Setting Realistic Goals For 2021

Hey y’all!

First and foremost — HAPPY NEW YEARS! We’ve finally made it, and 2020 is now nothing more than a memory. I know that realistically, the issues that plagued us (no pun intended) in 2020 don’t magically disappear just because of the calendar change, but it DOES feel nice to have a fresh start.

While I am hoping that 2021 will help bring me out the funk that 2020 left me in, I know I have to be realistic. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and setting colossally large goals for the new year without a plan on how to achieve them often leads to disappointment, or simply forgetting your goals all together. Not that you should avoid dreaming large, of course — it’s important to know what you want and go for it. However, especially when the world is so unpredictable, managing expectations can be a useful skill.

While I did work on breaking down goals last year, I set my sights high with what I wanted to achieve in 2020 — and while some of my goals still pushed me to improve myself (whether I achieved them or not), others were left incomplete by the end of 2020. Whether it was simply a little out of my reach, effected by unseen circumstances, or due directly to COVID — it doesn’t really matter, as they incomplete either way.

So, this year I’m switching it up and taking a different approach. I still want to push myself to move forward and be able to track my progress, so I’ll still be setting goals for myself. But a lofty new years resolution? Not so much.

Breaking It Down

This year, I’m taking a bit of a different approach. I’m setting a couple of “wishes” for the end of the year (things that I’d like to work towards that can be changed or aren’t set in stone). In terms of goals, I’ll be setting them monthly based on what my life looks like. In the past, I used monthly goals as more of a to-do list, but this year I’ll be using them as more of a monthly resolution. For instance, whereas in the past I would list out things such as number of blog views I wanted to achieve or Instagram posts I wanted to make in a month, but this month I’ll be setting more holistic goals, and I’ll be focusing on getting back into a regular workout/yoga schedule and meal prepping.

Letting Life Lead Me

Right now, everything is far too up in the air right now for me to ever even predict what my life may end up looking like by the end of the year. Rather than limiting myself based on my expectations a year out, I’d rather play things by ear and see where life takes me. Considering how many ways my life could go from the point I’m at right now, making set life goals for the end of the year may only end up limiting me or blinding me to new possibilities. So, I’m taking it one month at a time. While this month I’m hoping to perhaps find a job and get back into a regular routine of working out and eating, next month my goals and needs may be totally different — I’ll see when I get there.

Not Playing The Numbers Game

In the past, many of my goals were based on numbers — gaining so many new followers, achieving so many blog views, etc. However, not only does setting number-based goals start to drive you crazy with the constant counting, it isn’t very motivating in the way I need it to be. Not only does it focus on the wrong side of things, but it’s easy to ignore until you start to fall behind — and then you just end up in a cyclical game of catch-up. I’d rather set more holistic goals that help improve my life as a whole, and watch more number-based results materialize as a result.

Not Making Everything About Productivity

This year has really shown me our culture’s toxic obsession with productivity. I know this shouldn’t really be a radical concept, but really — you don’t need to be pushing yourself 24/7!!! In the midst of a global pandemic, in a time that was stressful for all of us, it seemed almost every single piece of media out there seemed to be telling us how to keep busy, start our life-changing project, fix up absolutely every little thing around our homes, and become this theoretical best version of ourselves. Even our self-care had to be cute and perfect. I won’t lie — at the beginning, I kind of fell into this trap too. Everyone else seemed to be out there being to most productive they’d ever been in their lives — I didn’t want to be the only one taking a break. However, I can pretty much guarantee that all the other bloggers and influencers who make their life seem 100% perfectly in order 24/7 are lying to you (or at least enhancing the truth). You don’t need to have it together all the time. I’m honestly experiencing some of the worst burnout I have in years from trying to be perfect during such a stressful year. So next year, no matter what 2021 sends our way, I’m allocating some of my goals to legitimate self-care, hobbies and happiness — just for the hell of it. Not everything needs to be about being productive 24/7.

Using Goals to Check In With Myself

While I want to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard in 2021, I still want to be checking in with myself to make sure that I’m on the right track. While it was a bit of a necessary break, the last new months of 2020 I kind of found my life falling apart — and it’s taken more effort to get back on track than it would have to simply maintain it. I’m hoping that in 2021, I’ll be able to turn my life around a little and get myself back on track. I’m hoping to build a routine, get ahead on my blog posts, start working out and feeling a little normal again — BEFORE I start a new job. So instead of setting goals with the aim of pushing myself, I’ll be setting goals to check in with myself and make sure that I’m keeping everything on track — no matter what ends up coming in 2021.

