New Year’s Resolutions You Need to Make for a Successful 2021
As an entrepreneur, you are a self-starter, a go-getter, and most likely, a creative spirit full of passion and drive. It is important to reflect on the year passed and evaluate what you would have done differently, your highlights, and what you hope to accomplish in the next year. Giving yourself adequate time for vision and reflection will help you to articulate your next steps for a prosperous and productive year ahead. Having clear goals is essential for making decisions in both your business and your personal life. This article outlines the top 5 New Year’s resolutions you need to make for a successful 2021.
2021 is on its way, and you may find yourself saying, “new year, new me!” And after the year we have all just experienced, let us hope, pray, and cross all of our fingers and toes that lots of things will be changing for the better in the year to come. While many of life’s challenges are out of our control (i.e., the Coronavirus Pandemic, the current state of political affairs, and the volatility of our economy), there are plenty of personal improvements that can be made to ensure you are equipped for any curveball that comes your way. If we have learned anything from 2020, it is to expect the unexpected and to be prepared for absolutely anything and everything! Always keep an emergency kit at home, keep gas in your car, food in the pantry, cash on hand, and perhaps the most bizarre of the bunch, stock up on toilet paper. (I didn’t choose the bidet life. The bidet life chose me, yo!)
Create a stable, healthy base from which to make decisions as situations arise. This means establishing the optimal starting point for your mental and physical health, your finances, and your relationships with others. Be aware of what is going on in the world around you to have the greatest opportunity to react swiftly and accordingly. Remember that being both fluid and flexible is of the utmost importance in these times. As an entrepreneur, these are likely qualities that you have already mastered, giving you an upper hand in the grand scheme of things. For more specific advice and resolutions, read on.
1. Get a Financial Grip
Our first recommended New Year’s resolution is to grab the bull by the horns when it comes to money. To do so, you need to have a clear understanding of what your finances look like. Create a spreadsheet with all of your debts, your expenses, your savings, and your projected income. Prioritize your debts by interest rates (with the highest being the most critical to pay off the soonest). It is time to set some realistic goals about which debts you will pay off in 2021. If you are in over your head, it doesn’t hurt to get in touch with lenders and ask if they will make a bargain with you. It is a little-known fact that in some cases (like with medical bills, for example), vendors are happy to get a lump sum (of any amount) than nothing at all.
So, let’s say, for instance, that you owe the hospital $10K for a trip to the Emergency Room. They may be willing to take half of that upfront than all at once and absolve the rest. None of this is guaranteed, but it doesn’t hurt to call and see what arrangements are possible.
Given the uncertainty of these unprecedented times, consider a strategy to save as much money as possible until life and the economy return to some semblance of normalcy, whatever that may look like for you and your business. If your bread and butter are not considered “essential” by regulatory standards, you will need to prepare for the worst. Even if you qualify for subsidized income during shutdowns, it is unlikely that you will be compensated for 100% of your typical revenue.
Uncomfortable Conversations About the Dirty Word: Money
Depending on where you live, unemployment (and Pandemic funds for business owners or independent contractors) may take a long time to be dispersed. In several states, claimants are still awaiting their first round of stimulus money and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds. If your business is deemed “essential,” you may still experience a slower than usual period. Now more than ever, it is time to prepare for the worst and hope for the best!
2. Know the 411 on Current Events
It is time to understand and keep track of what is going on in the world around you. The election has proven that many Americans do not understand the electoral college or voting process. It is difficult to partake in a governmental system that people do not (or will not) understand. While the public education system has appeared to fail many of us in this regard, it has never been easier to conduct independent research. We literally have the world at our fingertips with resources such as Google. Take it upon yourself to fill in your own blanks.
Beyond politics, the Pandemic-related restrictions are changing every day. They differ from county to county and state to state. As a business owner or entrepreneur, you must be sure to keep tabs on the status of the mandates and restrictions to stay within the rules and avoid fines. On top of that, maintaining a close eye on the regulatory changes will enable you to better predict what potentially lies ahead and give you some extra lead time to make plans or shift gears if needed.
3. Figure Out Which Corners Can be Cut Without Any Loss
We have all heard the age-old adage, “work smarter, not harder.” This is what I am talking about! For 2021, it is time to identify where you can make changes in your business model to maximize revenue. For example, almost every industry learned in 2020 that work can continue remotely. Is it possible to spare the money you are spending on a brick and mortar location or office? If not, is it possible to downsize your office space a bit and allow shared working spaces or partial remote staff?
Technology has allowed us to create a global network. Let’s face it, employees are great on a social level (sometimes), but there are several platforms available that enable you to hire virtual employees, independent contractors, and gig workers for a fraction of the wage that an employee would cost. Plus, you will be off the hook for paying into social security, unemployment insurance, and liability insurance.
2021 is also a time to consider which services can be cloud-based and what outsourced tasks can be done by yourself. If business is slow because of the Pandemic, take advantage of the lull and do the back-burner projects you have set aside. (This could include a website revamp, inventory, remodeling, and the like!)
4. Commit to Your Health and Wellness
In these crazy times, it is imperative to make both your mental and physical wellness a priority. Anxiety is totally normal when the world appears to be on the set of an apocalyptic thriller. After several months of wondering, worrying, and reacting to frightening situations, it is so important to let your batteries recharge. Your cortisol and adrenal receptors can only take so much. Do whatever works for you, but we highly recommend adopting a Yoga or meditation practice to mitigate the stress and tension we feel right now. Luckily, some of the world’s most outstanding teachers can also be found at your fingertips these days. There are several Yoga apps and virtual services online.
Also, after many months of limited activity, it is crucial to keep yourself in shape. More importantly, this needs to be done for the right reasons (we are talking about health and longevity), and without shaming or blaming yourself for extra weight gained during the Pandemic. It is easy to gain weight when you have essentially been allowed to eat and stay home for months on end. It is even easier to hate yourself for it. So, ease up. You are where you are with your fitness journey, and that is okay. Just put one foot in front of the other and take one step at a time to commit to a routine that will keep your blood flowing and your diet at least 80% healthy.
5. Create Healthy Boundaries
In the year 2021, make it a point to say “no,” more often. Don’t feel guilty for having boundaries. It is easy to spread yourself too thin in your career, in your relationships, and with all other obligations. Let’s face it. You are amazing! That makes you very much in high demand. The key is to focus on quality versus quantity. Be selective with your commitments and realize each one to its full potential, rather than stacking your workload to the brim and falling short. Learn how and when to delegate and when to say, “Now is not a good time for me. Can we revisit this project later in the year?” Boundaries command respect, and people who are respected are in higher demand. With the right level of gravitas and authority, you can have your cake and eat it too!