Thanks to the pandemic lockdowns, 2020 has become a year of sweatpants, binge-watching and overeating.
Maybe you didn't use lockdown to become a master of home workouts, clean your house from top to bottom or learn a new skill like the influencers in your social media feeds. But don't beat yourself up over it. You were allowed to feel stress, worry, anxiety and fatigue, and self-care might have been food and Netflix for you.
If you're done with all the laziness, just forgive yourself and move forward with a plan to dust off the cobwebs and tackle 2021 with a new attitude. Here's how.
Whatever your goal is - whether it's personal wellness, professional development or career advancement - carve out a short amount of time each day to work on that goal. Start small by blocking off 30 minutes a day. We all have half an hour that we could use for constructive activities. Over time, as your 30-minute block becomes a habit, you will find that it's easier to devote an hour or even more towards your goal.
After one week of sticking to your scheduled plan, reward yourself with something you enjoy. Then, reward yourself each week after that until you've made a new habit. Small rewards can motivate you to keep going and will boost your confidence and positivity.
Eat Your Frogs Every Morning
Mark Twain once said, "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." This quote has become a metaphor for time management. Each night, make a to-do list for the next day. Then, do what you dread the most first rather than procrastinating and saving it to the end of the day. By knocking out something important on your to-do list before anything else, you get both momentum and a sense of accomplishment that can help push you through the rest of your day and achieve even more.
Step Away from Your Desk
Sitting and staring at a computer all day can be draining. Set break times and get up and walk around. If you're at home, take a quick spin around the block. If you are working on-site, take a lap around the building. Standing up and moving helps get your blood flowing and can help you return to your desk with more energy and focus.
Fuel Your Body and Mind
Eating junk will make you feel sluggish and less motivated. Try to start incorporating more protein into your daily meals. Protein can increase your energy and stabilize your blood sugar, so you don't "crash" throughout the day. Swap out your potato chips for almonds, ice cream for Greek yogurt, and eat well-balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It's also important to avoid refined sugar if you can, as it creates blood sugar spikes and dips. White bread and pasta have refined carbs that can spike sugars; high-fat foods and alcohol also impact your sugar levels and energy.
Drink More Water
The benefits of increasing your water intake are endless but staying hydrated also boosts energy levels and brain function. Trade in sugary drinks for water and carry it with you throughout the day. If you don't like plain water, try infusing it with fresh berries or vegetables, like cucumber.
Surround Yourself With Motivated People
Your friends may be lovely people, but if they are lazy, it can rub off on you. Try to interact more with your most motivated friends. If you don't have highly motivated friends, follow motivated people on social media and emulate their attitude and approach.
Create a Daily Schedule
Create a daily schedule and stick to it. A schedule helps you build routines, and routines help you stay motivated - leaving less time for you to flop on the couch and give up on your day.
Have a Bedtime and Stick To It
It's easy to stay up half the night binge-watching a show. And during the lockdown, it didn't matter whether you stayed up until 2 a.m. and slept until 10. But if you're trying to break the habit, set a non-negotiable bedtime, and stick to it. Regular sleep and waking hours help your body get into a rhythm that can positively impact your energy and motivation throughout the day.
2020 was a stressful year for all of us. When you don't manage stress, it can make you feel exhausted. Develop healthy strategies for coping with stress to boost your mood and give you the energy to tackle your goals.
If You Are Struggling, Talk to a Professional
In some cases, with a little bit of focus and work, you can shake off your laziness and get back to being the person you were before 2020. However, if you can't seem to get yourself out of a rut, if you are not taking care of your hygiene, if you are drinking far too much or consuming drugs, talk to a professional because you could be experiencing depression. There is no shame in seeking help if you can't unstick yourself, especially given the events of 2020.
Be Your Own Cheerleader
Changing bad habits can be challenging, but it's up to you to be your own cheerleader. Set your goals, set your schedule, make smart choices, and attack the new year with optimism. And if you want to spend the occasional Sunday afternoon in your sweatpants, don't be too hard on yourself. Everyone deserves one lazy day now and then.
Another great resolution for 2021?
Apply with a qualified staffing agency. Employers are looking for talented people like you for short-term assignments, long-term projects, and direct hire roles. Contact your local staffing agency to get a jump on a great job in 2021.