Living Your Best Life

3 Hacks to Help YOU Stay On Track in 2021

We’re 11 days into 2021. How’s it going? Are you still forging ahead with the goals you set for yourself? Has the day-to-day uncertainty that winter weather and COVID have presented you with railroaded your progress?

Do you realize that everything you use an an excuse to not move forward is just that, an EXCUSE?

Don’t feel alone. I’m right there with you. I make far too many excuses about why X-Y-Z isn’t getting done.

It’s time to stop. It’s time to realize that every day is a new day to get back on track.

Over the years, I’ve attended workshops that focused on setting goals, creating vision boards, choosing a guiding word, and developing long-term plans for the year. I’ve read article after article about writing New Year’s resolutions, about writing goals, and about changing your life’s trajectory. After all, I taught high school for 34 years; I should be able to apply my planning to my own personal life.

It doesn’t work that way, especially after you retire.

I plan for the year like I planned my work/parent/household life. I follow the advice I’ve been given only to fall short within weeks to months after beginning. (Hint: I fell short at home even when I was working.)

I’ve read and followed articles that insist that if I follow their advice, I will be on the correct path for success in the coming year.

Summer breaks, especially after the kids grew up and moved out, should have given me a hint of what life after a demanding full-time career would look like. I didn’t pay attention during those summer breaks. I spent the time catching up on the aspects of life that I had had to dismiss during the school year.

Hindsight and 2020’s limits about groups and gatherings have led me to re-discover three important aspects of personality.

#3. What works for others won’t necessarily work for me.

I’ve taken time to read what the organization gurus and taken time to try to implement their suggestions. I’ve read about how to be successful when working from home, but their schedule just doesn’t seem to be flexible enough for the life I live.

And it is probably the same for you: you can read all the self-help books on the shelf, but you are a unique individual that might just not fit into their molds. That’s ok. Take the portions of what works for them that actually work for you and use them. If you have to revamp their worksheets or checklists, go for it.

#2. Every day, every new week, every new month is a chance to start again. Baby steps.

Remember the song “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” from the animated Christmas special Santa Clause is Coming to Town? That’s what you have to do – take that one step forward each and every day.

Think about your goal of getting physically fit. You didn’t get out of shape overnight. 2020 did that to us; we didn’t realize at first that we were not as active as we had been.

Getting back in shape is tough. If you planned on working out yesterday, but life just got in the way; pick yourself up today and move forward. So you missed a day – don’t make it two.

#1. The need for an external “boss” is ingrained in our being. It is probably the hardest habit to break.

Growing up, your parents and your teachers taught you how to get things done and how to be organized. They expected you to help with household tasks and get your homework done. You might have even gotten an allowance based on the level of help you gave and a bonus for good grades.

Then in your teens, you got your first job. Mine was babysitting for the neighbor. They were my boss on the nights I came to babysit. Later I worked as a waitress, a pre-school gymnastics instructor, a swimming instructor, a lifeguard, and a sales clerk before I began my career as a teacher.

Without an external “boss,” you need to schedule your time in order to get projects and tasks completed. No one will be there to fire you if you don’t or promote you if you do a great job.

As you move through your day to day tasks and responsibilities,

please remember to live life,

keep things simple,

and smile at people with your eyes.

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