Happy new years, everyone! I know it can be kinda scary staring down a whole new year, especially since we really don’t know what this year will hold. I have hope that it’ll be a better year than 2020 was, but I also know that nothing much is going to change without putting in the effort. This time last year, I had a plan that was meant to push me tony limits and help me become my “absolute best self”. I thought I was being realistic — and who knows? Maybe if 2020 hadn’t turned out the way it did it may have been. But it wasn’t, and it’s caused me to reevaluate and hopefully make 2021 a better, more successful year.

So fingers crossed — 2020 was absolutely brutal, but with any luck 2021 will be our year. I’m keeping my expectations small and realistic — maybe I’m just a little jaded, but I don’t want to dream too big and end up disappointed. But hopefully with this plan, a vaccine, and a little luck, 2021 may just be my year.

Are you guys setting resolutions this year? If yes, how are you doing it? Are your goals similar to what they were in the past, or are you taking a whole new approach? Perhaps, even after reading this post, you’re feeling a little inspired to set goals monthly and forgo a resolution this year. Or maybe you’re just over it and not setting goals anymore after 2020 (which is totally fair). No matter what your plans are, drop a comment below and let me know! I’d love to hear all about your goals, and what’s changed for you in 2021. Hopefully, within luck, we’ll all end 2021 on a better note than we started it on.

Much love,

Meredith

My Stay-At-Home Lifestyle & How I’m Keeping My Life On Track!

Hey y’all!

Super long title, I know. But at this point in time, after a very turbulent start to Social Distancing, I’m FINALLY beginning to feel like I’ve got a good routine going that’s both maintainable and relaxing. I feel like I’m not alone when I say it’s been difficult to not let my life and mental health completely fall apart over the last few months — on one hand, as I’ve been laid off, I don’t exactly have a lot of responsibilities right now outside of blogging, cooking, and cleaning. On the other hand, if I let myself lie around all day, waking up and going to bed whenever I feel like it and just watching Netflix all day, it’ll be a short path to falling into a severe depressive episode and becoming, likely, entirely nocturnal.

Obviously, that’s really not ideal. But I’ve also just come off of the most stressful year of my life — I really need a break. It’s hard to find the balance — trust me, it took me up until now to feel like I was really starting to get the handle of things — but it’s starting to feel like it is possible. If you’ve still been having trouble working out how to keep your life in order lately, or have been feeling as though your mental health is declining, hopefully my little schedule here works for you. You don’t need to copy it out point for point, obviously, but maybe you’ll be able to take inspiration to apply to your own life, or make your own schedule, that helps you keep it together in the face of sitting at home with absolutely nothing to do.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my posts lately, you’ll already know that I worked at a bar pre-COVID-19, which obviously closed to the public once stay at home orders were enacted. As a FOH employee, I was laid off. This ended up being a small blessing as it gave me time and extra energy to focus on my final exams, however, once those finished up the first few days of excitement and freedom gave way to the realization that I really had nothing to do.

For the last year I’ve been so busy that I’ve been putting off loads of tasks for when I had more time — but now I have too much time, and browsing online stores for furniture to complete my apartment and completing a couple of fixes around my home surprisingly aren’t the most time-consuming tasks all of a sudden. As such, I’ve been really trying to focus my energy on this blog, my hobbies and my chores, while still allowing plenty of time to kick back and relax. While my life would quite literally fall apart if I spent all this time doing nothing, spending every waking moment doing SOMETHING isn’t the most sustainable — and it’s entirely unnecessary. I don’t know about you guys, but I really needed this break. So I’m going to take this time to enjoy it — while I need discipline, I also need to not be too hard on myself right now.

The following is my daily schedule that I’ve been following pretty strictly since the last week of April. As someone who’s always tried to keep SOME semblance of a schedule in life, I don’t think I really realized what it was like to follow a schedule so strictly — it’s the sort of thing I honestly haven’t done since high school. While it certainly took some getting used to, so far, it’s really helped me feel as normal and productive as possible lately.

8:30am: Wake Up. This is a lot earlier than I’ve woken up at regularly for years — but it’s actually pretty enjoyable. Mornings are so lovely when you’re actually up to see them, and getting up “early” makes you feel like you have a good start on the day. Overall, I feel a lot more positive when I wake up around 8:30-9:00 am lately than letting myself sleep in everyday until 10:00-11:00 (which was when I used to wake up). Even if you’re awake for the same amount of hours, you feel like you have more time when you wake up early, you feel more refreshed, and it’s been putting me in a more positive mindset to get stuff done.

8:45am: Morning Skincare. I let myself have a little time to get out of bed and face the day, and then I go about my morning skincare routine, as well as brushing my teeth and hair before I go eat breakfast. As well, before I go eat, I’m sure change out of my PJs and into some workout gear.

