Start 2021 The Right Way By Doing These 10 Things

Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

Most people are so devastated by how 2020 played out uniquely in their lives that they can’t wait to move on and start anew. Everyone is pumped about 2021, ready to let go of the horrific versions of themselves and the trials that made them that way. Unfortunately, some of them may be under the assumption that 2021 is the year that everything is going back to normal, but the likelihood of that happening is close to impossible.

The world is still a mess; we’re all adjusting to the “new normal” way of life while some deliberately refuse to be enslaved by the massive changes. Although some countries are slowly recovering, some are still having a hard time solving the problems in their own nations. This year doesn’t guarantee a complete opposite of 2020, but it does provide a fresh new start for ourselves. The new year allows us to make choices (hopefully the right ones this time), chase our dreams undauntingly, and love the rest of humanity in the best way we can.

Even if this year wouldn’t turn out as you expected, it’s vital to make the most out of it by starting it the right way. Even if this year isn’t going to be perfect, isn’t going to provide as many opportunities and freedom as before, the best we can do is to accept our circumstances and do what we can. 






One of the reasons people aren’t able to get out of the rut they’re in is because they keep resenting and holding onto that version of themselves that got them into that mess in the first place. They have such a high ego that they hate their gullible selves for falling for it. Possibly they think they’re like gods who make no mistakes and now that they have, they couldn’t forgive themselves.

While they’re in denial, they can’t move forward because they’re stuck in an illusion that they can go back in time and change the outcome of their actions. As a result, time is wasted and growth is prevented. There’s no use dwelling on the mistakes you’ve done before because they’re called mistakes for a reason.

What matters is you have dealt with failure and have used it to your advantage. This year, think about your future by minding your actions in the present. Whatever you do today is parallel to your future, no matter how small that effort may be. Forgive yourself for making those mistakes and move on. Don’t let your mistakes dictate your future. It’s not fair to you. 




When setting goals, it’s essential to follow the SMART criteria which describes the right goal as specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. When you set goals, make sure you’re not thinking way too above your head. It’s not discouraged to dream big but make sure not to force the outcome you want to happen even you know it isn’t applicable at the time.

If you get too attached with fulfilling that unrealistic goal, you’ll be disappointed with yourself for the wrong reason. It’s not you who lacked the effort but the goal which was too “impossible” for now. Think of a goal in a specific category that you want to attain. For example, if you’re a college student and you’re currently in fifth place on the honor roll, your goal may be getting first place on the list by next semester. If you’re a new blogger, setting a goal to have 100k monthly page views on your first month doesn’t follow the S.M.A.R.T criteria.

It’s not attainable and time-bound with your current status as a week-old blogger. Even if you studied ahead and learned SEO and the secrets to Pinterest growth, there are still more factors to consider that should be in the equation so you’ll never get the desired results. Be patient and trust on your goals. 




In 2021, stop looking for scraps that you can salvage. Stop worrying if people will like or respect you. If they can’t treat you the same way when you had a car, then they don’t deserve to be your friend. If their opinion doesn’t matter to you in a couple of years, then it’s not worth it. Sometimes, the valuable people who stood by you even through your worst are the ones you barely notice because you’re too busy impressing those who aren’t even sitting in their front row. The moment you start appreciating the people who are there for you, you’ll become invincible. It’s time to invest your time and energy to things that do matter, not only to feed your ego. 




Gone are the days when you wait for the opportunity to befall on your laps before you go for it. Don’t ever think you’re entitled to earn a career opportunity or an upgrade of anything because you don’t. Like everybody else, you have to work hard for it before you even think of collecting something that isn’t for you. Instead of waiting to be called, raise your head if you have a question. Participate in class or in office meetings. Join local organization drives and activities to be seen and heard.

Hiding within your shell while waiting to be dragged out into the wild is harmful to you in the long run.
Humans are not meant to hide and isolate themselves but to interact with one another. This year, it’s your time to widen your options. If you haven’t found your calling yet, then keep exploring until you find what your heart truly desires. 2021 is the year for hustling and growth; it’s time to persevere until you succeed. 




Don’t unreasonably pressure yourself into learning everything about everything; life doesn’t work that way. Being too hard on yourself is like being angry at a newborn baby who cries when he’s frightened. Even the most successful people you know went through the impossible but managed to finish it with wisdom overflowing from their minds.

Failure and loss are what transform you to become better, not a success. Winning only feels good when everybody congratulates and cheers for you, all the validation and praise will overwhelm you and you like it. But when it’s all over, all that’s left is the experience in your journey you learned when no one else is there.

You make mistakes and you learn. You take the test first then the lesson afterward. You can’t prepare for what’s to come, but you can prepare how you’ll respond to it. Make sure you’re centered on humility to accept errors every step of the way so you won’t always be affected by them. 




After much complaining about how 2020 has ruined your plans and goals, approach this year with the determination to fulfil and continue your promises. 2020 has thrown away so much so don’t allow 2021 to take more by not training yourself to be disciplined with every task on your to-do list.

