely incredible! I definitely recommend doing the same, even if it’s not for three months. Just a week away from social media can do you the absolute world of good.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” — Theodore Roosevelt.
10. Live boldly
I recently rewatched Brene Brown’s ‘The Call to Courage’ on Netflix, and it reminded me to allow myself to be vulnerable and to be courageous. To go out there and grab life with both hands. To stop standing in my own way and allow life to unfold the way that it will if I begin to live the way I want.
Take time to realise where you’re limiting yourself in your own life and then figure out how you’re going to overcome those limits — because if you really want to, you will.
There is a whole new world waiting for you beyond the borders of fear but it’s only you that can take the first step into the arena. Life is to be lived, so live boldly, fully and fearlessly. There is nothing to lose.
“Vulnerability is hard and it’s scary and it feels dangerous. But it’s not as hard, or scary or dangerous as getting to the end of our lives and having to ask ourselves: What if I would’ve shown up?” — Brene Brown.
I pray we are all able to make the changes we so desire in our lives right here and right now to build a better future not just for ourselves, but also for the world that we live in — and I hope that these simple tips are able to help you in one way or another.
Here’s to a happy, healthy and productive 2021. Make the most of it.