Okay, so 2020 should have been the year that everyone got their act together and started a new year, but a new decade as well. It should have been a fresh start and a year to remember.
Well, it has been quite the year to remember, that is for sure – but probably not for the reasons we would have all hoped. Coronavirus first reared its ugly head in January, although no one realized quite how serious it was going to be until February when it dawned on everyone that this was something that needed taking seriously and dealing with.
Of course, since then, COVID-19 has ruled the headlines pretty much all over the world. There has been the odd distraction – the US Presidential Election in November – but generally, for most people, 2020 will be remembered as the year of the Coronavirus.
Thankfully, the end is in sight for this terrible pandemic. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, and it will take a while for things to get back to anything resembling the normal we once knew, but news of vaccines and increasing knowledge around the illness means that hopefully, 2021 will be remembered as the year we eradicated Coronavirus.
That is great news, of course, but is that all you want 2021 to be remembered for, or do you want to be sitting there this time next year saying, ‘Wow, 2021 was an amazing year for me personally’? Well, in this article. We are going to look at a few things that you can do to make 2021 a year to remember.
“Another year over, a new one just begun.” John Lennon
Steer your career in a new direction
Perhaps 2020 and the pandemic has brought some home truths to the front of your mind. Maybe it has made you realize that you are completely unfulfilled in your current job. Maybe you are downright unhappy. Whatever the reason, make 2021 the year that you find a job that leaves you feeling fulfilled, happy, and pays enough to keep you going.
Spend some time thinking about the jobs that you would love to do and then note them down. It does not matter how crazy they seem or how unreachable they are – if you have always wanted to be a lion tamer, add it to your list. Then, go through and look at them realistically. Which ones are going to be next to impossible for you to do? Do not rule ones out because they seem a bit challenging or you are not qualified. When you have got a list of ones that are ones that could be done, even if that involves getting new qualifications, moving house, or making other big changes, you can start to make a plan to get the ones you really want,
Maybe 2021 is not the year you are going to land your dream job. However, it might be the year where you lay down the foundations or move on to the right track. Maybe you will sign up for that course, or start volunteering to get the experience that you need. Make next year the year that you make some sort of step towards the job of your dreams.
Dig yourself out of debt
No one wants to be in debt, but with the typical household in the United States carrying a whopping $137, 000 in debt in 2020, it is something that most of us are facing. Of course, this figure includes things like a mortgage which are not inherently ‘bad’ debts, but debts on credit cards, loans, finances, hire purchase options can be a heavy burden to carry.
It is harder to get out of debt than it is to get into it, and it does almost involve making some significant sacrifices and lifestyle changes. There are debt repayment and consolidation schemes that are worth taking a look into if you are struggling, debt charities who can give you professional advice and talk to your creditors on your behalf to arrange affordable payment plans, and plenty of advice online.
If you choose to deal with it by yourself, make sure you do so in a way that leaves you with enough money to live and not get into even more debt. Do not be tempted to take out even bigger loans or more credit cards to try and pay other debts off – this is the vicious cycle of debt.
Make a list of all your incomings and outgoings, and what you need to pay in debt. You will almost undoubtedly need to find ways of either earning more money, cutting down on your expenses, or a combination of both. Cut out the takeaway coffees and takeouts, take lunch with you to work instead of eating at the staff canteen. Cancel any unnecessary subscriptions and memberships. All of these things can be done relatively easily and you can use those savings to make payments off your debt. Do not forget to give your creditors a call – many are more sympathetic than you would be led to believe – and see if you can arrange an affordable payment plan with them. You never know; some may be even willing to reduce it!
Get a new hobby
As an adult, it can be a lot more difficult to take up a new hobby. We have work commitments, family commitments, financial restrictions – and on the off-chance we do have the time and money to take something up, we are often too tired! It can also be a little nerve-wracking to start a new hobby, particularly if it means meeting new people or going to new places.
However, once you have taken that first step, a new hobby can be a great way to spend your spare time. After a year of being told to stay in the house and not mix with other people as much as possible, it may feel like a relief to go out and meet new people and see new things.
Your hobby can be anything. Maybe you are sporty, like Stuart Pearce, and want to get out playing a game of soccer. Perhaps creativity and art is more your thing? Why not take up photography, wood burning, resin crafts, wax melt making, or etching? Whatever you are interested in, there is almost always a hobby to support it, and you never know, it could be something that leads to you making money in the future.
Learn something new
2021 could be the year you aim to learn something new every single day. How you do this is entirely up to you. You could, of course, go back to school or do an online course, or you could do something as simple as an ‘at home’ research project. Take something that you are interested in – an aspect of history or a country or a religious concept, maybe, and do a project based around it. Read books, watch documentaries, attend lectures and exhibitions, and listen to podcasts. All of these can give you a deeper understanding and can lead to new employment opportunities, as well as being something that enriches your life.
Volunteering can be difficult, particularly if you are working or have small children. There never seems to be enough time in the day as it is, let alone to add anything more to it. However, even if it is just a few hours a month to go and help out at a local dog shelter or serve dinner at a retirement center, or work at your local food bank make an effort. Not only are you helping out the group, but it also makes you feel pretty good!
Change your diet
When we talk about diet changes, many people’s thoughts automatically turn to weight loss and it really is not all about that. Even people who do not need to lose weight can often make some changes to their diet which will have a positive impact on all areas of their life. Cut down your consumption of red meat, foods high in salt and saturated fats, and processed foods in general and swap it for fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat (if you choose to eat meat), pulses and grains, and whole wheat. This will have an impact in all aspects – you will probably sleep better, have more energy for exercise work and relationships, and hobbies and your overall health will improve.
2020 was a pretty horrendous year across the world. Many people became ill, lost their lives, lost their jobs and livelihoods, children missed out on months of education, and we were encouraged to stay at home, and limit social contact. However, 2021 is a new year and one that we can all make memorable – for all of the right reasons!