After the year we have had, most of us will be hoping that 2021 is going to be a clean slate.

The promise of a new date on the calendar is the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. But how do you ‘new year, new me’ while we’re still in a pandemic?

Covid doesn’t really care about our calendars, and the dawn of a new year doesn’t mean the threat of the virus will disappear overnight. We could very well find ourselves back in significant restrictions, or even a national lockdown, as we move into January.

So, how do we maintain the optimism of a new year in the face of last year’s problems? January doesn’t have to be a write-off, even if we are in lockdown again. But it’s all about having the right mind-set.

Carolyne Bennett, qualified life coach, NLP practitioner and mindfulness expert, has been guiding people through life challenges for over a decade. She says her clients have been struggling with ‘Covid-fatigue’ and she expects it to peak as we head into the new year.

Thankfully, Carolyne has shared her top tips for staying motivated and positive in the new year – even if we find ourselves in yet another lockdown.

Set your goals as you would normally 


‘Whether we go into lockdown in January or not, that’s not something that’s within our control; it’s something we may have to live with for a little while longer,’ says Carolyne.

She adds that setting your goals as you normally would can give you something to strive for.

‘Keep up the motivation and start as you mean to go on – even if it feels like the UK is stuck in the same situation, it doesn’t mean you have to be,’ she says.

‘Make sure your goals are something that you genuinely want – not something you feel like you should want – and spend time considering why each goal is important to you. It’s important to remember the “why” whenever you feel your motivation starting to dwindle.’
 

Break your goals up into realistic chunks 

We are going to have to be realistic with our hopes and dreams this coming year. So ‘travelling the world’ might not be the best thing to put at the top.

Carolyne says you can still dream big for 2021, but break those big goals down to give yourself more manageable milestones.

‘Make each goal a “main goal,” and break it down into smaller sub-goals,’ she suggests.

‘This is so you don’t set yourself up for failure with unrealistic expectations and fall off the wagon, beating yourself up in the process. Celebrate the small achievements to keep yourself motivated in your pursuit of the main goal.’
 

Be flexible and open to adapting your goals 

If we have learnt anything from 2020, it is that life can change in the blink of an eye.

We have to be ready for that going in to the new year, and Carolyne says it is a good time to learn to be more flexible.

‘If things don’t work out the way you wanted them to, learn from it and try again; change tact and try another approach,’ she says.

‘Start to change how you react to these kinds of barriers; see obstacles as challenges that need to be overcome. 

‘It’s not that your goals won’t happen, it’s just that they may happen at a different time.

‘When a goal post moves, move with it. Don’t give up.’ 
 

Declutter declutter declutter 

A tidy space creates a tidy mind, and Carolyne says the new year is the perfect time to get things organised and clear out the things you don’t need anymore.

And that doesn’t only apply to clutter and mess.

‘The New Year is always a great time to declutter, this includes toxic relationships, toxic friendships, toxic employers, damaging behavioural patterns – but also where you live,’ she says.

‘A cluttered house is a cluttered mind, so your fresh start includes clearing out those cupboards you’ve been stuffing with plastic bags for the last five years, that random drawer in your living room filled with cables from the 1990s and your wardrobe full of clothes that you haven’t worn in years.’  

Stay connected to inspirational and positive material 

‘While the news keeps us informed with what’s going on, it also has the ability to cause mass hysteria and has kept many of us locked in fear throughout the pandemic,’ says Carolyne.

She says it’s important to be smart about the media you are consuming, set yourself limits, and switch off when you can.

‘Negative reports are almost like a drug that we become addicted to and we feed off each other’s fear responses, but remember, negative input generates negative output,’ she adds.

‘Feed the mind with positivity, put on feel-good music, get a gratitude journal, stay close to your goals and stay away from gossip and toxic situations.

‘2021 is all about self-growth, because where attention goes, energy flows.’

Don’t forget, it’s really important to be kind to yourself as we head into the new year.

2020 has been tough for everybody – for so many different reasons – so it’s completely understandable if you feel apprehensive about January.

Try to think about what you have achieved this year – even if it’s simply the fact that you survived.

Everything you have been through in 2020 might have made you stronger and more prepared for whatever 2021 throws at you.

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.

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