As we start the new year, it’s always important to ensure we say goodbye the previous one. While 2020 may have brought new challenges and hardships that most of us have never previously faced, it also brought forth new lessons to be learned, a renewed focus the importance of looking after ourselves and those around us and a new meaning to community. Here’s how we can say goodbye to 2020.
Gratitude allows you to experience more positive emotions, remind yourself of positive experiences, it can improve your overall well being, and give you the best opportunity to serve as a champion when challenges arise. More importantly, counting your blessings opens your mindset to abundance and attracts more positive opportunities your way.
Make a list of how you showed strength and resilience in 2020. Write down everything you’ve learned in terms of skills you developed and things you learned about yourself. From homeschooling to learning all the different tricks Zoom backgrounds had to offer. To catching up with friends near and far. To your health. What were you surprisingly good at this year?
With a celebration
Consider celebrating progress for three basic reasons – focus, momentum, and because we need something to look forward to. According to a Cornell study about motivation and rewards in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: “People who got an earlier bonus [from their employer] were more motivated to pursue the activity for its own sake and even continued with the activity after the reward was removed.”
Celebrations may look different, more simple and reflective, and perhaps even more creative but not completely cancelled. Celebrations can look like a card in the mail, a treat for yourself, or perhaps in the form of a day off. We don’t know what the future holds for 2021 but we do have the power to keep hope alive and image better so celebrate, meaningfully and as often as you deserve.
Recharging For 2021
Now we've said goodbye to 2020, it's time we look to this year and the best way to get yourself ready is to recharge yourself. Make a decision that recharging is a priority and making space for it on your calendar.
What does recharging mean?
We’re conditioned to think putting ourselves first is selfish, but this leads to us constantly and almost instinctively tuning ourselves out: our inner voices, needs, and wants. Without their guidance, how will we find a path to purpose and happiness?
No planning method is sustainable if it wears you down. A lot of times we become so focused on “working” the method, we forget we’re human. There are things we can’t always plan for—like pandemics! Difficult mental health days or family emergencies. But then we end up feeling worse for veering off “the plan”.
These are enjoyable, energy-generating activities. These essential energy-generating activities include meditation, reading a book, calling a dear friend, taking care of your body, and giving yourself the space you need to recharge.
It is imperative that you restore your energy often. We think it’s just as important, if not more important, than the appointments on your agenda. As the saying goes: “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. While a cliché, it’s said for a reason. If you aren’t taking care of your health, your mind, and your body, then you might find yourself struggling to take care of your goals.
Write down on a post-it note why this practice is necessary to your wellbeing. What it would allow you to do. And ultimately, what would it allow you to have as a result? Read what you've written daily, take a picture of it and set it as a reminder on your phone. Communicating to yourself why this is important will go a long way when you have to communicate to others why you’re setting boundaries.
What allows you to feel “yourself”?
You have a unique planning personality that influences your approach to goal-setting and what you get done in a day. At Ponderlily, we have a productivity personality quiz that allows you to learn more about your personality type and to plan to be successful in your own way. That way, planning is more intuitive and your plans can play on your strengths.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way of becoming successful and we all have different ways and priorities to achieve our own goals. If you’re a morning person, you’re more likely to have low energy in the evenings so more restorative activities may be more your style. On the other hand, if you’re more productive in the evening, having activities that recharge you earlier in the day will make a positive difference in your energy levels.
Top 3 Ways To Sustainably Recharge
1. End your workday well
Let’s start with the end in mind. Think about how you want to end your workday so you know it’s done and you’re ready for the rest of your day. I find setting an alarm for the end of your workday help me to finalise that part of my day and I can start shifting my energy to my evening routine.
- Turn computer off
- Tidy your desk
- Leave one motivational thing on your desk so it's the first thing you look at in the morning.
- Set a reminder for something you’re looking forward to before the end of the day.
2. Start your day smart
You don’t need to have a morning routine that involves fresh kale juice, a 5k run, and meditation in your home sauna. Your plans and restorative practices should be realistic and sustainable. I recommend creating a workday ritual so if you skipped your morning routine or if you don’t have one yet, this is something you can do in 3-5 minutes and really sets you up for success.
- Before turning your computer on, what do you do to welcome your day?
- Set an intention for the day
- Journal for the duration of a song. A simple prompt, “how am I doing today” will do.
The above practice takes 3-5 minutes to complete and really sets the tone to your day. Read more ways you can start the morning refreshed and ready to go here.
3. Creating healthy boundaries without having to ‘say’ no
Creating boundaries is crucial to our success but it can be difficult. As an introvert, I had the hardest time saying “no”. Having said that, I know it’s a skill that I needed to acquire because as a recovering people-pleaser, I know firsthand the cost of saying yes to all the things and to all the people. Instead of thinking about what you say no to, flip the switch to determine what you say ‘yes’ to, and stick to it. Define it in terms of time and/or criteria. For example, if you receive requests for collaboration around the holidays, you can determine a cut-off date in which you say yes to such requests. Similarly, you can create a set of criteria for collaborators and partnerships you’d welcome during the year. Including an auto-responder to emphasise this is also helpful.
Use email templates if you have trouble sending challenging email. For all my non-techy folks out there: open a Google document and write three email templates in which you decline a request. For example, someone sent you a proposal that’s out of your budget? A client’s request is bordering on scope-creep? You’ve been asked to participant in a virtual event you have no bandwidth for? Having these professionally written email templates for each situation will ensure you have your very own empowering words in a template toolkit ready to be used when you need to say no. If you use Gmail and want to go a bit further, you can use the Template feature under “Settings” and upload the emails you’ve drafted as a template. That way, when you receive a request that you know you need to say ‘no’ to, you can use your template to do the job for you. Hitting ‘send’ on your first ‘no’ email may feel difficult at first. However, the more you practice, the more space you make for the opportunities you feel aligned to.
Let’s welcome 2021 with the knowledge that we’re stronger, more agile, and prepared for what’s next.