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12 ways to improve your mindset in 2021, according to a life coach
For many of us, celebrating the New Year this time around was more about kissing goodbye to 2020 rather than thinking about a fresh start for 2021.
And while we too think it's silly to promise yourself plenty of change, exciting adventures, less cheese and more running at the strike of midnight, if you are serious about your self-improvement, then you’ve come to the right place.
If the past year has taught us anything, our outlook on life and adjusting our mindset to focus on the good things can create moments of happiness even if the hardest of times.
So, to help you find more of those moments this year, we’ve taken the most common conundrums one may be feeling heading into a new chapter and asked a range of life coaches and psychologists for their advice.
These were their answers.
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What to do if you’re… feeling stuck
Option 1: Shock yourself
“When you are feeling helplessly stuck in life, you might need a radical shift of environment and relationships. Move to a new suburb, end or start a relationship, make new friends, go travel [where possible], or try new things”, says Giovanni Dienstmann, Meditation Teacher & Life Coach at Live And Dare. “This will help to ‘shock you’ out of the state of being stuck. The new environments and people will then help you see things under a different perspective, and will make you feel alive again.”
Option 2: Seek inspiration
“If you are feeling stuck and in need of a life change that's a good thing. It's good because you have some clarity over knowing what you don't want. From there, you can begin to figure out what you do want,” says Dr Brooklyn Storme, Psychologist & Coach. “Sometimes, thinking about what we enjoyed as children can shed light on the types of things that might light us up again, now.”
“Seek inspiration. Connect with others and listen to their stories. Expose yourself to new interests and see what feels exciting!”
What to do if you’re… unsure of your relationship
Option 1: Find clarity
“Ask yourself what you really want in a relationship – is your current relationship fulfilling that? Could it ever fulfill that?,” says Merryn Snare, M. Psych, MAAPI. “Communicate with your partner about what you both want or need and where you think things are heading. What are the pros and cons for staying in that relationship?”
“Are there things that can be changed or have you grown apart? If your partner is content, do you need to add a new and fulfilling dimension to your life?”
“Are you better off to be apart?”
Option 2: Look into your love languages
“It can be helpful to revisit the Five Love Languages (or if you haven't seen this already, you can head to the website and complete the quiz),” says Dr Brooklyn Storme, Psychologist & Coach. “The Love Languages helps each person in the relationship to identify what they want and need, as well as their preferences for giving and receiving love. This tool is often used in relationship counselling because it helps couples connect in fun and interesting ways.”
What to do if you’re… about to take a big career risk
Option 1: Learn and take the path of least regret
“Try to learn as much as possible about the move you wish to make. See if you can have a conversation with someone in that career path. If you have a stable job but wish to begin freelancing, see if you can have a coffee with a couple of freelancers and ask about the ups and downs, their work routine, what they wish they knew when they got started,” says Giovanni Dienstmann, Meditation Teacher & Life Coach at Live And Dare.
“This will allow you to learn a lot about that career path, avoid pitfalls, and have a greater sense of certainty about the journey ahead. It may also get you a few new friends.
“Take the path of least regret. Regret is much worse than failure. It eats our soul slowly, and makes us feel miserable. Make the decision that you are least likely to regret—the one that your future self, five or 10 years from now, will look back and thank you for.”
Option 2: Plan and give yourself a timeline
“Pace yourself through the highs and lows, including the 'risk regret' period. There is always one so expect it to a degree, but go back to your ‘why’ and find focus and reset your direction there,” says Nicky Wood, Australian based Naturopath and Clinical EFT Practitioner
“Plan for the top five 'what ifs' and sort solutions for those if they arise. Allow for at least six months of settling in time - maybe even longer. There are many facets of firsts when you go through your first year in business or in study and you have to get through them all to experience your rhythm ie paying bills on lower incomes, dealing with associated costs for study or business related expenses, sacrificing your creature comforts if that is required.”
What do if you’re… scared of losing friendships
Option 1: Stay connected and balanced
“Staying connected is essential to nurturing friendships and for that reason, it's always a good idea to make a point of calling your friend and checking in with them as well as arranging to meet and spend time together,” says Dr Brooklyn Storme, Psychologist & Coach. “Remember that friendship is a two-way street. You can't be the 'giver' all the time. Doing so will result in burnout and resentment as you may feel that the friend is not giving back. When they do want to give back, let them! Likewise, you can't be the 'receiver' all the time. Taking all the time without giving will result in an imbalance in the relationship. Be sure to give before taking.”
Option 2: Do something
“Do things for your friends 'just because'. Small tokens of thought are often well received and appreciated - especially when they are unexpected,” says Nicky Wood, Australian based Naturopath and Clinical EFT Practitioner. “Who handwrites notes and mails them anymore? It is such a delightful gift to receive this small token of love from a cherished friend.”
What to do if you’re… wanting to improve your health and wellbeing
Option 1: Prioritise your wellbeing
“Reveal a habit that has been leaving you feeling flat, irritable or low in energy and decide it needs to go in 2020”, says Nicky Wood, Australian based Naturopath and Clinical EFT Practitioner. “Set specific health and wellbeing goals aside from financial or other personal goals. Prioritise your happiness and make a solid commitment to yourself to do more happiness activities in 2020 that keeps you in touch with your sense of humour.”
Option 2: Seek professional help
“Book in for an annual mental health check-up with a psychologist. You won't need a referral from the GP unless you plan to access a rebate. But, an annual mental health check up will help your psychologist to track any changes in your emotional wellbeing and put a plan in place more quickly to support you in returning to your usual healthier self. I'd recommended biannual check-ins with your mental health professional,” says Dr Brooklyn Storme, Psychologist & Coach.
"Get the diary out and block out your holidays, your check-ins with health professionals and now go and block out time with friends. It's all about achieving balance next year”.
What to do if you’re… feeling motivated and want to set goals
Option 1: Break it down
“Know what you want to achieve in the year, break that goal into four steps and allocate one step to each quarter of the year. For each quarter, break that step into 12 goals - one a week,” says Dr Brooklyn Storme, Psychologist & Coach. “From there, break the weekly goal down into daily goals. This is compounding and works on the assumption that small action each daily, leads to big outcomes over time.”
Option 2: Write it down and bring your vision to life
“Write your goals down - research shows that a written goal is more likely to be reached than an unwritten one,” says Nicky Wood. “Stick to the S.M.A.R.T technique - it keeps things focused (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely).
“Consider using the vision board technique to bring your goals to life - especially if you are a visual or kinaesthetic learner. This is a great and highly effective tool to work with when breathing life into new or 'pie in the sky' goals.”
*This article has been updated since its original publication date.