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10 Ways to Find Higher Ground in 2021

2020 was eventful. From wildfires to COVID-19, killer hornets to political turmoil. Besides the birth of my perfect (in my own biased opinion) little boy, I think we're all ready to move past 2020 to a fresh start. Many are still working remotely, out of work, or running themselves thin (cough* healthcare workers *cough). New Years resolutions may seem pointless, as the coming year is full of uncertainty of what the future holds. I'm personally moving cautiously into 2021, setting some goals, but trying to be realistic at the same time in the presence of a "new normal". So how do we keep our spirits up, progress toward our goals and find higher ground in 2021?

Here are a few ideas of manageable things you can do for a fresh start in 2021. Hear me out:

  1. A New Calendar- seems easy enough, if not a little cheesy. But a new calendar always helps my mindset in transitioning to "what's next". Whether you are a wall calendar person or a planner kinda girl (or guy), a new calendar can help you visualize your plans & next move for 2021.

  2. Clean Out Your desk- no one needs the clutter of 2020 to invade 2021. So literally clear it, sort it, toss it, and clean what was underneath. I need to do this to my desk at work so bad, so it's on my list of goals for the week. I'm one of those people that can't think straight in a cluttered environment, and my Master Procrastinator self doesn't need any help. Here, here, and here are some things to help get you organized.

  3. Make Your Bed- this was a tip that 'highly effective people' do regularly. Even if it's not perfect, at least pull it together so you don't feel like (and look like) you just rolled out of it. You'll be surprised how much better you'll feel about your accomplishments in the day- however simple this task may be. If nothing else, it's ONE thing you have control over in the day.

  4. Empty Your Inbox- get rid of virtual clutter by sorting, deleting or archiving old emails. The goal is to get to "inbox zero". It's like starting your day with a blank slate. Another habit of highly effective people, is only touching something once- meaning, that when you see/read the email, do something with it immediately (respond, sort, delete, etc). No one has time to "come back to it later", so make it a habit to only touch emails once.

  5. Upgrade Your Water Bottle- if you like the one you have, give it a thorough cleaning. If you aren't partial to the one you have, consider a new one. A fresh water bottle can be a great reminder to hydrate- the fuel for all your great ideas! Here is a bottle that not only hydrates but motivates you along the way!

  6. Redefine Your Home Office- it's time to get out of survival mode. Sure, the kitchen table worked great initially while working remotely, but how many times are you going to move all your belongings to make room for dinner? It's time to establish a space for your desk and things. Working remotely may not be permanent for some, but it certainly doesn't have to be miserable either. Consider these options to help your home office be more efficient: Option 1, Option 2, or Option 3.

  7. Grab Lunch or Dinner from a Local Restaurant (in person, curbside or even GrubHub). Don't forget local businesses are trying to stay afloat too. Set a goal to visit a new (or old fav) restaurant twice a week, every other week, or even every month. While it may not be the same as visiting a new restaurant in 2019, you still have an opportunity to eat deliciously and help out your local economy. Make it social too- link the menu on your social media page and leave a photo review of what you had. Who wouldn't mind seeing a news feed full of new food?

  8. Be A Pen Pal- My grandma is the best at this- I always love getting handwritten notes from her... such a lost art. In a time when we can't all be together, sending a card or letter to someone you're thinking of can help bridge that gap of loneliness we all feel from social distancing. Etsy is a great place to find greeting cards, whether pre-made or custom, and you're supporting a small business! And don't forget to add stamps to your next grocery order.

  9. Keep That Happy Hour/Game Night Date- just this time do it via ZOOM. While it's not the same as the real deal, at least you don't have to worry about driving home! Keep the date, because visiting with your loved ones is more important than ever. If you work from home, try to do this in a different location from where you worked all day. Game options via ZOOM: Trivia, Evil Apples (basically a free online version of Cards Against Humanity), Mad Libs, Pictionary, Never Have I Ever, Jackbox, Monopoly, Exploding Kittens, Uno, or Psych!

  10. Practice Gratitude- if nothing else, 2020 taught me to be grateful for many things I never thought I would have to live without (and I'm not talking just toilet paper either). The stresses from the past year and it's resulting impact on our routines made it really difficult to see the 'forest through the trees' at times. Purposefully identifying 5 things a day that you are grateful for can significantly improve your outlook on life. There are lots of journal options out there, but if keeping a journal seems too daunting, simply message a friend or family member with 5 things your grateful for in that moment, or write yourself a note & stick it in your car to mentally consider on your commute. Be specific (ie. I'm grateful that my son slept through the night last night.... that happens eventually, right?), not broad (ie I'm grateful for toilet paper... although 2020 really brought that into perspective). If you notice your thoughts are starting to become increasingly negative (especially after a stressful day), you might be surprised how much this helps keep you on track.

Here's to hoping 2021 is significantly better in many ways!!

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