How to Make the Best of Your 2021


2020 was a difficult year for all of us.

We have all been through extremely stressful times and I'm sure many of us can say that 2020 has been a challenge to get through.

Luckily, 2021 is giving us a fresh start. A chance to transform into our best selves!

Here, you will find my 8 simple steps to achieving all of your dreams during 2021.

1. Decide Your Priorities

Everyone has different priorities. Some may focus on health and wellness, whereas others may focus on academics and intelligence. It is important to decide what you want to focus on in 2021.

To do this, consider what matters to you, and what you want to improve upon. Whether that be spending more time with family, focusing more in school, eating healthier - whatever you decide, it is important to choose new priorities for the year.

I would advise you pick one main focus, and then select a few other smaller targets that are a bit easier to attain.

For example, I might want to focus on getting better grades, meditating every day, and decreasing my time on TikTok (I can't be alone on this truly is addicting). Focusing on better grades will take up much more time and effort than adding a few minutes of meditation, so I should set my grades as my main priority, and meditation and decreasing TikTok time as my minor components.

2. Set Goals

Once you have your priorities, it is time to formally create goals. The easiest way to do this is by writing down all of your priorities, and then deciding which ones are the most time-consuming, and which ones take the most effort.

From this, pick your main goal and other minor goals you want to achieve. Using a notebook is usually the easiest way to do this, as you can continue with your selected goals on the following pages.

3. Get Realistic

After selecting your goals, take time to reflect on whether these goals are realistic enough. You know yourself better than anyone else, so decide if these goals are actually achievable.

Yes, it is important to challenge yourself, however it just as important not to overwhelm yourself with challenges that are too difficult. If you feel your goal is too challenging, there's nothing wrong with altering it to fit your lifestyle better.

4. Set a Timeframe

Once you have your goals, it is important to map them out. Some goals may require lots of time, whereas others might take just a couple of minutes each day.

Buying a calendar or using the calendar app on your phone can be extremely useful to organize your time. Be sure not to overwhelm yourself by giving yourself too much to do in a given day. If you assign yourself too much to do, you may burnout or give up, but if you split your work up evenly, you are much more likely to stay consistent.

This also gives you the chance to decide when you plan to achieve your goals. For example, do you hope to finish your goal in 1 month, 6 months, or maybe the whole year?

The timeframes you set can make or break your success, so be sure to put a lot of time and thought into this process.

5. Stay Disciplined

Most people rely on motivation when trying to complete goals, however motivation fades after a long time.

So, it is important to stay disciplined with yourself when achieving goals.

One way I stay disciplined is imagining the end result. Whether it be before a workout or before homework — how will I feel after I complete it? Most of the time, I know I will be relieved once the given task is complete, so I force myself to chase that feeling of relief.

6. Create Constant Reminders

Along with the aspect of staying disciplined, it is also important to set reminders for yourself to complete your goals.

Using the reminders app on your phone, placing sticky notes around your house, or writing your task in your planner all are prime examples of how to constantly give yourself reminders to complete something.

7. Allow for breaks

Yes, discipline is a key aspect of working towards a goal, however it is important to give yourself a break from time to time in order to prevent burnout.

That said, it is important to reflect on why you feel this break is necessary. Are you overwhelming yourself with too much to do? Are you putting too much pressure on yourself, or have you simply lost interest in your goal? If circumstances change, it is important to reconsider your goals to ensure they still align with the wider picture in your life.

8. My quick tips

To close, I am going to leave you with 5 of my quick, easy tips to improve your 2021!

1. Re-evaluate who you are following on social media.

If someone's social media account makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them. You should only follow people who enlighten you and make you a better person.

2. Try at least one new hobby.

Pick a random hobby and start it without any preconceptions. I thought I hated reading, but after reading a book last year, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Even if you don't end up liking the hobby, at least you tried it.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others (easier said than done, I know).

When you stop comparing yourself to others, you will find more love for yourself. It is crucial to understand that someone else's beauty or accomplishments don't take away from your own.

4. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, both academically and socially.

This is especially significant during the pandemic, when a lot of us teens are missing out on lots of social events. Don't worry, plenty of people feel like they are missing out - so remember: you are not the only one. Also, understand that it is okay to make mistakes in school; keep working hard, and everything will work itself out.

5. Learn to love spending time with yourself.

Before the pandemic, I never liked to be home...I always wanted to be out with friends. Yet, after we began quarantine, I quickly realized how important it was to not rely on other people to have fun. Now, I can spend days, even weeks, at home without becoming bored because I learned how to occupy and enjoy myself.

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Molly Kister

Molly is currently a junior in high school in Wisconsin. When not writing, you can find Molly reading, playing volleyball, or watching The Office. When Molly is older, she hopes to have a career in journalism or business.