2021 is the year to master productivity in everything you do (less time consumed while more tasks are finished with excellent results). This year, you’re working for the goals that were postponed and the goals you’re planning to do currently. Stop taking for granted all the free time you have, deciding it’s better to spend it binge-watching the trending series on Netflix just because that’s what’s everybody else is doing.

Giving excuses for your bad, unproductive habits will bring you nowhere but a stagnant pace. To get started, search for your passion by being open to many options first then being honest with yourself. As soon as possible, it’s important to know what you’re good at and what you’re not, so you can focus on honing the skill that you have until you become a master of it. 




There are going to be more setbacks as you grow. You’ve gone through so much in the last year; hope for a better coping mechanism this year. Practice humility and accept that like all human beings, you’re bound to face tons of failures because you’re born imperfect. But that doesn’t mean you can’t rise above them every single day; be fearless of change. 




Always putting your nose where it doesn’t belong not only distracts you from your improvement but makes you cynical of life. This year, you should be fully invested in your self and your family, no one else’s. Stop criticizing another person’s dress she wore on a party last night. Stop talking ill of a distant relative’s teenage pregnancy journey. Save all that energy pouring it into something valuable and beneficial to you.

If you’re a college student with a side hustle, then focus on those two and not school drama. Work so hard until you reach the point that you couldn’t care less about what the Kardashians’ are up to lately. Work so hard that you can’t even reply to a hate comment thrown at you. If you’re going to be busy, at least be busy on things that matter, things that will benefit you in the long run. 




By now, you should be able to differentiate a want from a need. When push comes to shove, it’s a matter of practicality between your possessions, which things to sacrifice and which things to keep. When it comes to a life and death situation, that pair of 24k gold earrings you wore only once can’t save your life even if you wear them to your deathbed. You should be meticulous about where your money goes every day. You should keep in mind that saving is the new spending. The more you save, the more you can invest and spend for something important. 




If you love someone, show them how you feel in many ways. Don’t limit your love to the bare minimum; you have all the ways to make your loved one feel special. Make memories with them before it’s too late (and actually enjoy them, not for the sake of documentation). In the past year, you’ve witnessed so many deaths. You’re always reminded of how short life is, and that you should always treat like every moment is your last.

You work hard, but don’t forget those who helped you succeed, those who tolerated you when you unintentionally scream at them because of pressure, those who understand when you miss their birthday party. Don’t forget these types of people because they are the real ones who love you in your core. You’ll never find someone like them. Give thanks to those who never left you even when they had every reason to do so.


“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”

T.S Eliot, Four Quartets

Published by Monique Renegado

Monique started Life Begins At Twenty as a 20-year-old college student from the Philippines. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, she shares first-hand experiences and soulful advice about student life, relationships, mental health, adulting, and self-growth. Monique is passionate about literature, music, public speaking, and family. Besides studying and blogging full-time, she strives hard to become a published author with her first YA fiction novel and poems. Monique is the older sister you wish you had to help you navigate your twenties successfully. If you want a constant drive for motivation and pep talks, be a part of her journey.

34 thoughts on “Start 2021 The Right Way By Doing These 10 Things

  1. These are some great points. I particularly like your opening about not assuming because we’ve changed our calendars everything wrong with 2021 will magically vanish. Some really good tips here, thanks for sharing!


  2. These are some great tips! I definitely agree that although 2020 was bad in some ways, it is important to let all that negativity go and focus on the now. I also love to create SMART goals as well, as they just help me achieve them so much better and it is more likely that they won't be failures xx


  3. Love this! And think it's so important to celebrate the little things as well as the big! And approaching setbacks with grace… wow! I'm so hard on myself when I don't succeed so this is super important!Katie |


  4. Love this post! I think that this year we learned to cherish even the smallest of things and will surely not take them for granted anymore! Learning as you go and embrace setbacks, I will have to work on these! Thanks for sharing x


  5. We always have to set SMART goals at work but I've never thought of doing them in my personal life – great tip! And yes to cherishing our loved ones, now more than ever x


  6. Hey Monique, I learn as I go along too! I used to think I can be prepared for everything that life hurls my way, but 2020 taught me to think on my toes. I have to set an action plan, then revise it as the situation changes. As a blogger, it is important to be receptive towards feedback, and to humble oneself to tweak strategies that do not produce results. Thanks for sharing these tips!Ming Qian | Undergrad Blogger


  7. This is such an inspiring and motivating post. You've included some really great tips. I definitely need to stop living in the past as well as stop time wasting.


  8. Excellent tips and very timely.. The beginning of the year!!! Smart goals are so good because it helps to motivate you, keep you organize and decrease anxiety and frustration. Thanks for sharing.Rebekah Charles


  9. This is SUCH a well-written post! I'm really glad that I took the time to read it today, because it was just what a needed. Talk about motivational. I so appreciate you sharing these suggestions. They could make all the difference in 2021 and beyond!


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