The New Year offers you an opportunity to start over, as well as a chance to build on the foundation that you’ve been working on this past year. While the success rate for people sticking to their New Year’s resolutions isn’t very good – studies have shown that less than 25% of people actually stay committed to their resolutions after a month, and only 8% accomplish what they set out to do – that shouldn’t discourage you from setting goals.
Rather than creating broad or vague resolutions that are difficult to attain, focus on implementing new and effective systems and habits that will streamline your life in the New Year. Sure, it may be somewhat time intensive at first to put new systems into place, but in the long run you’ll be glad that you did. Here are four different systems or routines that will help you stay on track in 2021 and beyond.
Creating A Morning Routine
Waking up early, getting moving, recharging your motivation, and working on your day’s toughest tasks early in the day when your mental energy is still at its highest are the “4 Morning Habits of Successful People” according to Inc.
By waking up early, you’ll be able to properly prepare for your day and not feel stressed, worrying about all the things you need to do as you’re running out the door in order to make it to work on time. Rising early will give you time to think through what you need to accomplish for the day in a calm and relaxed fashion. One of the ways to set the tone for a calm, mindful, and productive day is to start your day with a morning meditation.
Once you’re up, it’s a good idea to get your body moving. This can mean working out at the gym before work, doing High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), or even just taking a walk around your neighborhood before starting your day. It’s also important to use your mornings to fuel your motivation to keep you going. This can mean different things to different people, but some may choose to listen to podcasts, go on social media, or read inspirational stories or posts before starting their day. And once your day gets going, tackle the toughest tasks and projects on your to-do list first, while your energy levels are at their peak.
As HuffPost says, “A morning routine sets the tone for the whole day, and if you do each day right, you’ll do life right.”
“Equal parts day planner, diary, and written meditation, bullet journaling turns the chaos of coordinating your life into a streamlined system that helps you be more productive and reach your personal and professional goals,” according to Good Housekeeping.
You can customize your bullet journal by creating sections or ‘collections’ where you can write down your daily tasks, notes, and long-term wants. Bullet journals are designed to help you live a more productive and meaningful life, encouraging you to examine how your goals, tasks, and responsibilities make you feel. By using symbols that are easy for you to understand, and ‘rapid logging’ – trading full sentences for phrases or keywords – you’ll be able to save time as you log your information.
The collections for your bullet journal should start with an index at the front of your notebook, a future log, a monthly log, and a daily log. The index will serve as your table of contents and also as a symbol key, which you’ll update as you go. Then your future log will have important long-term dates such as birthdays, travel plans, and major holidays, your monthly log will help you stay on track with your goals for the month, and your daily log is there to serve as your day-to-day to-do list.
The average American couple spends 132 hours a year deciding what to eat. That’s about 5 ½ days each year or 2 ½ hours each week spent on food decisions. Rather than asking your partner, “What do you want to eat?” on a daily basis, take one night each week to come up with a weekly meal plan.
Once you’re aware of your meals for the week, plan accordingly. Make sure that you have all of the necessary ingredients that you need, or order them, and then start meal prepping.
“Meal prep is like creating your very own line of microwaveable meals tailored to your exact preferences,” says Gabrielle Fundaro, Ph.D., exercise science professor, certified sports nutritionist, and Renaissance Periodization coach, in an Oxygen article. “Many people like to pack all their breakfasts for busy mornings or lunches to eat at the office. Or you can also choose which meals you’d like to prep if you don’t want to take on every meal for the week.” By using one day or night to make your meals, you’ll save yourself valuable time during the week, as well as the frustration of trying to navigate what’s for dinner with your significant other. It’ll also help you eat healthier since the majority of your meals will have already been prepared with healthy eating in mind.
Automating Your Finances
When it comes to your overall well-being, it’s important to factor in your financial well-being, as well. Automating your finances will help you do just that by sticking to your budget and making it possible to achieve your financial goals.
“When you automate your finances, you are setting up your bill payments and savings accounts to be paid every month automatically; you’re basically putting your money on autopilot,” according to Clever Girl Finance. “By automating your finances, you can ensure you’re paying your bills on time and avoid costly late fees. Once set up, all you have to do is adjust things from time to time to make sure everything is going according to plan.”
Automating your finances requires you to do the necessary work and take the appropriate actions ahead of time, but it will certainly pay off in the long run. “The key is to build systems and processes that limit undesirable behaviors in your present self and promote desirable behaviors that help your future self,” according to Forbes. “In economics, this is called precommitment.”