There Is Still Time to End the Year Strong!

Christmas is right around the corner, and your To-Do list seems to have taken on a life of its own. Worse yet, 2022 is lurking just over the horizon. 

In previous decades, we welcomed in the new year with fanfare and joy. We danced and cheered, filled with high hopes because even if it wasn’t perfect, what was the worst that could happen? (Cue 2020.)

Now, we hide behind the curtains of 2021—none of us brave enough to look 2022 in the eyes. We just don’t trust what it will bring with it, and let’s be honest, it is called 2020-too!

However, the good news is you can still end the year strong. 

I hear you gasp and say, What? There are only seven days left! Don’t think of it as only seven days; think of it as there are still seven days. 

I’ve listed six ideas. These are not New Year’s Resolutions; consider them more as manageable actions you can take to sign off on 2021 feeling strong. Some may work for you, some may not, but don’t you owe it to yourself to wrap up year two of the pandemic feeling strong and somewhat in control?

Look back and take stock: Take a few minutes and list one or two lessons you learned this past year. Think hard about what knowledge you gained that will help you in 2022. Maybe it is something like, Give praise when it’s been earned. Or, Be less defensive. It might take some time, but you’ll see how much you’ve grown this past year.

Pat on the back: Some people may find it easier to list things they did well. Imagine issuing yourself a report card. What did you do in ’21 that would get you the A+? Maybe you called your mother every Sunday night or took your dog to the park every day? Perhaps you gave up fizzy drinks or incorporated mindfulness into each day. Each one is a small triumph. Remind yourself. 

Priorities for 2022: This list focuses on areas of your life you have overlooked this year but know should feature higher up your list of priorities. Don’t worry if they are vague. Just note down areas you feel should get more attention in the coming year. Maybe you want to prioritize your sleep? Has decent sleep taken a back seat to work deadlines, doom-scrolling, or binge-watching? You can end the year strong by making a note of how you’ll do better in 2022.  

Check-off simple to-do items: We all have a running to-do list of small tasks, but somehow they just float from one day or one week’s to-do list to the next. Have you been meaning to clear out your email inbox, or maybe you’ve been planning for months to buy yourself a decent pillow? Were you meant to call the charity to pick up your donated items that are still taking up two shelves in the hall closet? Pick one or two easily executed items on that list and get them done before the 31st

Do it now!: We’ve all done it. As the year draws to a close, we start saying, Oh, I’ll tackle that in January. Or, I want to walk 2 miles every morning; I’ll begin in January. Or, I am definitely signing up for XXX at the very start of January. But January doesn’t come freighted with magical power. If you really want to end-off 2021 on a high note, pick one of those things and start it—now! Even if you only get in six days of morning walks before the 2021 ends, I guarantee you will feel like a winner.

Organize / tidy / declutter one area: I came across this by accident. Although I love Christmas décor, I find it very “busy.” Yes, my entry hall, lounge, and dining room look wonderfully festive, but to me, it is also a lot of stuff. Last year, I felt the urge to have one space under control. With my shopping done and gifts all wrapped, I chose to tidy up my home office. I didn’t go crazy; I just tossed out old papers, leaky pens, etc. I restocked my stationery, cleaned my laptop, sorted out folders—I even sharpened all the pencils. It felt really good, and I loved that I would be starting the work year with a tidy office. Maybe you can tackle your medicine cabinet or your linen closet? Even tidying a spice rack or baking cabinet will leave you feeling strong. Set aside an hour and get it done before the clock strikes midnight.

I doubt there is a corner of our world that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic, and many of us long to get back the control we used to enjoy. The thought of a new year brings hope, but again, lots of uncertainty. In the last remaining days of this year, take a moment and consider how you can end 2021 strong. It is surprising how a few small actions can lift our spirits and set us up to enter the new year filled with strength for whatever lies ahead. 

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