9:00am: Breakfast. I don’t usually meal prep breakfast foods, so it takes me a couple minutes to throw something together. However, I find the sooner I eat after I wake up, the sooner I begin to feel alert and awake.

9:30am: Yoga. This has become my favourite part of the day. Before I actually began scheduling my life, I used running as my main form of stay-at-home workouts. However, I found running to be a little daunting and since I didn’t have any solid schedule, it was pretty easy to just push working out back endlessly. However, the lack of movement in my lifestyle was kinda starting to take its toll — I really felt crappy (emotionally and physically). When I made this schedule, I decided to incorporate Adriene Mischler’s 30 Days of Yoga to my daily routine. I’ve been loving this as it’s great for beginners, is easy enough to complete every day, doesn’t require a lot of at-home materials and is something I actually look forward to. While yoga is a work out, it’s also a great way to stretch, move your body and relax too — making it seem like less of a stressful workout than running.

10:00am: Shower. Pretty self-explanatory. Depending if I have to wash my hair or not, I take whatever free time I have after this to get started on whatever activities I have planned at 1pm — or just relax a little.

12:00pm: Lunch. Also pretty self explanatory, but I figured I’d add how I try to give lunch it’s own separate space — as in, I don’t multitask while I have lunch. I just sit down and enjoy it, and then move on to the activities I want to fill my day with!

1:00pm: Activities. This can kind of be anything, but I try to settle on what I want to do the night before. Whether it’s blogging, grocery shopping, cleaning, getting my May tasks complete, doing my makeup, creating art, playing Animal Crossing — I often plan out which activities the next day will hold during my bedtime routine, and write them out so I don’t forget. I generally try to pick around 2 activities for each day, depending on what I want to do and what I need to get done.

6:00pm: Meal Prep. This only happens every four days, but an hour before dinner I plan, prep and make dinner for that night and the three nights following. I enjoy cooking, but it can be a huge task to undertake — so if I meal prep and already have a home cooked meal ready, it’ll deter me from ordering in some unhealthy or expensive take-out on a whim.

7:00pm: Dinner. Also pretty self explanatory — and once again, like lunch, I give dinner it’s own space.

8:00pm: Netflix & Chill. This one is kind of important — I set a nightly space for Netflix and relaxing. The important part being — I don’t watch TV shows or movies before 8pm. I’ve been sticking with this since before I even made this schedule, and I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful for productivity. Giving myself time to watch Netflix and chill out each night helps me balance out being active in the daytime without overworking myself. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of each day, but also keeps me from lying in bed all day binge-watching shows I don’t even care about — which makes me feel lazy and can cause me to ignore my needs, sending my mental health spiralling. As well, I’m really not a productive person at night, and I hate how crunching in activities before bed makes me feel. As such, this time is for Netflix and relaxing ONLY — and this is what helps to keep my days balanced.

11:00pm: Bedtime routine. Before I go to sleep each night, I make some tea, get ready for bed, do my skincare routine (plus any face masks I’m in the mood for), and then go over my bullet journal. I mark down my mood and all the habits I completed, and read through to get inspiration for what I should do tomorrow/what I want to get done by the end of the month. After this, I turn on a relaxing YouTube video or Audiobook, and lay down for a little bit before bed.

12:00am: Lights out. It’s bedtime!

So that’s my daily schedule! I don’t switch it up ever, not even for weekends. As weekend-days have no real meaning to me anymore so allowing myself to “stay up late” or “sleep in” would just throw off my whole schedule. However, I kind of give myself up to half-hour buffering period with the times on this schedule as it’s very hard to keep everything perfect down to the minute. As well, it wouldn’t really give me freedom to enjoy my day and the ability to complete tasks if I’m rushing to move onto the next thing. As well, there’s no rush right now — and no point in stressing myself out! The point of this schedule is to keep me on track and at peace — not cause anxiety or pressure.

Have you guys been keeping up a routine in quarantine? (I’ve been trying to avoid the work quarantine in my posts due to the negative connotation, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to rhyme — sorry!). If so, I’d love to hear about what’s been working best for you, or how your schedules differ from mine. Maybe a more elaborate schedule helps, or maybe breaking things down by week and month makes more sense to you. If you’ve been feeling like you’re floundering lately and need something to bring a little balance into your stay-at-home life, hopefully this break down of my routine left you feeling inspired! I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much having it, whether I stick to it perfectly every day or not, has helped me and my mental well-being during the last little while.

Hope you’re all staying safe out there, and have a great week!

Much love,

Meredith