How to Prepare for an Unpredictable New Year
Updated: Jan 13
If 2020 has taught me anything, it's not to make too many plans because life is unpredictable. I had high hopes for 2020, but things just didn't work out. However, for me personally, 2020 has been a year of reflection and relaxation. I am grateful that I can work from home and live a quiet introvert lifestyle.
2021 is still an unpredictable year...who knows what's coming next? Is the pandemic finally going to be over? Probably not, but hopefully, things get better around the world. However, life still goes on, and we need to plan for the new year, as uncertain as it may be!
While so many things are out of our control, we can still take some clear steps towards a more organized life. If you plan, we can make life easier. I think our focus for the new year should be self-care, a cozy home, keeping our finances in check, and career success. Working from home is the new norm for many, so I'll touch on that too.
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Step 1: Write Down Your Main Goals
In the past, everyone was encouraged to make new year's resolutions. These were often too grand to be achievable and only left us feeling deflated. Think about all those times you said you were going to quit your job and start fresh, only to realize you NEED TO PAY THE MORTGAGE, so you put it off for another time.
My advice is to set small, achievable goals. 2020 has proved you can't always dream big, and that's fine! Make a list of important things you need to achieve in the next year, whether it's fitness goals, better mental health, more job-related tasks, and even small things like wardrobe declutters and getting new furniture.
Step 2: Clean Out Your Home
If you're going to have more free time around the Holidays, you should use it to clean out your home. And here I mean really do a deep clean. Especially now that Covid is such a problem, it's important to regularly disinfect and clean your home.
My advice is to use natural, non-toxic, multi-purpose cleaners because they are child and pet friendly and can clean various surfaces. Therefore, you're not filling your home with chemical fumes, and you're saving money. You really don't need 10 different cleaning products when 1 or 2 can do the job.
I recommend you start with the kitchen because you'll spend a lot of time cooking and eating with the family. Then, head to the living room next and make sure you declutter as much stuff as you can. Then don't forget to dust and vacuum. I also like to switch up the sofa cushions and pillows around the New Year to make them more exciting.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Planning in such uncertain times is a bit of an impossibility, but I suggest making short-term plans. Now is the time to take care of any outstanding bookkeeping, bills, or important family things. If you have kids, you can decide what you'll need for them for school, daycare, etc.
Then make a plan and write down some things you need to do in the near future. Think a day or two ahead, maybe even a week or month, but don't stress about the timing.
Your mindset is very important, and I recommend you stick to what you know right NOW. Don't worry about the upcoming months at this point; try to stay calm and focused on short-term plans.
The new year is also the perfect moment to start fresh. Consult your partner or family members, see what kinds of common plans and goals you have, and work out a system to make it happen.
Step 4: Learn to Unlearn
I know this sounds bizarre, but it's time to learn how to unlearn old habits and expectations and learn to embrace change. The main reason many of us are struggling is that we have set routines, and we have a certain expectation of how our life should be. When things don't go according to plan, frustration sets in.
I think we need to get ready to accept the following things because, unfortunately, many are becoming a normal part of life:
- financial uncertainty and hardship
- wearing a mask
- online shopping
- working from home
- social distancing
- cooking and eating at home
- binging shows and movies
- learning from home
But, if we keep a positive attitude in the next year, we can definitely handle it. Learn to enjoy every small thing. I used to complain about boredom all the time. Now I just put on a tv show and stop complaining because I've realized I'm safer at home than outside.
So, how can you learn new things? By reading, of course!
I always recommend reading a couple of new books on a regular basis to get those creative juices flowing and find new ideas.
Step 5: Organize Your Workspace
If you work from home, you need to organize and maybe re-organize your workspace. Make sure everything is comfortable and convenient. Working from home is challenging at times, so you need to help yourself succeed.
Here's what you should invest in to prepare for an easier work year:
Storage and Organization Bins and Boxes
Staying productive is a must! If you manage your time efficiently, you have more time for enjoyable things and more family or self-care time.
2. Get some noise-canceling headphones
If your family is also at home, it's hard to find some peace and quiet. When kids are screaming in the other room, it's easy to get distracted. Noise-canceling headphones make life much easier.
3. Simple Minimal Desk
Stick to a simple minimal work desk that's easy to clean and spacious. Those huge office desks with massive legs are aesthetically pleasing but kind of impractical. Make sure your desk has enough space for you to layout your laptop, keyboard, mouse, notebooks, etc. Leave space for a coaster and a hot coffee or tea.
4. A Comfy Office Chair
Let me tell you, a comfy office chair is the best investment you'll make. I'm suffering terribly due to back and neck pain, caused partly by uncomfortable office chairs throughout the years. I wish I realized how important good posture and comfy cushions are a lot sooner.
I really hope that you're feeling good about the upcoming year. And even if you're feeling stressed, anxious, or depressed, please know that you're not alone. I feel the same way sometimes but I find that making short-term plans helps me look forward to the next day.