To say the first six months of 2021 have been challenging would be a pretty big understatement. Things haven’t exactly gone as we’d hoped they would back in December 2020, so if you’ve found it hard to keep up with your personal goals and ambitions for the year so far, you’re not alone.
However, just because the first half of the year hasn’t gone exactly to plan, doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty of time to make the most of 2021. Whether you want to make a new career move, prioritise your mental health and wellbeing or learn a new skill or hobby, now’s as good a time as any to make that commitment and get started.
To help you along the way, we reached out to Rebecca Kimberley, an award-winning psychological life coach and psychotherapist, to ask for her top tips for making the most of 2021, even if you’re feeling deflated after the first six months of the year. Here’s what she had to say.
Don’t fall into the trap of self-criticism
The first six months of 2021 have been a challenge for everybody, so don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t been able to do all the things you’d hoped.
“This year has been a strange one for us all in different ways, so if you feel like all you’ve done is survive, that’s OK,” Kimberley says. “There’s a lot of pressure to constantly show up as our best selves, which can leave you crippled with guilt, striving for perfectionism and with low self-worth.”
She continues: “Remember, your worth is determined by who you are, not what you do. You are worth more than the goals you haven’t achieved. Unsubscribe from the pressure of having to have ‘it’ figured out by the end of the year or all of the time.
“Give yourself permission to reflect on the challenges you’ve experienced, without judging yourself negatively for doing so.”
Reconnect with yourself
At the heart of everything you do is your relationship with yourself, so taking time to build this connection is important.
“Whenever you are planning a goal, it is important to keep yourself at the centre of the process,” Kimberley explains. “Take time to get to know your true, authentic self. How can you really know what you want to achieve if you’re not sure of who you really are?
“When you truly know yourself (ie your values, strengths and challenges), then you can say yes to what you want and no to everything else. This can help you be intentional with how you want to move forward.”
Be clear on what you want
Setting a goal is more than just thinking about what you want – you’ll need to get down to the details if you want to make sure you’ll get where you want to go.
“An effective goal is one that is set intentionally and written down,” Kimberley explains. “Be clear and specific on what you want to do, be or have, why you want it, how you are going to get it, when you want to achieve it by and how you will know it has been achieved.
“Goals can be easily forgotten, so write it down or record it in a way that will remind you of what you are intentionally moving towards.”
Let go of the things, people and habits that don’t serve you
As we go through life, it’s easy to get weighed down by everything we pick up along the way. Now’s a good time to reflect on this.
“It’s time to let go of the unnecessary baggage,” Kimberley says. “Be honest with yourself about the things, people or habits that no longer need to come with you on your journey as you head through the final half of the year.”
She continues: “Ask yourself: what do you need to let go of from the last six months in order to move forward? What is no longer serving you or working for you? Devise an action plan specifically outlining how you will stop, get rid of or reduce these things that are getting in your way.”
You’ve survived the first six months of 2021 – don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for everything you’ve achieved.
“Often, we forget to take stock of how far we have come and just plough on through with our daily lives without checking in with ourselves,” Kimberley says. “Take some time to consider what you’ve achieved so far and congratulate yourself. Each time you make progress towards your new goals and intentions, congratulate yourself.”