I think we can all say that 2020 was a hard year for us. We had to adjust our day-to-day lives while living through a world-wide pandemic. As we enter the new year (and hopefully this one will be better), we’ll want to prepare as best as we can to set ourselves up for future success.

Sometimes it can be tricky when you’re preparing for the new year because there is so much we want to do with such little time. With the help of these tips and tricks you can start off the new year right.

Reflect on the Previous Year

As you start to prepare for the new year, the first step is to reflect on the previous one. I suggest grabbing a pen and paper, and think about your:

  • Achievements – What were your greatest achievements? These can be drinking the adequate amount of water for the day or getting that huge promotion you were working for. Whatever it may be, big or small, it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come.
  • Goals – Reflect on the goals from the year before, and whether or not you completed them. It’s also helpful to ask yourself if they were realistic and identify the goals you didn’t reach and why. Based on that, you can decide on whether or not to include them when you’re preparing 2021 goals.
  • Habits – Walk through some of the habits you adapted during the year, and if you’d like to keep them in the new one. Are these habits benefiting you? If not, how can you learn from them and prevent them from reoccurring in the future?

Set Realistic Goals  

After some reflection, you’ll want to set some time aside to think through the goals you want to accomplish and how you’re going to do it.

When you’re thinking of a goal, it needs to be specific and measurable. Do you want to lose weight or gain weight, if so how much? Maybe you want to become a more avid reader, if so, decide on the number of books you want to read for the year.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the goals you set in place, you can focus on one or two goals each month (and sometimes a difficult goal might take the entire year, and that’s OK). In fact, I recommend only setting three goals so you aren’t overwhelmed and you can remain dedicated to them.

Another example could be wanting to cook a new recipe two to three times per week. You’ll want to review your calendar and see if this is doable. If it is, carve out some time whenever works best for you and dedicate that month to just cooking. You won’t feel as overwhelmed and you’ll be able to focus on that one goal.

Hold yourself Accountable

If you want to make a real change for the new year, you’ll need to be able to hold yourself accountable. This can look like doing weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ins with yourself, requesting feedback from your peers/coworkers on how they think you’re doing, and/or taking full responsibility of your actions.  This will make you a more dependable person (for yourself and others!). Most importantly, however, cut yourself some slack. We can’t predict what will happen in the future so if things go as expected you don’t need to beat yourself up over it.

As we continue through 2021 with high hopes, remember to reflect on the previous year, think through your goals and hold yourself accountable. These tips will help you be productive and goal oriented.

Bianca Kashat is the communications coordinator at the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust and is a member of PRSA Detroit/ blog committee chair.