8 Simple Things to Improve your Life in 2021
The internet is brimming with ideas on how to improve your life. If you attempted them all you would literally have no time to make yourself a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. From getting 10 hours of sleep a night (who sleeps that much!?) to overhauling your diet to bird seed and lettuce and making sure to give yourself aromatherapy-induced coma at every bath time, you would be overwhelmed with the anxiety-inducing lists of self-care.
In order to keep the impractical suggestions at bay, I have decided to only recommend those few ideas that I have actually tried (and have successfully integrated into my own life) as well as those that do not require you to spend fortunes of money or hours of your life in order to realise them. In fact, you will find that some of these suggestions bring all these extra hours into your 24-hour day.
8 Simple Things to Improve your Life in 2021
1. Practice self-compassion
This one requires literally zero effort but a little self-awareness. All our lives have been ravaged by COVID-19 in 2020 whether you have been physically affected by the virus or not. Being kind to yourself and allow yourself a weekend of Netflix marathons, or binge-eating or skipping your morning run is okay. Not hating yourself the next day is key and not berating yourself with negative self-talk is essential. Like with all things, consistency in the effort you put it makes the ultimate difference. It’s what we do in the long run that makes the difference and one or two, or even three missed gym sessions will not affect your progress in the long shot. Take it easy on yourself on tough days.
2. Pick manageable goals
Goals need incremental steps for achievement. The all-or-nothing mentality that our current society puts so much value in, will likely leave you disappointed and in a worse position than you were to begin with. Pick one or two goals at a time and realistically put in the hours you need to achieve them.
Generally, when we add goals to our life, we are sacrificing other aspects and we need to be willing to sacrifice these. An example of a New Year’s goal that I’ve chosen for myself is to spend more quality time with my family – that means less screen time and more talking or even game nights.
3. Don’t sacrifice the things you love
Whether you need that daily double-shot of espresso or decompression walkies with Rufus the dog – do those things that make you happy and keep you calm. It is important to be aware when you stop doing those things, or when they don’t bring the same good feelings anymore, as this may indicate changes in mental health.
It is important to find those elements of joy and to include them in your daily life. Don’t sacrifice them but make them a priority.
4. Get some sweat on
We are all tired of hearing about the benefits of exercise, so I will not repeat them here. However, there is value in the feel-good endorphins that are released after a good sweat session. They boost your mental state by reducing pain and increasing pleasure. A hard exercise session can leave you feeling happy, confident and satisfied.
Unplugging from social media is probably one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Suddenly you find yourself with the following: infinite more time, self-reflection and focus, less stress about “all-the-bad-things” happening out there, mental clarity and peace, better sleep and less concern with what your “friends” are doing and actually living your own life. If you can’t seem to tear yourself away indefinitely, at least give yourself a tech-break for a few days – you might find your new-found mental state worth keeping around (and social media – not so much).
6. Sort out a space
There is a sort of magical therapy in using your hands to fix, clean or organize something. An almost therapeutic trance of being able to switch mentally from your daily tasks and finding something to accomplish. I make a point to, at least once every couple of months, tackle a cupboard, reorganise the items and cleanse myself of items I no longer need (and I get to donate unwanted things to a charity. Bonus!) I don’t know about you, but it sure does feel good to declutter.
7. Buy 1 Plant
Plants are Mother Nature’s natural remedy for feeling good. Plants bring a livelihood into your space. They have been shown to improve your concentration, beautify your home (or workplace) and give you an insurmountable sense of satisfaction when they unfurl a new leaf. Try one and you may be surprised by how many you own at the end of year.
8. Be picky and choosy
Setting healthy boundaries is essential to your well-being and prosperity. You don’t have to be “Yes Man”, in fact, you shouldn’t be. Boundaries ensure that your needs are met, you will find yourself being more compassionate and more assertive, less angry or resentful and have more time to do the things that bring you pleasure and joy.