How to Refresh Your Life for 2021

While I always relish the start of a new year and see it as a wonderful opportunity to begin again, the last few weeks have made me re-evaluate how I traditionally approach things. I’m nearing the end of my second trimester and it’s been tougher, physically, to get things done. So, instead of jumping right in, I’ve decided to take the slower route and divide everything into smaller, bite-size pieces. In today’s post, I’m going to share four things you can do to refresh your life for 2021.

These are the kind of things that will leave you feeling inspired, reinvigorated and renewed for the new year. A free printable is available at the end of the post, so you can follow along and cross things off as you go. I will also be doing these four things myself and sharing my progress, so if you’re in need of some extra motivation to refresh your life for 2021, be sure to check back often for more tips, motivation, and more printables!

Step 1: Reflect on 2020

For most of us, 2020 was an odd year, and chances are a lot of things were left unfinished due to the different circumstances we found ourselves in. You may have unfinished work projects, important purchases forgotten about during the busy holiday season, e-mails you’ve yet to respond to, and so on. The first step to refreshing your life for 2021 is to complete all of last year’s unfinished tasks and projects.

You don’t want to go into the new year dragging these nagging tasks and projects along, so if you can cross them all off in the early days of January, the more’s the better. Having a checklist of those things you still want to do is very helpful in this regard.

If you don’t know off the top of your head what your unfinished tasks and projects are, do a mind sweep. A mind sweep is a technique mentioned by David Allen in his productivity book, Getting Things Done. The idea behind it is to collect anything and everything that you’ve got stored in your mind so that it’s no longer something that’s nagging at you. You may find that other tasks and ideas pop up as you let your mind think about the things that you still consider to be unfinished; that’s totally normal. Don’t be afraid to capture everything that has your attention.

Just be sure, when you’ve finished your mind sweep, to distinguish between your 2020 end-of-year-tasks and your other ideas. The easiest way to do this is to put them on a separate list titled “Projects for 2021”, which you can file away and review later, in step 4.

After collecting everything that’s still on your to-finish-before-the-end-of-the-year-list, reserve a full day on your calendar to get all of those projects done. If you have bigger projects to tackle, you may need to reserve several days to finishing everything. If you have children and are taking care of them and/or homeschooling them during the day, you may need to spread out this process over several evenings, instead.

Either way, finishing all your open tasks and projects is a great way to refresh for the new year!

Step 2: Clean Your Physical Space

There’s nothing quite like a clean and tidy space to boost your mood for the new year. The second step to refreshing your life for 2021 is to clean your physical space.

Set aside a full day, or several evenings if you don’t have a solid block of time available, to clean your entire home. Unless you’ve got the time to fully finish one, I wouldn’t dive in very deep and start a spring-like deep cleaning and session. If that’s something you want to get around to in the new year, it’s always something that can be added to your list for 2021. Instead, focus on ensuring the main living areas are spotless.

Put everything away that doesn’t belong where it is, wipe down all your surfaces, hoover and/or mop the floors, fold and put away all your clean laundry, throw away anything that’s past its due date, donate things you’re no longer using, and shred documents you don’t need.

At the end of the day, starting your year fresh in a clean and tidy place is the best feeling in the world.

Step 3: Clean Your Digital Space

We spend a lot of time on our digital devices — maybe even more so than we ever did before given the state of the world in 2020 — but like our physical space, our digital spaces can be a magnet for unwanted clutter. The third step for refreshing your life in 2021 is to clean your digital space.

Set aside a few hours to a day to clean out your digital devices. Unsubscribe from unwanted e-mails and subscription services, remove files you no longer need from your desktop and Downloads folder, back up any files you’re sure to need in the upcoming year, unfollow people on social media that don’t inspire you, and delete any apps you no longer use. Now would also be a good time to clean your screen and, if you have one, dust and clean your keyboard.

Our digital devices are a constant presence in our lives, and they deserve a good clean, too!

Step 4: Plan for 2021

After crossing all unfinished tasks and projects off your list and cleaning both your physical and digital space, it’s time to look towards the future. The fourth and final step to refreshing your life in 2021 is to plan for 2021.

If you happened to make a list of projects to tackle in the new year during step 1, you might already have some idea of what you want to achieve, but if you haven’t yet, now’s the time! Sit down with a blank piece of paper or, if you’re more digitally minded, a blank digital document, and list all of the things you’re planning to achieve in 2021.

Your dreams for 2021 can be anything you want; it doesn’t matter if they’re big or small. You may want to meet a particular savings goal, discover a new favourite vegetarian dish, redecorate a room in your house on a budget, set-up a bullet journal for the first time, or finally finish reading that book that’s been on your nightstand since Easter.

Whatever you decide, it’s never more important to dream than when a situation seems bleak, and I always find enormous value in setting goals!

Free Printable

To help you refresh your life for 2021, I’ve designed a printable! You can download it, for free, below. If you’ve found it useful and upload a photo featuring it, I’d love to see! Please tag me on Instagram with @sarahboparah or use the hashtag #sarahboparah on any other social media platform.

Sarahboparah - Refresh for 2021 Printable

Download A4 size // Download US Letter size

This printable is for personal use only, and may not be redistributed as your own.

Will you be following the steps to refresh your life for 2021? If so, which step do you think you’ll be getting the most value out of? Is there any goal you’re really hoping to achieve in 2021? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


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How to Refresh Your Life for 2021